(Said in a very thick Italian accent...)
"Save the planet!" (To remind us to recycle.)
"I am a very nice man." (He has the most dry, sarcastic sense of humor imaginable.)
"This is not a restaurant." (We're not to be served but are expected to help out with the cooking/cleaning up.)
"It's a free country!" (Can be used for any number of occasions; if you have plans for the night, "It's a free country!" If you want to eat some cookies, "It's a free country!")
"We are not in love. We are in business." (In reference to his lovely wife Bianca)
Just a few of the quips my host dad Nicola will throw out at us. A geology professor at the University of Pisa, a man of the south, and a doting father and husband, Nicola is quite the character. If I wanted a full Italian immersion experience and really get a sense of what Italians are like, Nicola was certainly the man to get to know. He offers no excuses for his sometimes outlandlishly aggressive and sarcastic behavior. And he gives no apologies for his occasional outbursts of frustration. The flying of Italian words and gestures that happens between him & his wife or daughter is a sight to see. And he is always full of opinions about this matter and that. Not gonna lie, it was a little hard to get used to at first. You wonder if he's really angry and the last thing you want to do is get in his way. But then... you get used to it. And you realize how harmless, how hilarious, and how heartwarming he really is. The love he showers on his wife and daughter is absolutely adorable. He definitely is not one for holding back on his emotions; negative or positive. I must say, it's been a very educational and enriching experience for me to witness and get to know a man who is so passionate, lively, curious, and really desires to help us come to love and appreciate Italy that much more.