by Katie Best (Loyola College)
“UN CAPPUCCINO PER FAVORE." This was one of the few statements that I knew during my first week in the little town of Cagli. As I spoke these words I was immediately proud of myself and my ability to use what I learned in the classroom and apply it to real life in this small Italian town. I stood at the counter waiting for my cappuccino, as the man spoke to me in words foreign to my ears. He finally gave up, and turned around to serve another customer. I was given my cappuccino and preceded to the cash register at the end of the bar. He stared at me, and I stared back, I repeated “un cappuccino.” I wanted to pay and didn’t understand why this man was giving me such a hard time. Didn’t he want my money? What else was I supposed to do? I don’t speak your language!

This situation over the past two weeks has happened to me over several occasions. Finally, I began to understand more and more Italian, and realized that here in Italy I was allowed to pay after I finished what I had ordered. Imagine ordering a coffee at Starbucks, sitting down at their tables for hours, then going back up to the register and saying “Hello, I had one small coffee; I would like to pay now.”

Here, in Cagli, and I imagine all of Italy, it is implied that when one person goes to a café they trust that after you are done you will then tell them with complete honesty what you ordered so that you could pay. Italians base their relationships with one another on trust; they all trust each other to be fair and to help one another. Community is defined in a whole new way within the Italian culture. Shouldn’t everyone share this trust with one another? What made our world today so horrible that I shouldn’t be able to order a coffee, drink it, and then pay?

After two weeks in Italy I have learned how to enjoy a cappuccino and why shouldn’t we all be able to enjoy a cappuccino? Life happens once, why shouldn’t we stop and enjoy it? Honesty is truly the best policy, Italians seem to trust in it and I hope that one day in our America society that we too can trust that those would be honest in their everyday routines.