(Written January 29th)
Before I begin this story, I would like to say that this, or anything like this, would NEVER happen to me in America.
Last night, Saturday, my housemates and I went out to a bar for the first time here. We walked down to the hoppin’ nightlife zone near the Duomo around 11:30pm to meet up at a local bar with some Marist friends. Cars may be a luxury we don’t have now, but the ability to walk anywhere in ~15 minutes or less and see amazing sights on the way is an even greater luxury, in my opinion. Walks at night feel safe if you stay on the well-lit roads crowded by groups of young friends—mostly locals, but also students from all over the world. In fact, I love this atmosphere…it’s so alive.
When my housemates and I arrived at the bar, it was PACKED, but soon cleared out to a very comfortable size. We brought our drinks back to a table and kicked off our first girls’ night out in Florence. At first there were mostly foreign students—especially Americans–but the place was mostly full of locals after that wave of students left for una discotecha (a dance club). My group of friends and I ended up befriending one of these locals, Luca—the cute Italian guy who squeezed into the seat behind me to sit at a table with his friends. Luca and I had briefly greeted when I initially scooted in my chair for him, but he ended up rotating to our table before we knew it. Chelsea asked him a question about the Euro to dollar conversation rate regarding the framed display on the wall that we had been puzzling over for a while (we’re the cool girls), which he kindly explained to us. That conversation was quickly diverted, and before we knew it Luca was showering me with compliments and asking me out for shopping or whatever I want to do tomorrow.
At the table, we couldn’t communicate too well because he spoke very little English and I barely speak or understand any Italian [yet]. (However, the many “bellas” and the eventual “Lisabetta, I love you!” were quite clear). As flattering and unexpected of an experience as this was, my favorite aspect was having the opportunity to truly try conversing with someone who speaks a different language. Thankfully Chelsea helped with the translating, but Luca and I managed to converse a little on our own, too. For example, he was expressing to me how when Italians go to New York and cannot speak English, then the New Yorkers are often impatient with them; whereas in Italy, Italians have much more tolerance for Americans attempting to hurdle the language barrier. (Well, at least that’s what I think he was saying). Luca was very passionate and sweet, even just casually talking with us, and didn’t give off any bad vibes that you’d maybe suspect. My friends all approved of him sitting with us and answer our questions about Florence and his life, while charming me in between. Gotta’ give him credit for putting up with our sloppy mix of English, Spanish and Italian.
So today my new Italian lover and I went shopping and picked out my wedding dress in a bridal shop we passed.
JUST KIDDING, MOM. I actually had been quite clear with him throughout the night that I wasn’t interested in seeing him the next day or in giving him my number, which my friends also helped emphasize. Again, didn’t feel threatened or sketched out by him at all, but still not advisable…especially on only the fourth night in Florence. He tried. “Oooh Lisabetta, porque?!” “Mi dispiace” (“I’m sorry”) was all I could say. We both laughed…you could tell he was kind of just pushing my buttons to be cute after a while, even when he knew his White Knight efforts were ABSOLUTELY HOPELESS. He almost bought me a rose from one of those damn flower guys, too. Now I get why that’s actually a business…
At one point during the night, the bartender put on a fun song that all the locals were singing along with and kind of dancing to. Chelsea asked the owner for the name of the song, which is “Ai se eu te pego” by Michel tolo. My housemates looked it up on YouTube today, with the English translation of lyrics, and declared it Luca’s and my song.
You’re gonna kill me that way”