Girls in the 'Hood

Two years ago, when we stayed in the same apartment we're in this year, there was a little girl (I think possibly the niece of the wine store guy) who would ride her bike up and down the streets and shyly say "Ciao" to us. This year, emboldened by support from her friends, she's very talkative. I ran into this little posse of girls last week who excitedly asked me if I was American, squealing when I said I was. I tried to convey where in the States I'm from, and finally settled on "near New York," to which they freaked out even more. I felt bad because I'm hardly from New York. Then they asked how old I was (?), and I found out they're twelve. The next thing they asked was, "One Direction?!?"  Then, "Justin Bieber?!?!"  I said, "Si, si!" Then one girl (the one on the right) asked which I liked better and, without hesitation, I responded "One Direction," to which she gave a high five and the other girl (the original friend, on the left) did the Italian gesture with the hand under the chin to her. Such vulgarity from the little "shy" girl!

I was struck by three things that day. The difference between a 10-year-old girl and a 12-year-old girl is a very big one. That gesture is not as crude in Italy as I thought it was. It just means "Get lost." And how ironic the first things they mentioned when they learned I was American were a Canadian singer, and a British boy band.  Go figure.

The girls waiting for a parade that comes down our street.