Wednesday, July 23, 2008

It All Began With a Bottle of Wine/Tutto e' iniziato con una bottiglia di vino

Life is strange. How could I have known, in that moment in 2004 when everyone was laughing at me, how could I have guessed that destiny had just knocked over the first in a long line of dominos, setting in motion events that have led me here, writing little stories in Italian.

It all began, as things often do in Italy, with a bottle of wine. At the Ristorante Al Marsili in Siena I was sitting in the center of a long rectangular table with a group of friends. The meal had been selected in advance and so the dishes were bought out for us one at a time, each new dish placed before us like a present to see, to smell and to taste. With the wine it was the same, several bottles were scattered along the table top open and breathing and we filled our glasses immediately. It was red wine and it was good and a friend across the table asked me from what region this delicious wine had come from. I reached for the bottle and I spoke my now famous words, announcing to the group that the wine was from the Tavola region and immediately discovering that I was the only one at the table or in the restaurant or maybe in Siena who did not know that Tavola is, of course, not a region, but the Italian word for table.

Everyone laughed, and I did too, because of course my ignorance and innocence was funny. What I realized in that moment however, was that I didn’t want to be ignorant about Italy anymore. My appreciation of the meal was not complete without my understanding the label on that bottle of red wine and I knew then that my appreciation of Italy would likewise not be complete until I could understand that country through their own beautiful words.

So it has come to be, that here I am telling this story in Italian. The journey to get to this point has taken me many places and opened up whole new worlds to me. All because of a bottle of red table wine. Isn’t life strange?


* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


La vita e’ strana. Come lo potevo sapere in quel momento due anni fa quando tutti ridevano di me. Come potevo indovinare che il Destino ha spinto la prima di una lunga fila di tessere di domino e ha dato inizio ad una serie di avvenimenti che mi hanno portato a questo momento, a scrivere questa piccola storia in italiano per Il Bollettini.

Tutto e’ iniziato, come le cose spesso iniziano in Italia, con una bottiglia di vino. Al Ristorante Al Marsili a Siena siedevo ad un tavolo molto lungo e rettangolare con qualche amico. La cena l’avevamo scelta in anticipo quindi i piatti li portavano al tavolo uno alla volta, ogni nuovo piatto per noi era come un regalo vederlo, sentirlo e gustarlo. Per il vino era lo stesso. Le bottilgie ci stavano aspettavano sul tavolo, gia aperte, stavano respirando. Era vino rosso ed era buono e qualcuno mi ha chiesto da dove arrivava. Ho preso la bottiglia e ho letto l’etichetta e ho risposto, “arriva da Tavola”, e dale risate dei i miei amici mi resi conto che tutti sapevano che "vino da tavola" non era una regione d’italia ma un tipo di vino.

Rossa in volto ed imbarazzata mi versai un’altro bicchiere ma in quel momento comprendevo qualcosa. Avevo tanto da imparare sull’Italia e volevo cominciare subito. Non potevo apprezzare del tutto la mia cena senza capire l’etichetta su quella bottiglia di vino e allo stesso modo non potevo apprezzare del tutto l’Italia fino a quando avrei capito la loro bella lingua. Adesso, due anni dopo, sono qui a scrivere questa storia per un giornale in italiano. Posso leggere l’italiano, posso scrivere in italiano, riesco addirittura a parlare un po’, ma ho dentro ancora quella curiosita’ di conoscere di piu di questa lingua come l’avevo sentita al ristorante. Tutto a causa di un bottiglia di vino rosso. La vita non e’ strana?

fine

Written in December 2006.


2 comments:

paninigirl said...

And now you are fluent in Italian and I am jealous! I've been studying this beautiful language for 2 years. How did you do it? Did you move there?

Dana said...

Grazie for the compliment, but the truth is that I can write it better than I can speak it. I do take a lot of classes, here and the immersion ones in Italy, but I've never lived there. I will though... un giorno...