In preparation for our trip, Bob and I each decided to make efforts to learn to speak German and Italian. He embraced this by using Duo Lingo to learn German. Italian was left up to me.
Instant immersion CDs were my weapon of choice. I used the Spanish version before we went to Spain in 2013. With Spanish I was building on the shaky foundation of my high school Spanish course and found myself communicating with the locals. It was a rudimentary communication, but it was helpful.
Meanwhile, Bob has been embracing his inner German (even though he is of Swedish decent). So dedicated was he to this endeavor that he would not go to bed at night unless he had completed at least one lesson. He progressed very well and before long he reported that he was even dreaming in German.
Things were not going quite as well for me. My plan was to use my car time to learn Italian. This proved to be a two-fold problem. First off, I am usually in my car sporadically. Therefore, I never could quite remember where I left off. And, without having ever studied Italian, I found myself lost (unless you count my lapses into Spanish).
Secondly, the first CD got stuck in my car player. I wasnt sure how far I would get in Italy from that CD as it only covered the alphabet and different countries of the world. At least that is what I think it covered. I really don’t remember.
To sum up, Bob is practically fluent in German. I might get by if I meet an Italian who speaks Spanish. And only if they speak slowly.
But since I have been in Rome, I have found no real problem with my lack of language skills. In Rome a smile goes a long way. The people are kind and patient.
Bob and I are traveling with my sister and her husband. They live in Washington state and we met up with each other in Rome. The four of us have met people from all over the world. On our coliseum tour we witnessed a family run into a group of their friends. It really does seem like a small world sometimes.
We were discussing this while riding the metro to our Vatican tour when a nun spoke up and said, “And who would have thought you’d run into a nun from Chicago.”
We chatted all the way to the Vatican. In fact, she guided us to the exact place where we were to meet our tour. We had an instant, though momentary friendship.
Our tour guide of the Vatican pointed out to us that the courtyard in front of St. Peter’s Basilica is shaped in the form of a hug. It begins at St. Peter’s with an arm extended from each side. It doesn’t get much friendlier than that.