Sunday, September 14, 2008

Out of Office Reply

Hola - sorry for the absence of fresh posts, but I've been out of the country and completely unplugged! This past weekend however I had the pleasure of witnessing some of the city's finest in Hispanic festivals so I'll make sure to detail those in the next day or two. There were also a couple of interesting changes in the Spanish-language media scene that I'll try to get to. (Thanks, Heidi, for keeping us all current in the Puget Sound Business Journal!)

It was terrific being so disconnected and oddly there were only a few isolated incidents of wanting to dig up info I'd find on my iPhone (RIP at the bottom of Lake Washington, mi Blackberry), or a call I'd want to quickly make (versus figuring out the token or calling card systems in Europe). I'm including a picture here - at the train station in Seis, Italy. I was in Venice, Verona and throughout the Dolomites in between on a hike with a Seattle University class called Leading with Emotional Intelligence. Good stuff.

One thing was made very clear during my trip: I am *not* an Italian speaker. Try as I might, I always ended up speaking Spanish whether or not the Italians spoke it. Just a habit, I guess, but in the end it saved my you-know-what to be able to speak a language other than English! For example when I lost my train ticket and asked about it at the nearby cashier in my broken Italian, the employee shrugged and clearly didn't get me. A customer, however, swung around and asked if I spoke Spanish, then led me to his wife's purse, where the ticket had found a new home after he'd discovered the ticket on the stairs!

Not only did I make it on my train to Verona, but I enjoyed the ride with this lovely family.

Another fantastic opportunity came when I enjoyed a plane ride with a couple who'd lived in Venice for 24 years--and was invited to have lunch with them at their home! It was the best part about that piece of the trip, because not only did I have their trust, but they showed me all kinds of great things about their life there, and the old part of Venice, that I could only get from a couple of awesome locals. Bravo, Mauro and Yolande!

OK - stay tuned for a return to local stories - coming mañana!

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