I’ve just got back from a shopping adventure, where I got to use my mad italian skillz!!1!
Part 1 – Postage Stamps
Me: (waving postcards) francobolli per Australia, per favore…
Tabbachi lady: Australia? (correct pronunciation)
(exchange of shamps and money)
I made that first part up myself! At least, I substituted in ‘Australia’ where my phrase book had the US and UK as examples. And I’m starting to get the hand of saying “si”. It seems that my default foreign-language yes is “ya”, and I’ve had trouble getting out of the habit. It’s gonna be fun when I get into the German-speaking part of Switzerland and keep saying “si”!
Part 2 – Wool
This one is not so much a demonstration of mad skillz.. But I was trying… I didn’t bring nearly enough wool to keep me occupied for a month. I’m halfway through my stash (luckily also about halfway through the corresponding capelet creation). But that won’t last out the train/ferry trip to Stromboli. So, reasoning that I’m more likely to find a wool shop in Rome than in eensy-weensy Stromboli, I thought I’d go looking.
Problem 0: asking for a wool shop
I consulted my phrasebook, which has a dictionary in the back, and it gave me wool = lana. Which is fine, but does that mean fabric made of wool or balls of wool? The guy at the front desk clarified that it does mean ‘wool as in balls of wool’, so hooray! I had my word. Alas, he didn’t know where a wool shop was. He looked like I was asking him a very strange question, in fact.
Problem 1: finding a wool shop
I’d spotted a shop which sold sewing machines and thread on the route between the hostel and the Colosseum. I hadn’t seen any wool, but figured that that was a good place to start. Also, I needed some grey thread to fix my aeroplane pants, which had torn where they got taken in at the waist. Unfortunately, I got the little Italian grandma with no English… I pulled out my wool, which I’d brought to demonstrate what I was after (see props in Part 1 above, too). She said something which, from the head shaking, I was pretty sure meant “we dont have any”. So I pulled out my Italian, and oh so eloquently asked “dove?” (with gestures). She gave me a street name, but I couldn’t make it out. I asked her to write it down for me, but it looked like Probelem 2 was going to be ‘Decipher Granny’s Handwriting’. So I bought my thread and ran away…
I headed back towards the hostel, and, peering down a side street, spotted a sign that I’d not noticed before. It had the word “lana” on it, which I now knew meant wool! Winner! So I wandered down the road and checked it out. Unfortunately they seem to sell mostly thin thread-y wool, more suited to Steve’s hacky-sack crochet than my wooly-scarf-thing crochet. But I might check it out more thoroughly tomorrow, coz I’m gonna get desperate soon. And we are going to be spending about 4 or 5 days on trains in Switzerland in a few weeks, and I’ll need something to do that lets me still look at the mountains. I’ll also see what google maps has to say about via Something Emanuelo, or something. This will be a test of my googling skills I’m sure…