So I was traveling through France on the train today and saw that the forty-something woman pushing the food-and-drinks trolley was tall, slender, and looked vaguely Italian. I didn’t think anything of it, but her appearance prompted the man sitting across the aisle to start asking her where she was from in French.
She must have noticed something in his accent that I didn’t, because she answered in Italian. I didn’t recognize the name of the town, but he obviously did. It turned out that he and the two women sitting near me were originally from the next town over in Piemonte. They discussed a few landmarks and families and so on while I sat there quietly minding my own business and editing John Wright’s latest masterpiece on my tablet. They got a little exuberant at one point, prompting the woman nearest me to lean over and apologize in French, explaining that they were all essentially neighbors. From Italia.
“Si, lo so, anch’io parlo italiano,” I said, which sparked considerable hilarity. The next thing I knew, I was getting quizzed about my last trip to Piemonte, the man bought a bottle of wine from the trolley lady, and was distributing plastic cups to everyone, including me. It’s rather amusing. Even when you take the Italians out of Italy, the party travels with them.