There are a dozen students here from Italy for a two week class.  For the past few years the school in Albania has been working on an alliance with a Christian school in Italy; this visit is a sign that a new relationship is taking a big step forward.  

You would love these guys.

I have met about half of them and I know a few by name.  Salvatore seems to be the one I’m closest with, he and I have a similar ignorance to the other’s language.  It is fun to stumble through a conversation with Salvatore because he is so expressive.  He seems unaware of his mannerisms, or at least unaware that I would find them to be so entertaining.  I don’t know if you’ve ever had the chance to talk with someone from Naples, but you will understand the smile on my face while typing this if you ever have a chance to.  It is almost like his hands are delivering the sounds from his mouth.  Sharp movements of wrist and lots of circular motions are key.  

Step 1: Begin with an open hand just below your chin, fingers pointing up.  Elbow should be at about 20 degrees, tucked in close to your rib-cage.  

Step 2: Now, in a smooth motion bring your fingers together while drawing your hand down to the height of your navel; elbow ending at 90 degrees.  

Step 3: Complete the phrase “Ma che dici?” in the time it takes to perform this motion.  If you are having trouble with pronunciation, just think of the capital of Somalia.

Congratulations.  You have just told someone: “I don’t know what you are saying,” in Italian.

I really like the spirit of these men.  They have an almost black-and-white-television-era-Beatles vibe going for them.  What do you call hipsters without body-ink who don’t drink alcohol and seem to have no political agenda?