31 March 2006

you too can parla italiano

Walking around with new friends it was interesting to see what they noticed about the city. About it's substance. One is an engineer, the other is in construction, and they saw Milan in a way I never would. They noticed materials and structures and the million little reasons why the buildings we walk past every day are still standing.

They stopped to look at the rock with which buildings were constructed. Were the blocks cut or had they been poured? Was each chunk exactly the same or slightly different? Yes, I would notice that the building was made with special stones. I would think it was unique and pretty and point at it for others to see. But I would never stop to think about scientifically what it all meant. That each piece worked with the others based on calculations and formulas and facts. And that someone had to take on the responsibility of promising that this building would work.

I'm more likely to see the hints of old red on a giant door across from a favorite Sunday cafe. And then go inside for a macchiato.

These are the stairs that swirl up our building. They make a turn just tight enough to make you dizzy. And being marble they're just slippery enough to make you nervous. So instead of taking the stairs, a travesty I know, I tend to take the elevator. It's a quaint little cabin with a mirrored wall - perfect for one last check after lunch. And you're not likely to be dizzy when you step off.

Italian has not been what I would call an easy language to learn. True, it is beautifully full of sound and passion but it also involves a painful amount of little accordances one must get just right. But today is the day we can all speak Italian. Just start with an open mind and let your intuition guide you. Remember that large chunks of our languages are very similar and that often guessing is as effective as learning. So with that encouragement I unleash you on the Brokeback Mountain poster in Italian. Can we all guess what the title is in Italian?

I thought so. Bravo!

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