Canadian Waitress in Italy | Dumb Blondes

Two and a half months ago.

Genoveva bumped into him in the lunch line; he laughed a curious laughter as she introduced herself.  “Mi scusi … Salve, mi chiamo Genoveva.” She held out her hand as a peace-offering. “Ciao. Mi chiamo Andrea. Cosa stai facendo in albergo?” He pumped her hand with such force that she thought her heart might stop. “Sono una cameriera nel ristorante a buffet e tu?” They moved slowly down the lunch line together. Today’s special: Baked fish, roast potatoes, traditional Sardinian gnocchi, sautéed eggplants drizzled in the finest olive oil and seadas. “Sono responsabile della sicurezza, qui da sei anni. Di dove sei? Non sembri molto italiana.”

It was true; Genoveva is not Italian. Even with her slight name change she can’t fool anyone “Sono di Canada. Il mio marito è sardo. Sono qui da quasi cinque anni. Sei Sardo?” She didn’t think he was from Sardinia; his bombshell blonde locks gave him away but his accent was so Sardinian. “So you are American! Right on, we can speak English then. I miss speaking English. My father was born in the south of Sardinia and my mother is from Poland. Sardinia has been my home for the last twenty years. Why are you here, in Sardinia?” She silently punched him square between the eyes and said “I’m from Canada, not America.”

His next response surprised her that she almost choked on a piece of gnocchi. “You’re from North America. It’s the same thing as America. Therefore you are American.”

North America Image via WikipediaHe was right in an odd strange way, but what he failed to realize was that within that one continent are twenty-three very different countries. “No, I’m from Canada. I hold a Canadian passport. I say EH and I had a polar bear as a pet when I was a kid.” Her natural sarcasm had taken hold of her. She could see him pondering the idea of twenty-three countries within one continent, smoke coming out of his ears. “So, you lived in an igloo too? I’ve always wanted to live in an igloo.” Genoveva has never in her Canadian life seen an igloo; with the exception of the travel documentaries she used to watch. She did try to build one when she was eight years old but her polar bear sat on it. “Yes, I lived in an igloo. It’s like, so really cool.” She picked up her lunch tray and bid Andrea adieu and she hoped to never see him again.

Three days later

“Hey, America! How’s it going?” Agitation gripped her as she invisibly kicked him between the legs. “Ciao Andrea. I’m from Canada; remember the igloos and polar bears? We spoke about this just three days ago.” This was one time Genoveva wished she had a super cell phone because if she did, she would open an app and show Andrea the international border line dividing Canada and America. “Oh come on, Miss. America, it’s the same thing.” In her mind’s eye she dropkicked him so hard his Polish head split open on the reception floor; instead she said “I’m late for work. Ciao.” She ran into the restaurant and hoped again to never, ever see his ignorant face.

Today

Genoveva wanted to buy a small token of appreciation for her hairdresser and walked into the local flower shop. “Ciao Anna, come stai?”

“Sto bene, grazie. Cosa vuoi oggi. I’m good, thank you. What do you want today?”

“I would like a small bouquet, as a gift for a friend.”

Genoveva picked out a beautiful long stem bamboo shoot, a sunflower and some beautiful white flowers. Anna wrapped them nicely in colourful paper when Genoveva heard a familiar voice; her skin crawled.

“Hey – Genoveva! How’s it going? The hotel season is finally over; I haven’t seen you around the hotel in the last few months, what happened? I can’t wait to get back to the south of the island. When are you going back to America?” His blonde moments outshone everything about him. “I’m from Canada and I live here in Sardinia. Five years now.” Anna the wonderful local floral lady piped in “Si. Genoveva is from Canada but she’s one of us now.”

Defeated, his smile turned down and his face turned sour; he looked at this worn Adidas and said … nothing. He had memory flashbacks of their conversation in the lunch line: twenty-three countries, one continent – America. The local Sardinian woman defeated Andrea with a simple, honest statement about Genoveva fitting in. Finally.

**If you liked this story, try these:

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Canadian Waitress in Italy | Embarrassing Moments

It was a summer of firsts for Genoveva: first time she ironed … in fifteen years, first time she spoke her flash Italian skills to the general traveling public in a busy buffet restaurant and it was the first time in over twenty-two years that her natural blonde locks came through. Not sure which was the worst of the lot, Genoveva decided to let the blonde shine on though for the duration of the summer. She was in fact, so busy with her new Italian waitressing job that she didn’t have the time to fuss with her lengthening blonde locks; a ponytail would have to suffice.

Day One

In a dusty dresser drawer she found a new-ish pair of dress pants. Black as per restaurant protocol with a super large flare at the bottom. They reminded her of the 60’s; the free love era, where everyone and their dog wore bell bottoms. She whined to her Sardinian husband “Nobody wears bell bottoms … in Italy! Do you think these are okay for work? I’m pretty sure I will be the laughing-stock of Sardinia. Canadian girl in bell bottoms … honey … are you listening?”

He was listening, listening again to his wife’s ramble about clothes. He didn’t care what she wore as long as she went to work. “Sono belle, non si preoccupi. Nessuno sta guardando i pantaloni, più si ha che super-sexy grembiule rosa che copra le gambe.” It was true; Genoveva did have to wear a long apron which fell to her knees. She pranced around their loft in her new waitressing uniform, feelings of elation at a new exciting job – serving the public … in Italian.

“What about the button down shirt? Do you think my boss will notice that I bought it at the Chinese shop in Tempio? I mean the cute Chinese woman DID cut the long sleeves off, and then re-sewed short sleeves! How weird! Look … honey … LOOK! I don’t know if this can pass, heck she cut and sewed all in a matter of minutes. How can someone do that so fast? Honey …?”

She studied the conditional present of volere (to want) for hours before her first night shift and until the back of her tongue stuck to the top of her mouth, trying desperately to get those r’s out. “Che cosa vorreste? Or … honey … should I say che cosa volete?” A loud grumble came from the tool shed, in English this time “Say what you want, don’t worry.”

She worried about her bell bottom pants making the local gossip column; she worried about the iron job on her €10 Chinese cut-job shirt and she worried about speaking Italian to Italian people who pay mega bucks to park their expensive selves in the dining-room. “Honey, I’m ready! Ajo! Let’s go. I need to be there early. It’s not a good sign if I show up perfectly on the hour. Twenty minutes early is good. Ajo! AJO!” He opened the rusty car door for her and she sat down with a heavy sigh. A popular song danced in her head; it’s the same song that appears every time she is slightly stressed “Don’t worry, ‘bout a ting. Cause every little ting, gonna be alright.”

Later that evening …

“Honey, I’m home! And I have to pee really bad!” She ran past her husband who was sound asleep on the sofa and into the en-suite bathroom. She was too happy, too excited; floating even. Everything went oddly perfect on her first Italian dinner shift and it didn’t bother her when she joined English and Italian words. She spoke Italian to English clients and English to Italian clients, the customers got a kick out of her; they asked her where she is from, what brought her to Sardinia, oh … love, they all understood, that was why they were on holiday in the first place – rekindling dead romance. She even managed to snag a €10 tip from one table visiting from Venice. They were very sun-tanned and Genoveva made a mental note to up the sunscreen. At least the €10 Edward Scissor hands button down shirt was paid for.

“Oh, honey I really like it there. I know it was my first night and all, everyone is so nice … OH MIO DIO … WHAT THE WHAT?!? NOOOOOOO!” Her elation quickly disappeared as she looked into the seat of her bell bottom pants while sitting on the throne. A split … a BIG split that ran all the way from the front zip to the back of her bell bottom pants.
“HONEY! MY. PANTS. ARE. SPLIT. RIGHT. DOWN. THE. ENTIRE. CRACK! OH MY G..!” Embarrassment washed over her already hot body and a tear made its way down her sweaty right cheek. Moments of the night flashed though her pulsating veins; she remembered the hostess having a keen eye on her behind; she remembered bending over (from the waist) to pick up a crate of water, she remembered a moment when she was wedged between two tables rambling on in Ital-ish. Genoveva thought that maybe the hostess was a lesbian or that her boss was the pervy kind as he offered a huge smile and a helping hand with the crate of water. She thinks back to the tip that slipped slyly into her long apron, an apron which covered her bell bottom pants, an apron which should have covered everything … well almost everything.

Genoveva’s husband awoke from his slumber, he turned off the TV and walked into the bathroom to greet his hysterical wife “What colour are your underwear?”
Nudo! OH MIO D … NUDO.” She shrieked in angst, pain and embarrassment. Her husband rolled into bed, in fits of Sardinian laughter.

Without realizing it Genoveva’s bell bottom pants went down in Italian restaurant history.

Stay tuned for more tales from Canadian Waitress in Italy.

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