One great thing about being in Italy versus America for me was that everyone could pronounce my name correctly. Both my names: Ariana Crisafulli. For some reason, a lot of people in the states like to pronounce Ariana air-iana, turning my lovely Italian name into a southern drawl. Really it's supposed to be pronounced more like a pirate, arrrr-iana.
But my last name is worse. Americans trip and stumble all over my last name (and I suppose I can't blame them.) Their favorite thing to do is add a t after the s, making it cristafulli. Worse, many times my fellow Americans will think my last name is both my first and last as in Krista Fulli.
Example when interviewing for job:
Interviewer: Hi, what's your last name?
Interviewer: Umm I said LAST name but okayyy (begins to look through list for last name Fulli.)
Me: That is my last name. *finishes sentence in head: you d-bag.*
But in Italy I did not have these problems. Italians would see my name and not only know how to pronounce and spell both my first and last, but they would get excited to see an Italian name. Not to mention the fact that they made both of my names sound beautiful and dignified. The syllables of my name were simply lyrics in the song that is the Italian language. Basically I was overjoyed.
Then one day I had a problem with a ticket I bought to Amsterdam. No confirmation showed up in my e-mail so I had to call customer service for the airline I bought it from. As it so happened, it was an Italian airline. No problem, I thought. They speak English.
The man had a thick Italian accent and with it he asked for my last name. Pff this is easy, I thought. He's Italian, he'll get it. Of course I forgot that I'm actually American so no matter how beautifully Italians say my name, I still say it with my native American accent.
He was confused.
"Say it again please," he asked politely. I said it again. He couldn't get it.
"Spell it please," he asked politely again. I tried to spell it but the Italian alphabet is different than the English one. is an i an e or an i? ahhh! this was turning into a nightmare of accents!
After a few minutes of this, I knew what had to be done.
I sucked in air, held it there, and exhaled it with the best imition of Italian accent I could do: CREEZAFOOOOOOLLEE!!! I bellowed (because Italians say everything loudly.) I even gestured with my hand as if conducting the orchestra of the Italian language itself. I knew he couldn't see but I was sure it would help with the accent.
"OHHH!" he shouted with the joy of recognition. "Okay I find you now."