Firstly, as a pale blonde girl and chinese guy, we're a distinctive couple most places but especially here in Puglia, so it's no surpise that we're remembered when we return to our favourite restaurants. Most recently though, when the menu had been slightly changed, the waitress knew what I was looking for before I'd even said the item and showed me where it was now listed, so she knew our regular order, which makes me smile - we have a "usual"! In another restaurant we frequent quite often, the young (female!) owner recently called me cara (dear) which is a term of affection some of my Italian friends I've known for years haven't used yet!
Secondly, when driving through a toll booth somewhere in Italy last week, I asked the man for il scontrino, per piacere (the receipt please), and with a smile his Italian response roughly translated to "A polite English woman: it can't be true!". I find it hard to imagine that we as a nation have a reputation for being rude, or that every previous Brit he has encountered has shouted at him or refused to pay his toll, so could it be my use of per piacere (which is the normal phrase for please in our part of Puglia as opposed to the more usual per favore,) that made the old man smile? Not sure if it counts as settling in, but I was happy my Italian got such a positive response!
Thirdly, today, I managed to explain and ask for primer in a DIY shop, having not been able to find the word for it in my handy translator, and then, when I wasn't too clear what the instructions on the back said, made my attempt at a joke Devo imperare fai da te e italiano! (I have to learn DIY and Italian!), and the old boy behind the till actually laughed and understood, saying that both were important, so that was a first too! (Hey, I never claimed to be a comedian!)
I'm learning other things that are new here too. Like the electricity! Strange I know, but there is a limit on the supply you have here, and it is far lower than we are used to in UK. I was aware of this from expat forums (endless stories of Brits throwing their kettles away after a week here as they always tripped the fuses, or learning not to put the oven on until the washing machine had finished its cycle!), and knowing how frustrated Mr RR and I would be if we couldn't continue our lives more or less as normal, I paid extra to have our supply double the norm and we haven't had any trouble with it. Until last night! I'm downstairs, in the living room, pot of bolognese sauce simmering upstairs in the kitchen with the extractor fan on, when BANG! the lights go out. There are fuse boards on each of 3 of the 4 floors for this very reason, but I'm still getting familiar with what is where, so off I go up and down our steep stairs in the dark checking for tripped fuses! It's then that I am so grateful for these little guys:
|Just innocently waiting: ever-ready....|
|... to be a hero when emergency strikes!|
But seriously, the hob is gas and I had 2 lights on in the whole house so our extractor fan on max power was enough to trip the fuses at double the normal supply? I can't wait to try and cook in summer when we have the air conditioners on sucking all the power! Mamma mia!
P.S. Morning after posting this and the best workman I've found out here for reliability, value and super high quality of work has turned up to finish off the kitchens in the apartments and greeted me with 2 kisses, something I don't get from anyone else but my friends. Not sure what it means but I really want him to come back and help me with so many bits and pieces, so it's good news! Here's to settling in!