Buon Compleanno!

The birthday of my better half gave me the opportunity to have my first actual conversation with an Italian.  We’ve been doing the Buongiornos and the Grazies and the Pregos, but this time I actually asked a question and received an answer.

My question: Quanto costa è la torta cioccolato? (How much is the chocolate cake?)

The owner’s answer: Something italian. (I have no idea what his response was…we are getting better reading Italian, but actually understanding it when someone speaks it…that’s another story.)

The main point here is that I asked an Italian man a question and he responded without hesitation.  I felt like i deserved a medal…something snappy like “Official Speaker of Italian.”

The best part of this little adventure was the actual cake though!  The name of the bakery was Palma and everything inside looked amazing.  Brittany had specifically said that the little chocolate cakes looked delicious, so that’s what I went with.  And! he wrapped them up so perfectly…man, these Italians know what they are doing with food.

image3 image2


Not sure what the “S” is for…maybe Superdelicious?  but we have noticed that many of the pastries we see in shop windows have a letter baked (or iced) on to let you know what flavor they are…


“M” for Mostarda (Mustard…and no, we haven’t tried it yet, but I really want to), “P” for Pesca (Peach), and “A” for Albicocca (Apricot), etc., so we’ll have to find out what the “S” is.

I also tried to find her an Italian birthday card.  Now, as stated, they have food down, but the whole birthday card thing was another story.  First off, know that the Italian word for birthday is compleanno and I definitely wasn’t looking for that word when searching for a card.  And when I say search…I really mean it.  I went to 3 different bookstores and a grocery store that all had cards, and all were the same.  The cards are on a typical shelf like you might see at any store back in America, but all of the cards are wrapped in cellophane.  Yes, we have cards back home that are wrapped in cellophane, but typically there is a sticker on the wrapper that tells you what it says inside…these do not…at least most of them that I saw anyway.  These cellophane wrapped cards are setting on their shelf, looking smug, tempting you to open them and see what they have to say…but they are not in any order.  There is the real possibility that not all stores are set up this way, and one can walk into a store here in Bologna and find a very organized birthday card section with cards that can be opened and read, but the four stores I tried must be the exceptions.  Imagine walking to the electronics section at Wal-Mart.  There’s a bin full of $5 DVDs, but there is no order and you have to dig and dig to see if there’s something you like.  Also imagine that these DVDs have no title and no description on the back.  This is what finding a card is like.

I finally found a card that had birthday items on the cover and a compleanno sticker in the corner.  Without having any idea what might be written inside, I purchased it…Brittany could be getting a “happy third birthday” card for all I knew…but at least it would be in Italian.  That was the real reason for my troubles.  Since we were in Italy, I thought it only fitting that she receive a card that she would need to translate.  There was a whole section of Happy Birthday cards written in English very neatly organized with individual cards on a shelf right beside the Italian cards, but she would have to work to understand the card I got her, by god!  Wrong again.

The card:


The inside – blank….

Maybe that’s why none of them had the sticker informing the customer what was written on the inside…because there’s nothing there!

But I still managed to get her an Italian card:


There’s also some not-to-be-missed irony about the “Made in Italy” being in English…

Oh well, Buon Compleanno, Amore Mio!!

Italian word of the day: cioccolato – chocolate (because…there is no “because” with this one…it’s chocolate…you need to know how to say chocolate in every language)


One thought on “Buon Compleanno!

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