JohnnySnelgrove's Travel Journals


What is the best ethnic food you ever had that you just can't find at home?


  • 28 years old
  • From Washington, United States
  • Currently in Washington, United States

Firenze, Italy 2012

Living the life of an Italian journalist.


Italy Florence, Italy  |  Oct 02, 2012
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 As corny as it is, I almost believe people have “auras” 

     Today I had my first Italian language class. Because I’m not actually a student, there is only one other kid in my class. We had a pretty good time, and I think we’ll learn quickly. The only problem is that we’re starting from the very beginning, and I’ve been teaching myself for two months now. I already know how to conjugate “to be” and “to have” and all that fun stuff (except for tenses, I’ve been to scared to delve into that). I have a vocabulary of (best guess) at least a few hundred words. So all I really need is someone to keep me on track, make sure I’m not learning anything wrong, practice with me, and teach me the grammatical exceptions. I still expect to enjoy the class, though, and I’m kind of hoping I can find a way to keep taking some form of Italian class after the three weeks are up.

     During a break from class, the other student and I walked down the street to a little cafe I’d stopped at the other day to ask for directions. I remembered the old man, who I presume owns the cafe, had been very friendly and helpful, so I wanted to stop by again to order something. As corny as it is, I almost believe people have “auras”. I’m not really spiritual in any way, but people seem to radiate something that can’t be described. It can be felt as a basic emotional impression, however. Some people inherently make one feel anxious, others make one feel comfortable, etc. And there never seems to be any empirical reason why this is so. My best guess is that our basic emotional reaction to a person is based on gestures, tone, inflection, and mannerisms. These micro-attributes add up and, in true gestalt fashion, become more than the sum of their parts. They become that indescribable aura that so confounds us in our everyday encounters. 

     Anyway, even though I couldn’t understand everything the owner said to me, I still sensed an aura of geniality. We ordered some cappuccino and pastries for the counter and talked for a bit. Either the owner didn’t speak any English, or he only spoke a little, but my favorite part about this cafe was that we only conversed in Italian. Most baristas or cafe owners will switch to English when I try to use my (probably horrible) Italian, which is frustrating since I’m trying to learn the language. Even though our conversation was broken, we still managed to have a good chat. He asked if we were studying at the school down the street, and I asked how my Italian was coming along. Then he told us we didn’t have to worry about paying the seat price, and I’m pretty sure he undercharged us for the coffee and pastries. Some people give off good vibes. The cafe was probably the most generic and unremarkable one on the street, but it’s my go to from now on. A good atmosphere is better than a good view.

     After class, I spent the rest of the day working on an absurdist short story I started a few months ago. I’ve been writing like a madman lately—it’s terrific. Outdoor cafes + good weather = a substantial increase in daily word count.

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