Last weekend I went to a friend of Judah's for a playdate. The playdate was for Judah not me, silly. It was a friend of his - named Alida - who attended the same daycare until just recently when they went to different preschools. The family is Italian. Not Italian-American, but actually from Italy until just a few years ago. Their English is very good. But their parents, who live in Italy and were nearing the end of their visit, don't speak English at all.
Judah and his friend played outside for a while, then inside when it got dark. It looked like it was about time to leave until Alida's mom told me she made dinner for Judah. I'm thinking "No dinner for me? Oh, I guess I'm getting fatter and fatter, so nevermind." Alida and Judah ate the most elaborate dinner I've seen for preschoolers as they watched Finding Nemo. Alida's dad and I talked shop. Soon after Judah's dinner was done, I was about to leave again when Alida's mom told me that dinner was ready. For me and the rest of the adults this time. So I guess I'm not getting that fatter after all.
We sat down at the table with the parents (not just the parents of the preschoolers, but the parents of the parents of the preschooler who lives there) and we had a lovely dinner that consisted mainly of conversation spoken in English. There were a few minutes of Italian for the Italian speakers, and I felt compelled to follow the flow of whoever was speaking even though I could barely understand more than a word here or there. Words like "vino" and "pasta".
After dinner I got Judah's shoes on and put on our jackets and started saying goodbye. In my vino dampened mind I decided that it would be clever to try to say "have a good journey" in Italian. Not that I knew how to say that, but I quickly recalled from some Berlitz French lessons somebody saying "Bonne Journée". And I thought, "it must be 'Bon Journo' in Italian, and I went with it. I leaned in to Alida's grandma's cheek to do the Euro double-kiss thing and she smiled and said "Arrivederci!" I said "bongiorno"! Only later that night did I realize I really said "hello". What a dumbass American I am.