The 'Word of the Day' is 'fantasma'

One of the best parts about traveling internationally is being able to learn words that you may have never thought to learn while studying a foreign language stateside. One such example during my time in Italy came in the form of ghost stories on an empty bus.

During the second day of Terra Madre 2015, I woke up early, got dressed, ate a ridiculously “healthy” breakfast of cured meats and pastries, then ventured onto to the bus in preparation for the 20 minute trip from our hotel in Rivoli to the Oval Lingotto in Torino.

While sitting alone on the bus writing in my notebook, the driver started pointing at my Darth Vader sweater and exclaiming “Fantasma!” With my interests piqued by this strange word that I didn’t quite know the meaning of, my trusty pocket Italian-English dictionary and I scooted up to converse with him and see what he had to say.

Through a hodgepodge conversation of Italian, French and very little English, I learned that he had used his cell phone to photograph and film several “ghosts” living in the forest surrounding his vacation home. Proudly, this gray-haired gentleman pulled a crinkled photograph from his jacket pocket before scrolling through photos on his phone showing me the faces of all of these “ghosts” living amongst the trees, rock walls and hills surrounding his house. At one point, with a deepened level of his voice he pointed at a shadowy image in a video declaring it to be the “diavolo.”

Having learned the words for forest (foresta), haunted (frequentato), ghost (fantasma), devil (diavolo), angel (angelo), God (dio), and spirit (spirito), I slowly retreated back to my seat to continue writing, equipped with a tiny arsenal of new Italian words.

How all of this related to my nerdy Star Wars sweater and Luke Skywalker’s father, I may never know.

Photo Credit: Amy Ratcliffe at Nerd Approved, Jan. 10, 2013.
See more of this amazing cartoon strip on the Nerd Approved website..


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