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:

Canadian Waitress in Italy | Embarrassing Moments
Notes from 1997 | Toronto to Bondi Beach, Australia

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.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Everyday Life

This weeks challenge is all about people and the things they do. I’ve never been one to photograph people as I prefer rolling landscapes and blue waters, so I’ve dug a little deep to find some people pics. I hope you enjoy.

Two days ago a mistral blew through northern Sardinia and we headed to the beach to roll in the waves. Elated to see about eight surfers in the water, I knew what I had to do next; out came the camera and I snapped away. Surfing is an everyday occurence (when the weather permits) for many surfers in this neck of the woods.

A few years ago I made my way back to Canada for a visit. Along with my sister and her beautiful family we drove to Gatineau, Quebec to visit my sister’s in-laws. We had many beautiful adventures: walking among the freshly fallen rustic leaves and watching the ripples fade in a mirror-like pond.

We also went tobogganing!

Prague is one of my all time favourite cities, and I don’t like large cities. I climbed the bell tower and snapped this photo of everyday life in Prague.

My girlfriends and I packed up the car and drove to New Hampshire for a four-day long weekend. Surprised to see the New Hampshire Police force using this mode of transportation; I guess it’s part of their everyday life, I sure had a giggle.

In 2007 I had the pleasure of traveling to Santorini, Greece with this group of fabulous travelers. I have been a member on Virtual Tourist since 2005 when I was searching for information on Brazil. These people are a wealth of information and are a great group to ride a donkey up a steep mountain with. I would do it again, yes I would!

Now the following photo shows my everyday life, albeit six years ago when I was running around as a waitress in a busy restaurant overlooking Niagara Falls, Canada. I loved my job, really I did. This photo is dedicated to one special person, and all the douchebags that don’t tip!

Continue reading

Jennifer Avventura is AWOL

Ciao tutti!

I’m just writing to let you know I will be AWOL for about a month. I’ve accepted a one month contact with four stars and I’ve recently been working 10 hour shifts. Leaving me very little time for blogging, but a girls gotta do what a girls gotta do.

I’ll be around to stalk read some of your blog posts. I won’t have any new writing material for you in the next month, I really haven’t the time now … I’m crushed.

Who knows … maybe there will be more stories from The Wandering Waitress – A Guide to Traveling the World One Tip at a Time.

Chapter 1 – The Wandering Waitress

Chapter 2 – The Wandering Waitress

(These two chapters have been recently unlocked. I hope you enjoy.)

I will still be participating in the Weekly Photo Challenge and returning emails and comments.

I appreciate all of your comments, advice and kind words.

Thank you for sticking with me.

What are your summer plans?

Canadian Waitress in Canada – Chapter 2 – The Casino’s Main Act

She pulls out her note pad, her hand twitching as she wraps her fingers around the cool plastic. “A drink from the bar?” She tugs at her computer swipe card hanging from her white apron; pulling, twisting, unconsciously releasing her inhibitions. Catching his eye again she holds his glare, she feels the intensity growing in her belly, she feels like a raging horny teenager when he looks at her. Continue reading

The Wandering Waitress*. A Guide to Traveling the World One Tip at a Time.

So you want to give up everything, eh?  Move to another country, get a job in a small café in Australia and become a beach bum?  It’s easy to do and you don’t need a university degree to do it. Continue reading

Canadian Waitress in Canada – Chapter 1 – Niagara Falls

It’s a typically slow, freezing-cold January night, and she’s already been working four hours into her usual four table section in a five hundred seat restaurant. Eleven foot tall windows outline fifty percent of the dining room and with arms stretched out wide she has a spectacular view of Niagara Falls. She never tires of the view, she’s always lived in beautiful pristine places; but this was different, it wasn’t the beach. It wasn’t that deep down warm feeling she felt sitting in hot sand with the ocean at her toes and the sun beating down its mid afternoon rays, no, this shit weather brought out the worst in her, it was only by the ocean that she identified with herself. The only place she feels herself, her sanctuary from the ordinary, she tucks herself into pockets of the world; living, breathing, thriving and developing her sense of self. She craves to have that feeling again and wishes winter would fuck right off. The dirty mess of melting snow, too many below zero to care and the constant brushing of the car was making her one miserable thirty year old woman. It was time she escaped the snow shit capital and seek the refuge that the ocean provides.

Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada

Barely making small talk with her tables, she doesn’t care where they came from, where they are going or what they are doing in The Falls.

Yes sir, I understand, but you are in Canada and the change from your bill will be in Canadian dollars.”

The customers look at her with puzzled bewilderment and she contemplates pointing out the brightly illuminated international border that they crossed. But bites her tongue instead. It hurts. She doesn’t care. She has no time for stupidity. She is polite, professional and to the point, if her customers give, she will give. She has been in this industry for twenty-two years and has had enough of being a servant.

Her mind is like a busy airport linking her identity together, like points on the compass she never truly knows which direction she is going until she gets there. She has traveled five of the seven continents, seen poverty in its depths and riches beyond her wildest dreams, she knows what she wants, isn’t afraid to speak the truth and will just about roll over anyone in her way. In the last ten years all she has done is work, save and travel, work save and travel, not a bad lifestyle by any means but it drains her bank account, and now she’s trying to figure out how to save for another odyssey and live in the meantime. The six fifty an hour job she has had for a year is paying the bills, but will barely pay for another trip or the increase in bust size she has always dreamed of. She knows with enough hard work and the larger than life white striped smile she could do both, work extra hard and survive; travel.

At times she wishes she could take a flying leap out of the atrium windows and fly away, the sense of escape intrigues her, moreover she would like to throw that irritating impossible to serve customer crashing out, spinning out of control to the pavement below. She’s groggy and hung over from ladies night, drinking two glasses of wine and two pints of Guinness she debates on calling Gina, canceling their plans for hor’dorves and cocktails later that evening.

Quickly walking into the dish pit with her usual arm load of shit: plates stacked precariously on top of each other, bread basket smashed into potatoes holding it in place, a half eaten steak dangling off the plate onto her pinky finger, she spills lobster butter down her tie and curses the hot thick liquid making a new home, balancing forks and steak knives she just about wipes out on that damn spill by the coffee station that has been there for an hour. It’s no surprise that she is able to carry the armload of junk, it’s all she’s ever done, it’s all she knows.

Entering the dish-pit the ever gregarious French head dishwasher greets her with the same excited nature he always does:
Jana! How de ’ell are ya?”
Oh you know, same old same old. I’m hung over and want my bed.”
Too many boys knocking down yer door Jana, will make you a tired girl.”
If only that was the reason she felt tired, she could deal with it, but the drinks wore on her like an old sock waiting to be discarded. Unloading her armfuls, she scrapes the leftovers into the garbage and ponders on the amount of food wasted in a restaurant, it’s appalling and makes her sad. She thinks about all the restaurants worldwide and can’t fathom that there are people starving.

The dish-pit becomes busy with waiters waiting to unleash their heaps of garbage, when someone calls out:
The main act from the Casino is here, he’s waiting for a table.”

Thoughts of doubt dance in her head, she’s in dire need of a good laugh, but she’s skeptical that he really is here. She finishes scraping the waste, washes her hands and heads directly to the dinning room and to her amazement, sure enough, it’s him! Brilliant, fucking brilliant!

His charcoal curls dangle from beneath his visor, muscles popping from his t-shirt and his smile larger than life, he is surrounded by five men and wonders if they could be his body guards. Seeing him standing in the middle of the dinning room carpe diem rings in her ears and she leaps into action. They have money, yes of course, they have plenty of money. He after all is the main act at the casino and has been for many months, she wants to dip her hand into their money pockets, she wants another beach holiday but first she must smile. Approaching him with the utmost confidence she lets them know table ten is available. They thank her, she looks directly in his eyes; their gazes locked, and in that split second she feels the fire ignite. That single look stirred passion deep within her, and she could feel her sexual allure escaping her.

They take their seats, his closest to the window, he peers out at the astonishing view, she grabs their attention,
Good Evening Gentleman. How are you today? Have you dined with us before?” Shaking their heads left to right, “Do you mind if I take a minute and go over our menu?”
Asking them to open their menus she looks over at him, he looks at her quizzically and jokes, “My menu is upside down I can’t read it.”

Walking over to him, she turns his menu right side up, she makes direct eye contact with him, his eyes pierce her directly to the core. She tries to hide her slight sexual nervousness, she can’t look at him without feeling aroused, thoughts of devouring him passed though her mind as she launches into the menu sizzle.

Bottom left hand corner of your menu you will notice our grilled to perfection chart, if you are in for steak this evening, which I hope you are, it’s what we do best so please take this into consideration as we do go by these guidelines. Down the center of the menu is all our steak dinners. All our steaks are center cut, well aged and perfectly marbled, which for you mean, you are in for a dynamite dinner. Top right hand corner you will find our prime rib. Our prime rib is our hero product and we are well-known for it, we slow roast it for twenty-four hours in our own special spice, tonight we are carving it at a perfect medium-rare to medium.”

She makes it though the sizzle, she doesn’t stumble over her words, she was finally getting a grip on herself, her nervousness faded as she spoke, she realized they are just another ordinary table in for dinner, with extraordinary lifestyles, and she was curious.

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