#TravelTuesday: This Story is Kindof Cheesy

#TravelTuesday: This Story is Kindof Cheesy

Not sure about you guys, but Tuesdays are the toughest day of the week for me. Yeah, more than Mondays. Tuesdays are when I know that the workweek has for real begun. And there’s still almost four full days between you and Friday night.

So, in an attempt to slow the Tuesday blues I’ve decided to start #TravelTuesday on my blog. It’ll be a post every couple of Tuesdays on an experience of mine  that I think readers would like, depicting eye-opening moments and lessons learned during my travels.

Hope you enjoy this first #TT memory, from Rome!

Paola
L to R: Our friend Ariana, Me, Paola (our host mom for 4 months) and Rach at our last dinner of the program

It was one night in Rome in 2010, during my junior fall semester abroad. My friend Rachel (still my current travel pal) and I had been in our room finishing up some work and were sitting down for dinner with our host mom in a couple minutes.

We LOVED Paola. She was an amazingly kind and caring woman who had been hosting students in this abroad program for a long time – but we were her first girls! We were constantly trying to make a good impression. She didn’t speak too much English, so Rach and I would always try and utilize the Italian we were being taught in our language course. It was still early on in our classe, so our Italian at that point mainly consisted of making gestures while wildly flipping through an Italian-English translation book mid-conversation. Lucky for us, Paola was an extremely patient person.

When Paola joined us at the table that night, Rach and I attempted what we hoped was a short speech of thanks and how grateful we were to be in Rome with her. Paola smiled slowly, said a quiet “grazie” with a blush.

So excited that she had understood our gratitude, Rach and I raised our glasses and screamed “CHEERS!” Paola immediately jumped up, her face completely pale. Wide-eyed, she yelled, “CHEESE?!”

Paola sprinted out of the room while Rach and I looking at each other in sheer panic – did we offend her!? And, “cheese”? Why????

Within seconds Paola emerged with a massive plate filled with hastily organized cheeses, big and small. Turns out she thought that we were using that speech to simply demand a cheese appetizer.

Rach and I couldn’t even get a word out of protest because we were giggling so hard during the whole thing. Paola understood as soon as she came out with the display and joined in; soon all three of us were practically on the floor laughing, with the weird cheese sitting in the middle of the table.

When you’re in a foreign place, reality is that there will be language barriers. But thankfully, (you totally know what I’m about to say here) laughter is the same in every language. Also that cheese was delicious so we ended being ecstatic that that’s what Paola thought we’d said. A true win win.

Have you ever experienced a particularly memorable language barrier? Was it just a funny misunderstanding, or more serious? Comment below – I love reading your experiences and thoughts!

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