Pisa. Or that time I butchered the Italian language.

A couple of years ago, I visited Pisa with my sister Brooke. Truth be told, Pisa wasn’t high on our list of sites and places to see – it was really only a train stop en route from Rome to Lucca for us. I’d heard from multiple sources that it’s super touristy and hella-overrated. But when in Rome.. erm, Pisa.. it only made sense that we checked it out for ourselves.

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After stowing our bags at the train station we took a short public bus ride to the same place everyone else in town was there to see.. The Leaning Tower. We decided that we weren’t interested in climbing the tower or visiting any of the other sites. It was too hot and crowded for either of us to care, to be honest.

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So after a couple of selfies, we once again followed the masses and found ourselves outside of a McDonalds restaurant. Some people make a point of visiting The Golden Arches around the world while travelling. I’m not one of those people, but we were both starving and needed to get out of the scorching sun for a bit. So in we went..

When I reached the counter, I thought I’d pull my admittedly pathetic Italian out of my back pocket. I order a meal that included a wrap, fries and a drink. I had decided to try the peach juice. So when the cashier asked me what drink I’d like I replied, “pesh-a”.

She stared at me with eyes wide open. I repeated myself. Still, a blank eyed stare. Hmm. This wasn’t working out the way it did in my imagination. Finally, in English, I muttered, “peach”. Suddenly she was smiling. “Ohhh, okay, peach juice!”.

Still totally confused, I asked what I had ordered. She smiled and replied, “fish juice”. OH WOW. One of the many things I love about Italians is their love for their languange, and how they’ll happily share it with non-Italian speakers. She took the time to explain that peach (pesca in Italian) is pronounced “pes-ca” while fish (pesce in Italian) is pronounced “pesh-a”. We both had a good laugh over my gaff. I paid and when my order came up, I walked away with my non-fish juice with a smile on my face.

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Maybe one day I’ll return to Pisa to properly visit the city and its sites (it’s actually pretty cute from what I saw out the bus window). But even if I do, I don’t think I’ll ever think of it without laughing to myself about the time I tried to order fish juice.

– Marla

 

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