In case you didn’t know, I’m taking an Italian class to prepare for my (late) honeymoon to Italy this summer. After only four classes, I’m very proud to be able to tell you my name, ask you where you’re from, count to 100 and name everything one would find in a classroom. The only problem is – I will not be visiting un’aula in Italy, nor do I plan to make someone listen to me count from zero to cento!
I know that all of these skills build a foundation to learn more complex aspects of the language, but I want to start practicing travel-y things like, “I would like some wine,” “How much does this cost?” and “Table for two.” So I’ve done a little independent study.
I know that to order my beloved latte, I would ask for un caffè latte. I could sit and drink this at un ristorante. This is a good start. So far I won’t go thirsty during my trip. However, I will need to eat, find the restroom, buy tickets to things, ask for a menu, order the raspberry gelato…you get the idea. So I started compiling a list of key phrases I want to memorize sooner rather than later.
My question to all of you is – in your own international travels, what phrases do you find most helpful to know? For example, when I was dining in Paris, I learned that you will only get your check when you ask for it. So I quickly learned how to say, L’addition, s’il vous plaît!
I would love to know what YOU would put on your own “must-know travel-speak” list. Grazie mille!
As a kid, Dr. Seuss’s “Marvin K. Mooney Will You Please Go Now!” was my favorite book. After the narrator suggests a number of ways in which Marvin can, “go, go, GO!” I would yell the infamous line, “Marvin K. Mooney, will you please go now!” with all of the dramatic frustration that a four year-old can muster.
A lesser known tidbit about this book is that in 1974 Art Buchwald of The Washington Post published a version of the book substituting “Marvin K. Mooney” with former U.S. President “Richard M. Nixon.” Ten days later, Nixon resigned. You can read more about this here and here (read the original Washington Post article here).
To keep the New Year’s theme going, I would like to look at the flipside of the New Year’s list of goals some of us posted earlier this month. As we eagerly and optimistically welcome into 2011 a slew of new goals, good habits and earnest promises to ourselves, what negative things are we asking to leave? To what “Marvin K. Mooney’s” do we need to demand a farewell in order to become our fabulous 2011 selves?
“*Poor body image* will you please go now!
The time has come.
The time has come.
The time is now.
I don’t care how.
You can go by foot.
You can go by cow.
*Procrastination* will you please go now!
You can go on skates.
You can go on skis.
You can go in a hat.
I don’t care.
You can go
You can go
On a Zike-Bike
If you like.
If you like
You can go
In an old blue shoe.
Just go, go, GO!
Please do, do, do, DO!
*Losing my temper* I don’t care how.
*Sleeping past my alarm*
Will you please
You can go on stilts.
You can go by fish.
You can go in a Crunk-Car
If you wish.
If you wish
You may go
By lion’s tale.
Or stamp yourself
And go by mail.
*Driving too fast* Don’t you know
The time has come
To go, go, GO!
Get on your way!
Please *not thinking before I say* You might like going in a Zumble-Zay.
You can go by balloon . . .
You can go by camel
In a bureau drawer.
You can go by bumble-boat
. . . or jet.
I don’t care how you go.
I don’t care how.
*Nagging my husband* Will you please
I meant . . .
The time had come
So . . .
*making excuses for not kicking bad habits* WENT.”
So maybe it doesn’t rhyme and it definitely doesn’t flow as well as Dr. Suess’s version, but it’s a fun way for me to say goodbye to my old ways. And it’s still really REALLY fun to yell, “Will you please go now!” What are your Marvin K. Mooney’s?
This sums up my 2011 goals. I summed it up in Italian, in case you noticed, because that’s where I’m headed this summer. After studying French for eight years during high school and college (and by the way, my last French class was 10 years ago) and visiting Paris for the first time last year, I have shifted my sights southeast of La Tour Eiffel and am planning a belated honeymoon to Roma.
But that fast forwards us to July and it’s only Jan. 3. I didn’t make a new year’s resolution, but I far too easily can imagine a smiling, happy and healthy me on Dec. 31, 2011 toasting a year gone by that was full of productive, enriching, stimulating and selfless acts. Though I couldn’t begin to tell you what these acts might be. I just know that I want to make that darn toast.
Which leads me to my personal LA Girls quote. “A goal without a plan is just a wish” (that’s by author Antoine St. Exupery). So here’s my plan, as it falls under imparare, giocare and dare.
Imparare (to learn) 1. Learn basic Italian – I am basic enough in French that I could vacation there without uttering a word of English to any Parisian. I don’t dare hope to get to that level in Italian, but I loved the experience I had in Paris and speaking the language was a huge part of that experience. If I can learn enough to order food, go shopping and know whether something is on the left or the right side of the street (or of me for that matter), I’ll be able to check this goal off of my list.
2. Learn what the next phase of my career will be – This is another aspect of my life to which I want to get to the bottom. I know, I know, there are so many cheesy quotes that tell me that getting there is half the fun and that it’s the journey, not the destination, etc. I’ve been pigeon-holed into one career path since high school. I’ve gone quite successfully down that path, but I am certain that I ‘m ready for a change. Or a shift at the very least. I draw a blank when I try to think of something else I could do. Which tells me that this is exactly why I need to do it.
Giocare (to play) 1. Go to Italy – This one is easy. I want to play in Rome, Florence and Venice. Do I need to explain why?
2. Spend more time filling my fun meter – I think it’s safe to say that women in their 30’s tend to let a sense of duty pinch off the opening to their fun meters. I know I have. I have a salary to make, a house to clean, a figure to keep slim, a car to maintain, a dog to care for, a husband to put before myself…the list goes on. While these are all things for which I am thankful to have, I am going to be kinder to me by letting myself sleep until noon, get lost in a book on a rainy Sunday, eat the hot wings I am craving and get a little drunk at happy hour (with a responsible person to pick me up, of course).
Dare (to give) 1. Give more and better time – Instead of spreading myself thin with the responsibilities I mentioned earlier, I’m going to give more time to the people in my life who make it a priority to do the same for me. Not only will I give more time, I’ll make it better time. Rather than grabbing a rushed cup of coffee together, let’s try making a new recipe we both thought sounded good or tagging along on each other’s Saturday errands to make it more fun. Another cheesy quote – quality, not quantity.
2. Give more encouragement – In a world in which people are quick to offer criticism, nothing goes further than a word of encouragement. Unfortunately, bosses and even other family members too often are full of the former and far too stingy with the latter. Offering a compliment or even a text message to say, “Good luck today on your (fill in the blank),” can change the mood of someone’s day – even yours.