Saturday, October 27, 2007

La Lingua Italiana - The Italian Language

Today the weather is warm again – unlike the last week, which felt like winter. Some music by gypsies (as my friend Mori described them) floats up from in front of the Basilica di Santa Croce. People are out and about and I have returned home after visiting a gallery and last minute shopping for tonight’s Halloween party. My windows are wide open.

Most Italians dry their laundry on clotheslines and in Firenze, these lines are usually contained in courtyards not visible from the streets. If you are high up (like I am – 3rd piano, which in Italy means the fourth floor, ground being zero) and if your laundry falls off of the line, you may have just given it to your lowest neighbor.

In the early pomeriggio (afternoon) today, I was hanging my laundry. The home below where I live now is under renovation, like much of Firenze it seems. Today, I heard two women singing a song in Italian as they worked. This was pleasant and a surprise for me because I have only seen men working here before. At one point, a pretty brunette poked her head out of her window and looked up at me and said hello.

I responded, “Mi piace molto quando lei e una ‘chanteuse’, pero non lo so la parola per ‘chanteuse’ in italiano.” I am saying (badly) that “I like very much when you are singing, but I do not know the italian word for singing.” Chanteuse being French.

“Canto,” she replied as she thanked me and returned to her work, telling her friend of our exchange. I felt happy. Still do.