During the decade that I lived in Turin, I never imagined that years later, after settling in Wales, I would be co-hosting a ‘Shwmae Su’mae Day‘ in that very same city with an Italian woman who is studying Welsh!
I first happened to meet Gisella on the Say Something in Welsh online forum a few months ago after noticing that she was from Turin. The year before, she had met up with one of the Say Something in Welsh employees, Deborah, who I had gotten to know quite well while on the SSIW Bwtcamp this past June.
Since my husband and I had already planned a trip to Turin in October to see family and friends, we thought it would be a good opportunity to tie in a meet-up with Gisella and celebrate Shwmae Su’mae Day “Italian-style” in the process!
The day started in a very Welsh fashion: dark grey clouds and buckets of rain streaming down from the sky. A break in the weather allowed us to catch the 66 bus into the centre of town and walk over to Pizzeria Fra Diavolo without getting too wet. Once there we found that Gisella and her friend Alessandra were already waiting for us.
To say that the pizza was fantastic would be an understatement. Both Gisella and I ordered a simple margherita with a dark crust made with vegetable charcoal. Before digging in, we held up the official Shwmae Su’mae poster and asked the bemused waitress to take a picture, lest we forget our reason for meeting up! 😉
We didn’t have the chance to speak much Welsh over lunch since Alessandra has never studied the language, but we did teach her how to say shwmae (hello) and hwyl (bye) – and she pronounced both very well!
After lunch, Alessandra went back to work while the three of us made our way to Gisella’s favourite gelateria, Mara dei Boschi. Now, I’ve had some good gelatos in my lifetime, but this one was right up there with the best – it was soft, creamy and absolutely bursting with flavour. At this point, we had switched over to Welsh and I was surprised how natural it felt despite being surrounded by Italian voices!
Our next stop was Via Garibaldi and the Juventus shop where we posed once again with our posters in front of a photo of Welsh football player Aaron Ramsey in the window. Our original (rather ambitious) plan was to get him to join us on the day but when that fell through, we settled for the second best option!
By that time, the rain had stopped, so we meandered our way slowly back home, passing through Valentino Park on the way and chatting in a mix of Welsh, Italian and English all the while. Passers-by must have thought we were a bit batty!
Next year, out hope is to hold another meet-up in Turin, hopefully with a few more people in attendance if we can organise the event in good time.
Would you come along to a Welsh meet-up in Italy? If so, let us know! 🙂