September 23, 2010

The Big Surprise, Part 2.5

Posted in Trek through Italy at 6:41 PM by goingbeyondzebra

After several hours of newly-engaged bliss, Mark and I managed to separate ourselves for the eternity of an hour and a half so that we could prepare for a fancy dinner out, just the two of us. I primped, I curled, I tried on and discarded several choice items of clothing, and a short time later, I was ready. The dear boy called me to let me know he was on his way to pick me up (how exciting!), and I waited patiently for him to arrive, occasionally running frantically back to the mirror to make sure I had indeed put on blush and yes, that unruly piece of hair was staying in place.

Once he arrived, we skipped down the stairs and out the door, followed by our faithful photographer Rebecca, who snapped a few photos of us together and all dolled up. Then we were on our way! We had chosen our restaurant with the help of the Harrells, and it wasn’t too long of a walk so we soon arrived.

We walked in, asked for a seat, and that was when we made our first mistake.

We were given the choice of “inside” or “outside,” and since there were several people outside, and we relished being alone and out of the sun, we decided to sit inside. At first, this seemed wise, and we took our seats still enveloped by our happy little cloud. And then we realized it was hot. Not too hot, but just hot enough. But that was okay, we could take it, we’d made our decision and we were going to stick to it!

Soon after a waiter arrived to take our drink orders and hand us our menus. We both smiled, ordered “acqua naturale,” and opened our menus to decide on our first meal as an engaged couple. That was when terror suddenly struck me. I was in a restaurant that I’d never been in before, I didn’t know their menus, and this was the first time that I had gone to a restaurant without someone who at least spoke decent Italian to help me order. Letters swam before my eyes in unrecognizable patterns, even words that I should have known and had even used in conversation before suddenly became unfamiliar. It was as if it were my first day in Italy, and I had no idea how I was going to figure out what to eat, let alone help my dear fiancé know what to order. The waiter came and went as we continued to battle with the terrifying menu, panic filled me as I frantically flipped the pages back and forth, hoping to discover some secret cipher to the code. Finally, Mark and I were able to put together enough words and figure out, sort of, what one or two of the dishes were, so we were ready to order. I had decided upon some sort of salmon pasta, and he had honed in on a type of chicken dish and a cheesy crepe.

And then my dear fiancé was given his first introduction to Italian service.

It’s not that Italians are lazy, they really aren’t. If anything they are the exact opposite of lazy, though they are a bit more relaxed than we tend to be in the United States, which is a good thing. But in Italy, it is almost impossible to fire someone; therefore a certain apathy about some jobs naturally tends to arise. This often can be found in the more mundane jobs, such as waiting on tables (though there are some really good waitresses in Italy too, don’t get me wrong, I did run across several wonderful wait staff who were very helpful). Here the waiters were slow, somewhat rude, and rather unconcerned with my fiancé and me. It took quite a while to get our food, longer to order more water, and an eternity to get and pay for our check. Since I was rather used to such things, it did not concern me as much, however, as noted above, this was Mark’s first real introduction to this part of Italian culture, and he became understandably frustrated. Thankfully, we had the little televisions above our head playing some type of disco/folk/elevator music while showing random videos of scuba divers in backwards and forwards motion, turtles, and fish flying across the sky. If it weren’t for the entertaining, possibly German, television station, we may have lost our minds. And yes, I can see the irony.

The food was decent however, and despite the lethargy of the wait staff, the heat, the bug traps full of bugs, and the fraying seats, we had a fairly pleasant time. Our cloud was still too thick to be dented so easily, and we floated home nearly as happy as we came, stopping for some gelato first, of course. And our first day as an engaged couple came to a close.

Thus ends part 2.5! Part 3 will soon be zooming in and hopefully avoiding the traffic which caused part 2.5 to arrive so slowly.

Robyn

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2 Comments »

  1. mark said,

    huzzah! Is that cloud still around?


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