Not my native tongue

16 Aug

The boring days at the office continue. I’m trying to use my time wisely, instead of doing my nails, I’ve been focusing on my trip to Italy.

I’m good with the details on where I want to visit but one thing I’ve been slacking about is learning  the language. I know the basics like ciao and  buon giorno….ok and  chianti. Not wanting to spend a days worth of pay on Rosetta Stone, I logged onto my library’s catalog to see if they had anything to help me out I found this Berlitz Italian Guaranteed when I picked it up at the library, I was taken aback. Had I really requested a VHS?

Turns out it wasn’t a VHS like the case appeared to be, it was a Playaway.  It’s a cool contraption. It’s like an ipod but for this segment only and  all you have to do is plug in your earphones and you’re all set! No charger and no bulkiness-score!

I’ve done a few lessons and my main complaint originally was that it’s all over the place but now it’s actually coming together. It starts with greetings, how to say your name, ask others theirs and discuss where you’re from. Then it goes on to discuss what you do for a living, how many children you have and if you’re married. I definitely paid attention to the latter so I can ask men this in Italy what they do work wise and if they are involved. I can now count up to 30 , 20-29 is easy because they all start with venti so I can relate that to Starbucks biggest drink!! I can also spell my name out in Italian and tell you my name and where I’m from. The other problem is that I don’t know how to write anything or know how its spelled. Whenever I write down what I’m listening to (because that’s the main way I learn), I spell it out the way it sounds which I know is wrong but works for now while learning it. I’ve never learned a language from tapes before so the process has been interesting and I intend to keep practicing up until I go.

When I was in DC last month, I found this
Dorling Kindersley Travel Guide for Italy at a thrift store for $.50.

I love it because I’m a visual person and they are all about the illustrations and pictures. Who needs words when you can look at pictures right? This book has given me great insight on where to go when in Italy but now I fear I have too many places I want to visit, oi vey.

Other that that, I’ve been online reading different blogs about Italy.
Amanda and Andy recently when back to Italy after going for their honeymoon a couple of years ago. I keep going to their blog and not only marveling at the Italian scenery but the food as well. Blueberry ricotta cheesecake, gnocchi, pizza and red wine? Sign me up! Be sure to check out their adventures in Verona and Venice

But like college, I had to give myself a break from studying and researching. I met up with Natalie for lunch at Bluefin Sushi 

I am always down for sushi but even more so when there is a lunch special. Plus I’m kind of over either eating lunch in my car just to get away from the desk or driving around for an hour. Natalie has been before and told me this place gets really busy since it’s located right off I95 near a ton of businesses so we went at noon. That was a smart move on our part since there were only a few tables and parking spaces galore. We went in and sat down and our server came right over to us. I can’t stand when servers take their time at lunch when you have to get back to work so that was appreciated. Bluefin has bento box specials for lunch that come with either soup or salad. Since it feels 100+ degrees outside with the humidity, I got the salad with ginger dressing.

Followed by the Hosomaki lunch special. Both food was out soon after we ordered so no lollygagging at Bluefin-quick service is what I’m talking about!

Hello beautiful bento box full of sushi! This was only $10—not a bad deal at all. My only gripe with Bluefin was that our waiter was a little too attentive with filling up my water. I love my H2O but cmon, give me a chance to just down one full glass of water!

And with that, my brain is fried from all the knowledge it’s taking in. I haven’t sat down and done any kind of studying in god knows how long. But I dig it. It’s nice to give my brain a little workout every now and then, something tells me the normal workout I have of reading TMZ isn’t a beneficial workout for my noggin.

What other languages do you speak? 
Have you ever learned a language from a cd or tape?


23 Responses to “Not my native tongue”

  1. Karla August 16, 2011 at 10:53 pm #

    Please please please eat soooo much gelato in Florence! It’s the best! Especially go to Vivoli, a gelateria near the Santa Croce church (which you can’t miss either! all the greats are buried there!)

  2. Juju August 16, 2011 at 11:45 pm #

    That “thing” u got from the library is awesome! Hopefully, it will help u out! I speak korean an trying to learn chinese and japanese. Chinese for my future children (hubby is chinese) and japanese because I love japanese tv shows!
    That bento box looks amazing! For $10 dollars u cannot beat it! I’m with u with the server being all up on ur grill n filling ur water .5 seconds. But hey, at least they were attentive! 🙂

  3. Amanda August 17, 2011 at 12:30 am #

    I think you will be totally fine. We knew absolutely no Italian when we went and it was okay! I think it will be even better knowing a few phrases. Like how to find the restrooms! You are going to have an amazing time. I can’t wait to hear how it went.

  4. Amy @ Second City Randomness August 17, 2011 at 7:07 am #

    I’m glad you’re learning a little language before you go- it’ll help out so much! However, my friend who studied abroad for 3 years there said a lot of people use spanish as a “common ground” as well…

  5. Kace August 17, 2011 at 7:29 am #

    I so badly want to learn German…one of these days, right? So jealous of your trip/

  6. Natalie @Will Jog For Food August 17, 2011 at 7:53 am #

    That sushi was good! Now back to my regular boring lunch, hehe.

  7. leashieloo August 17, 2011 at 8:00 am #

    I’ve taken Spanish for 8 years and can speak conversationally, but I totes need to brush up before my trip to Costa Rica next year. I’ve also been trying to teach myself Korean, but it’s hard effing hard.

  8. diana@mymarblerye August 17, 2011 at 8:44 am #

    i speak cantonese and I took 3 years of spanish…..SEMI trilingual? Anyways, so excited for your trip!!! You better hook up with an international hottie! Mmm…bento box…

  9. Mindy@FindingSilverLinings August 17, 2011 at 9:29 am #

    I’ve never heard of a playaway. We are going to Italy next summer & I was considering spending a zillion bucks on Rosetta Stone. Then I came to my senses and remembered that the library probably has this kinda thing for free. My favorite price! I’ll be sharing your excitement for the upcoming trip (and stealing your new language ideas along the way!)

  10. Carly August 17, 2011 at 9:47 am #

    I’m glad I’m going to get sushi tonight, because all of your food is making me jealous!

    I studied abroad in Spain for two semesters and picked up most of my Spanish there. Unfortunately, I haven’t spoken it regularly in a few years. So my skills are def lacking.

  11. Jessica @ Dishin' About Nutrition August 17, 2011 at 9:59 am #

    I have been craving sushi and these pics don’t help!! Eeek, I think I’ll have to get some for lunch!

  12. Alex August 17, 2011 at 10:10 am #

    I’ve tried learning with those , ‘Learn The Dutch Language In Your Car’ cds. It worked pretty well a) because I’m in my car way too often, and b) it’s like I was in a mini class of 3 people. You repeat what the ‘instructor’ says, then he asks how do you say suchandsuch…it worked well for me.

  13. loftyappetite August 17, 2011 at 10:28 am #

    I love learning the basics before going to a country where I dont know the language. My goal is to know most things on a menu, know where the ladies room is, enter, exit, and the basic, hi, yes, no, thank you, and “i dont speak X”
    I’m fluent in Polish and i’m going to Poland with my bf in 2 weeks and we are going through serious Polish lessons! mostly focused on food!
    DK travel guides (and their phrase books!) are my absolute fave too i like the pictures and shorter descriptions/histories to help naviagate the country for general reference!

    • simplyshaka August 19, 2011 at 9:32 am #

      I can’t wait to hear back about your trip! I’m part Polish so that is on my list of places to visit one of these days. I tried to learn some of the language from one of my old bosses and it was a bust–it’s a tough language! But I can say good morning so at least I walked away with a little tidbit.

  14. Monique August 17, 2011 at 10:32 am #

    what a great deal on lunch!
    i am loving that you are learning italian!
    can you learn something dirty and text it to me?

  15. Alyssa @ Life of bLyss August 17, 2011 at 12:42 pm #

    THAT SUSHI. I have no words. I want it. badly. and I can speak Spanish, but no because of a tape. just because I was a Spanish minor in college. 🙂

    • simplyshaka August 19, 2011 at 9:31 am #

      Interesting–I never knew that! I should have gone that route.

  16. Jessica @ Stylish Stealthy and Healthy August 17, 2011 at 3:28 pm #

    I feel like that happens everytime I go for sushi. But I am a wasabi abuser, so I try not to take it for granted.

  17. MelissaNibbles August 18, 2011 at 5:22 am #

    I wish I spent time learning the language before I went there. I went for a month after I graduated college and was SO lost. Derp.

  18. Shannon August 18, 2011 at 9:59 am #

    I took French in middle school (requirement in Maine), Spanish for 3 years in HS and Latin for 1 year and Italian for 2 semesters in college. I’ve only retained about a handful of all of that (mostly Spanish and Italian). I studied abroad in Florence and LOVED it so I’m totally jealous you might be visiting there. A lot of people speak English over there which made me feel like a slacker but most didn’t mind because they like practicing their English with you. Some appreciated if I just “attempted” to speak Italian with them… then we’d switch to English. So if you get the basics down (how to greet, request a table for 2, etc.) you’ll be good. Things you MUST do if you visit Florence:
    -eat at Acqua al Due — it’s an institution, if you like filet, get the filetto mirtello (bluberry steak)
    -buy a cheap bottle of wine and sit on the steps of one of the gorgeous churches and enjoy a glass with the locals
    -visit the Boboli Gardens and climb to the top of the tower at the top and enjoy the best views of you life

    • simplyshaka August 19, 2011 at 9:28 am #

      Thanks for all the suggestions—I definitely made note of them!

  19. Katie @ Legally Fit August 19, 2011 at 10:20 am #

    You are the sushi queen- I love it! I am so excited for your trip to Italy- I am going to live vicariously through you! I was set to minor in Spanish in college but then hated one of the upper level required classes. I should have just sucked it up. I really regret not studying abroad- that’s definitely a great way to learn a language!


  1. Bang and roll « Simply Shaka - August 18, 2011

    […] since sushi one time this week wasn’t enough, I went again for lunch today to Sushi Rock. This place is right near where […]

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