Keeping up with The Jones

Thursday, July 22, 2010

I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink

We're back in Rome for our last week in Italy. We've been helping run a children's program each day here. As you would expect from these sorts of things, the children are very energetic and a lot of fun. The other day one of the boys came up to me as I was standing by the snack/craft table.

"Ho sete."

At least, I'm pretty sure that's what he said. I'm still not entirely certain. My Italian has progressed from non-existent to laughably American. All I knew in that moment was that I didn't know what he was saying. Plan A: ask him to repeat.

"Ho sete."

Nope, still nothing. It's not bathroom, I know that one. Now that he'd repeated, I realized that the sounds coming out of his mouth had no meaning to me. I momentarily considered plan B: smile and nod. I looked down at this little boy looking back up at me, thoroughly expecting that as the adult I would act on his words. Plan B was not going to work. It's time to swallow the pride, accept my limitations, and go with plan C: just admit I don't understand.

No capito.

Upon hearing this, the boy took me by the hand, pulled me down a little, and leaned in.


So I guess it's true. Slower and louder really doesn't make foreign languages understandable.


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