Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Come Se Dice Ti Amo in Inglese?

“I love you” Three simple words in English that mean so many complex things. Eight letters that we Americans piece together.

I. Love. You.

And in America, we take those eight letters more seriously than many people have taken the many letters and words in our declarations and our commandments that represent our beliefs in our country and our religions. These eight letters can move mountains for us Americans, they can break a person’s heart, and they can be engraved on one’s soul forever. Eight letters…three words…that take on so much more meaning than the one thousand something words in the Declaration of Independence. (Man if Benjamin Franklin knew he only needed eight letters to change the world, imagine what he’d come up with…. “Peace Man.” Franklin and the delegates definitely got it wrong in the book of ways to change America).

After my second day in Florence, I got to thinking about those three small words comprised of eight letters. I had made a new friend earlier in the day who only spoke Italian. He was from Kosovo and had been living here in Italy for six years. After speaking earlier in the day at the Duomo, we made plans to meet up later for a short bit, because I wanted to learn Italian and he wanted to learn English. For a few hours, we walked, talking in broken Italian. For the most part I said, “No lo so” and he giggled at my stupidity. It reminded me of my nights in Rome trying to talk to my good friend Nino when he went off on Italian rants. It was quite amusing to hear me try to speak perfect Italian. But with my attempts to speak Italian and my new friend’s, who we will call F, attempts to learn English, (which made me hopeful as he learned quickly from my teaching) we were able to both laugh. But I definitely got the last one when he asked me one last question in Italian. “Come se dice ti amo in inglese?” I laughed and told him that “ti amo in inglese e “I love you.” He then spoke those eight letters, those three complex American words to me…”I love you.”

I always thought that the first time a guy said “I love you to me” he would understand all the complexities that came with it and the strength that those words have to take a girls heart twist it into a million un-fixable knots, but this was not the case.

Those eight letters…those three words…now took on a completely different meaning. They were not his way of expressing his deepest most sincere feelings. They were his way of expressing our new found friendship on the streets of Florence. As I tried to explain in rough Italian what I Love you meant in America, I realized that it was much more easy believing what F thought I love you meant, much less complex—so I let it go and gave him a giant Italian hug goodnight.

It was in that moment, that suddenly “I love you” went from being complicated to being completely platonically simple—From a mess of meaning to a perfect lovely moment—a lovely moment where I realized that there was love in the air in Tuscany—a whole lot of simple, delightful, wonderful love. So much that I think tomorrow I’ll spread some more...and then the next day as well, and the day after that--until Tuscany is smothered in it and covered like grafitti with those three perfectly lovely simple words… I. and Love. and You.


  1. It's funny how this happens. I rarely say it, as we know I am dark and twisty and jaded, but my friends know. In Turkey my friend T has told my new friends there that I am not cold . . . I just am. In Turk it is seni seviyorum. That was one of the first things my pals there taught me, aside from the cuss words. ;) Why did they teach me? No so much that I would say it to them, as they know I say it randomly and unexpectedly, but they love hearing me say "Kumpir seni seviyorum" or "Sarap seni seviyorum." Kumpir is a potato with stuff in it and sarap is wine. ;) Great laughter emerges as I eat and drink and converse with my food.

  2. Ah, I adore this.. I think I like I love you better when it is simple, as it was meant to be. And I would like for it to stay that way, even when it is complex. Does that make any sense? It makes perfect sense in my head which is why I believe it probably makes sense in your head too.



  3. Hannah-- it makes perfect sense :) In fact, I even told my mom yesterday that I love her in the most simple complex way there is haha.