Monday, February 1, 2010
Un biglietto per l'autbus per favore
Monday morning. First day of school or in some cases, first day of internships. I found out from our internship coordinator that I have to take a bus to work. A bus? By myself? In a foreign country? Thanks to my mother passing down her neurotic traveling genes to me, I couldn’t concentrate during my morning class knowing that I had to catch this bus. The professor let me leave 10 minutes early to make sure that I wasn’t late for my first day. So much for letting me leave early though, because I arrived approximately 40 minutes later than I was supposed to.
I had the lovable old lady who works the front desk at my school write down exactly what I needed to ask for at the “tabacchi” to have the correct bus tickets. “Posso avere due bigletti per l’autobus?” I successfully get my tickets and after a five minute walk during which I continue to give myself away as an American because I am holding a map under my nose, I find the bus stop. Or so I thought. Here I am, standing patiently waiting for the bus, anxious to begin my new job, when I see my bus coming. I was so proud of myself that I was standing at the right place at the right time until all of a sudden I realize the bus is not stopping and it continues to fly right by me. I feel like I am back in first grade on the day we had a substitute bus driver that didn’t notice my poor little seven year old body waiting for her to pick me up for school and whooshed right past me, leaving me stranded and crying on the side of the road. Knowing that I am now going to be late for my interview while trying not to cry since I am currently 21 and not seven, I run back to school to have the loveable old lady again write me word for word directions on what to do when I finally get on the bus.
Attempt two: This time I know to stick my hand out to wave the driver down. Again though he drives right past me so I proceed to chase him down (in my work heels) to what is apparently the real bus stop half a block away. I jump on the bus and quickly try to tell him where I am going and ask him to tell me when to get off the bus in my broken Italian. Thankfully he was nice enough to agree so I sat down right up front so he wouldn’t forget about me. After clutching on to my bag for dear life the entire ride because I was sitting next to an oversized warning to watch out for pick pocketers, he tells me to “scendi l’autobus qui.”
I hop off the bus and look for the address of my building which is 155. I look across the street and see 145 and then the rode ends. Great. I continue to walk along the side of what can only be described as a country highway where crazy Italian drivers are going at least 50 mph (km per hour in this case) six inches from my elbow. I am right in the middle of the beautiful rolling Tuscan hills but it is hard to appreciate it since I am completely lost. I was walking around long enough to have the same bus driver drive by again and ask me if I was ok. Obviously I wasn’t but I finally called the office and got directions in Italian. Not very helpful, but eventually I found what I was looking for. I arrived at a large gate where I have to be buzzed in and walk what feels like a mile (again, in my work heels) down a dirt and gravel path. I finally arrive and it turns out that even though my boss speaks English, the three other girls in their late 20s that work for her speak about as much English as I speak Italian. At least this will help me achieve my new year’s resolution to be fluent in Italian by the time I come home.
Hopefully my interview was successful and I will be starting full time tomorrow. I’m really excited about it because it sounds too good to be true that an opportunity like this was given to me. Buona giornata!