Lui è un pezzo di pane. This is a great compliment here in Naples, maybe all over Italy, but I wouldn't know anything about the rest of this lovely wacky country. If someone calls you a piece of bread it means you're simple, and being simple is also a compliment. It doesn't mean you're a little slow. Simple like unpretentious. Wholesome like a piece of bread. Given the very large number of bread types in Naples -- palatone, cafone, mezzaluna, sfilatina -- I wonder if each person who is like a piece of bread is like a very specific piece of bread. Like maybe I am hard on the outside and squishy on the inside. Or maybe you are a little sour and flecked with sunflower seeds. Perhaps you are simply round or semi-circular.
I have been having lengthy conversations about Neapolitan gesture these days, and also about Italian grammar, now that our departure date is visibly on the horizon. I see it! Right over there next to that catamaran! The Husband was trying to explain when he chooses to just use words, to use words and gesture, or just use gesture to make a point. He was trying really hard and failing because the decisions are automatic and unconscious. I gleaned from his various chin thrusts, shoulder shrugs, finger pointing, and tongue clucking that sometimes it's about emphasis, sometimes it's about directing a remark to the person looking at you (thus away from those not looking at you), other times it's about being scary, occasionally it's to show great chumminess. I still have so much to learn.
You should hear me throw the subjunctive around these days. I am like an Italian grammar rock star, the Italian grammar lady pope. Penso che sia troppo forte con l'uso del congiuntivo, devo dire la verità.
Comunque, comunque. I am happy to report that the Bay Area offers more than one Italian language play group! I am thrilled that La Bimba will have little compatriots to speak in code with. She has started translating like a fiend -- palla/ball! tree/albero! kiss/NOOOOO! She is going to love all the Berkeley foliage, but she is going to be quite disappointed when she realizes that not every American who passes her on the street is going to stop and marvel. For her, everyone in Naples is some kind of relative. Here she is with her bilingual buddy Tilda.
Don't worry, Bimba! We will find plenty of folks to coo over you. Non ti preoccupare!