من آناهیتا هستم و یکی از تجربههای مهاجرتم هفت سال زندگی در ایتالیا بوده که اینجا دربارهش به انگلیسی نوشتم. اگه سوالی درباره زندگی و تحصیل تو ایتالیا داری میتونی تو قسمت کامنتها بپرسی که جواب بدم.
When you think of moving to a new country, Italy in my case, you never imagine yourself standing in front of your manager with a worried face asking her if she has “Cucumbers”
.Let me tell you how I ended up there
I moved to Milan in 2012 after many trips I had taken to Tuscany, Italy, in the previous years. What I had experienced in those little small Italian towns was what I had imagined it to be warm with welcoming people, amazing pastas and Tuscany’s wine, Milan was none of those and it was hard for me to admit it. It was hard for someone like me to admit that I had no clue about real life in Italy. Don’t think of me as naive, though. I was independent, curios and open to learn a new culture. I started working in Italian after a year of moving there, this didn’t mean it was an easy ride.
From the first day of arriving there I knew it’s not how I had imagined it to be, it turned out that my best friend who had moved there one year ago and was telling me that she’s looking for an apartment for both of us to rent and that she would come and pick me up from the central station was a fraud.
She never picked up her phone on my arrival day despite what we had planned and stood me up there in Stazione centrale.
I managed to stay for two days at a friend’s place and started looking online for rental ads, all in Italian of course, I would open google translate and prepare sentences to call for the apartments.
The conversation sounded nothing like in language books where each character talks in the same level and sticks to what both parties know.
:It was more like this
Good day, my name is Anahita, I calling for apartment, I want rent. You talk English?
-I asking for advertisement on website.
_What? You want to rent? CHEKIEDIAOMOLOI ETOVIOU NOSIEZIO PATOLA WORITZIANLDO (sounded like this in my mind)
-(Ignoring the fact that I had no idea what the person had said) when can I see him?
When you’re desperate you can find abilities that you never knew you had, the Anahita who was so shy in Iran to even call the taxi now had managed to make many appointments and had a place to rent within two days of being in Milan, even though my Italian vocabulary was nonexistent at the time.
Fast forward to a year after I was at a job interview in English when my future manager put a serious face on and said: “Now, how about your Italian?”
By that time, I had never ordered a coffee in Italian.
I knew it was the moment that would change my future, I started talking, anything that would come to my mind, any word that I had heard from my colleagues during my 3 months of internship. I would invent words from English and continue with confidence, telling him that I’m a fast learner.
I got the job!
That was just the beginning of many months of my friends laughing at my pronunciation, giving me false meanings of words when asking them and making mistakes at work. \When learning a new language, you hit this stage at which you are going to make mistakes and you know you are going to sound funny but you overcome the fear and accept this as a part of the process. And so even though I got bullied by my mean coworkers over my not-so-perfect Italian, their mocking gave me a clue of what I was saying wrong.
And in the middle of my hectic days and the rude people I had to deal with in the unmerciful city of Milan, I was blessed as once in a while, some nice Italian would encourage me.
I remember when I was working in one of the most important interior companies in Milan, at an event, a sweet coworker told me that: “Of course you may have accent, but that’s yours, It is a part of you, what is important is that we’re having a conversation and we understand each other.”
The joy of that moment is more than the day that I had an arrogant Milanese woman as my customer in that showroom, she would pretend not to understand me despite the fact that I was explaining all the products to her for half an hour. The highlight of that day was how she reacted when I simply said goodbye to her.
_Cosa?(What?)Pretending once again that she couldn’t understand one of the basic words in any language, goodbye! She made a face, as being disgusted.
_ A RRRRRR IIIII V E DERCI EEEEE BUOOONA GIORNATA.
Some would call it racist, I put in the category of ignorance.
Now back to the day I ran to my manager, Francesca asking for “Cucumbers”.
It happened when someone cut their hand badly at work right next to me, blood dropping on the floor, I ran to my manager asking for “cetriolli” which meant cucumber and obviously the world I meant to say was “cerotti” as in plaster.
Both cetriolli and cerotti sound similar enough to make such a mistake during an emergency. A slip of the tongue resulted in me standing there anxiously for her to give me cucumbers. “Hurry hurry!” I added. With a horrified face she asked me what would I need “Cetrioli” (cucumbers) for.
“Pasquale is bleeding! Do you have it?! if not I have some in my bag.”
One thing is certain, Francesca would always remember this incident, hopefully she would forget me soon.
Learning a language is more than some words that make sense, it’s learning a new world, it’s intimidating, exciting and hard.
It’s about persisting.
And as for Milan, it is an unforgiving city, full of potentials and hustlers, full of art and shady business, with luxurious spots and dirty crappy neighborhoods.
It is the city that has taught me the most in life and has crushed me to the ground.
But this is not the happy ending that I am expected to finish this post with, it is only another beginning with a different story for another day. Because after having gained a lot of experience in Italy, I suddenly decided to move to Sweden. I decided to move to a place with so many new challenges to take on: a new language, culture, climate and people.
Once again, I started from the scratch, but this time more confident and excited for what was to come.