I got a job in Milan! It’s at a pole dance studio, and it’s basically a work-study job so I can continue to take dance classes as a bankrupt student. I work as a receptionist, and do some odd-jobs around the studio. The studio is branded as an English- and Italian-speaking school, and a lot of the students do speak “some” English.
I’ve been working there for about 2 weeks now and have had a few hiccups. My arch nemesis is the telephone. I have only had one really bad run-in so far on the phone… the woman spoke no English whatsoever, and I couldn’t understand anything she was saying. After several failed attempts in communication, I made my “Home Alone face” and in my state of panic told her to:
“Chiami lo stesso numero domani”
Which is a very incorrect way to say “Call back tomorrow”. I realize that is bad customer service, but I had no idea what else to say! My limited knowledge of Italian abandoned me in my distress, and this was the best I could come up with.
Today, I worked with the other receptionist for about 5 hours. She doesn’t speak English AT ALL. It was a very interesting experience- and believe it or not, we communicated almost entirely in Italian. (But had to talk through Google Translate 2 or 3 times). I basically had “the face” on all day, but I was able to get the gist of what she was telling me and could answer some of her questions.
Italian is getting better, but I’m still only at a wallflower-level. I’m fine listening to it and can understand most conversations happening around me. But when the time comes for me to be a social butterfly and get involved in the conversation, I panic and make “the face”. Working at the studio has definitely thrown me into the Italian fire; if the girls do speak English, they definitely don’t know how to resolve payment or scheduling issues in English, so all of that is done in Italian. It’s hard, and I’m struggling, but maybe it’s the best thing for me? We’ll see how long I last…