Italy to Emerald City USA...
I traditionally vacate the Italian peninsula for Thanksgiving. Done 30+ yrs. of trans-Atlantic travel in or around the last Thursday of the last full week of the next to last month of the year of November. Got that?
Now, it is pretty obvious, just listening to my heavily American accented Italian that, lo’ & behold, I am an American! Unavoidably so. The Codipontesi mimic My Dog Commands in Americanized English… Come on being the more frequent phrase heard. The accent is a worrisome fact though. Hard as I try to roll those r’s… especially the 2 found in my first name… use big words like coniugare, pronunciare, pontificare or, throwing in obscure exclamations such as, Canta che ti passa, none disguise my oltre l’oceano origins.
Most of the surrounding Italians march past all that. My American-ness appeals. They do think I talk like the dubbed Laurel & Hardy… Stanley e Olio in Italian. They are instantly recognizable and adored for the heavily American accented Italian slap-stick. What they ARE truly wanting to know is…
Quando vai in America?
I gush, swallowing the last bit of brioche and noting that some of my cappuccino landed at stomach-level on my COS sweater before replying… Thanksgiving! Getting a blank look, I quickly translate… per il Giorno di Ringraziamento. Less of a blank look. Then, swiftly comes… Come vorrei accompagnarti in America! Eyes bright as Emerald City, for cryin’ out loud. Off they go and I am left with the sensation the Italians think America is akin to Dorothy and her tag-alongs of Toto, the Tin Man, Scarecrow and the Cowardly Lion skipping on the Yellow Brick Road to savor the fun, and have granted a wish or 2, in Emerald City. A perennial Thanksgiving TV favorite… in America, that is.
Requires substitutions, alterations. The Italians are prepared. They’ve study America. TV is the culprit, again. Italians like spectacle. BIG fantasies too: BIG trucks, BIG buildings, BIG shopping and BIG food. A BIG 50 State buffet of anything you want in any quantity in any location. It dazzles and delights. A dream.
Here I am, in Emerald City USA. AKA North Carolina. And a rather different experience to what my Italian friends will expect to hear from me upon my return. Could well risk being accused of not getting it: ate salmon steaks instead of turkey on Thanksgiving, got sick with the flu because you cannot open a window for some fresh air and wall-to-wall carpet have germs… however, it might be the tactical error of that salmon as the real cause of my malady… sipped microwaveable chicken noodle soup and watched movies on Netflix for days on end so not to spread the apparent plague of influenza over the land, missed Black Friday AND Cyber-Monday totally, and so on and on and on. I may have to lie. Keep the dream going.