This weekend Brenda & I booked our hotel rooms for our Italy trip! Things are falling into place, and we're starting to think about the specifics of what we'll see each day in Italy instead of the logistics of getting there.
Half-jokingly, we sent all our email hotel/b&b inquires using my email address, and I signed all my correspondence "Roberto" Guglielmetti. I'd hoped that fronting as a real paisan would win us some sway, but it sorta backfired: tonight, I got an email that began:
bq. Salve, Mr. Guglielmetti,
Dal suo cognome, presumiamo che sia italiano, per cui Le scriviamo in italiano...
At first blush, I thought it a mistake, an automated email from one of the many hotels we sent room inquires to, sent in Italian by mistake. But after reading the sender's domain name again, I realized that this was from the hotel we had planned to stay at in Siena. Oddly enough, all our correspondence to date had been in totally respectable broken english.
After reading the opening sentence a few times, it became clear that the hoteliers saw my overtly Italian name and just figured that I could parle with the best of them. I cannot. But it served as my very first brush with Italian comprehension, outside of all the profanity getting hurled around at the family poker games during the holiday gatherings.
I eventually bridged the language barrier with our hosts in Siena, and we are now booked into a room of some kind in all of our stops in Italy next month. All we need now is train tickets for all the inter-city travel, and a plan of attack for each city's sights. It's a good problem to have.