You guys, I have just a little over two weeks until my trip to Italy and the anxiety has begun to kick in. That's what sets someone with anxiety disorder apart from the rest. Instead of thinking "vacation, cheese, men in tight pants!", I'm thinking, "doom, gloom, language barrier."
Yes, the language barrier is what I'm most concerned about. You see, I'm not exactly the most worldly chick. The most foreign land I've been to was Riviera Maya in Mexico, and that barely counted. We were secluded on a giant resort with tons of other tourists, most of them English-speaking. The most culture shock I experienced there were the throngs of European tourists in speedos and aqua socks. It also helped that I had three years of high school Spanish under my belt, much of which miraculously came back to me on the trip.
I know, everyone says that most of the people I'll encounter will speak at least a little English. Especially in all the main tourists areas, where we're going. But I feel like I need to at least make an effort to speak their language. I have this fear of being viewed as an ignorant American. Especially when so many Americans demand that anyone coming to our country speak English. Yet they don't expect to be held to the same standards in another country?
Frank is not to concerned because he is Frank and he is never concerned about anything. He thinks that as long as we know how to say "pizza" we'll be fine. I'm having nightmares in which we will be drinking toilet water and eating pizza for every meal, which wouldn't be so bad minus the toilet water part. I'm also worried about money and paying. Like if someone says the total of our bill and we don't understand what they're saying, so we just have to hand them a wad of euros and hope for the best. I don't want to make the Italians angry, like this:
Another concern I have is shoes. I like to look good on vacation because a) the world is judging me and b) I want to look good in pictures. So I'm planning on buying all these new cute dresses and not wearing fanny packs and t-shirts every day. But the issue is the shoes. We'll be walking everywhere, on billion year old cobblestone streets, and I'm having an issue with finding very comfortable, non-athletic shoes that don't make me look butch-femme. Is it too much to ask?
The third largest concern is electricity. Like, how to harness it and use it for good. I know I need to buy things like adapters and converters and I also know that they cost a lot of money. But along with my pizza and toilet water dreams, I'm having visions of exploding flat irons and iPhones. I will probably be afraid to use anything. And yes, I know my iPhone won't work there, but I can't fall asleep or go to the toilet without playing Angry Birds. These things have become physical impossibilities in the modern world.
Next on the list is flying. The longest flight I've ever been on was about four hours. I'm not really afraid of actually flying and being millions of miles off the ground, I'm more concerned about claustrophobia. It's the "there's only one way outta this thing" factor that's bringing me down. Our flight will land bright and early in the morning, Rome time, so it's not like i'll be able to go to sleep when we get in. I'm planning on not sleeping the night before we leave, popping some klonopin or tylenol pm on the plane and knocking myself unconscious. I once slept 24 hours straight on a bus ride to Panama City with the aid of a double dose of Nyquil. If I can sleep through a 24 hour bus ride with 100 drunk spring breakers, this should be cake.
One more thing. This will be the longest period of time that we have left our kid. You know, the one with floppy ears and a chronic humping habit. My brother in law may be watching him but that's not set in stone, so we had to find alternate care. Normally, we leave him with my sister-in-law and her family, but the last time he was there, he pooped in their house and ran away. Their four year old son confided in me that "Wilby pooped on the floor and then Daddy said a bad word," so I'm guessing he's probably worn out his welcome there. Luckily, we found a lady that runs a doggy day care out of her home. She just lets the dogs have the run of her house and her yard and only crates them if she has to leave the house. She even lets the dogs sleep in bed with her . . . all of them. I know what you're thinking, she's a creeper. It's kind of like we're leaving Wilbur at the Neverland Ranch for 11 days. But we're okay with that.
Have you been somewhere foreign without knowing the language? Any advice?