How do you say ‘Help!’ in Italian?

These are the types of stories that I want to remember from our family travels. The hilarious and not so glamorous side of traveling with kids.

We were traveling last Christmas/New Year through Europe with my father in law. We had just gotten off the train in Milan and we were trying to find our hotel. I had L in the carrier on my back but I needed to use the bathroom so I headed for the nearest McDonalds. Feeling like a savvy traveler I peaked at a receipt on a table, got the code for the bathroom door and let myself in. Why do they even bother with these precautions?!

The bathroom stalls were the fully enclosed kind, about 3 Ft by 4 Ft maybe, with a floor to ceiling door. I managed to get myself with my 35 pound, 3 year old strapped to my back and a roller suitcase wedged into the stall and locked the door. It wasn’t until I tried to leave this coffin like room that I realized the door wouldn’t unlock. We were stuck!! I tried everything for a few moments, trying not to panic and scare the kiddo. But finally I realized, I would need some help. No idea how to say help in Italian I just started saying, Hello? Of course, there was no one else in the bathroom. So I started shouting, HELLO! HELP! HELP! After what felt like forever, finally a woman comes in and starts talking to me in Italian. I have no idea what she’s saying but I’m able to get across the fact I’m stuck. So she leaves, brings in several more people, someone finally speaks very broken English and we try to figure out how to open the door. They’re working on it from their side. I’m occasionally trying the knob to no avail. At this point, I’m envisioning how they’re going to get food to us from the little crack at the bottom of the door. I’m chatting with L, trying to keep him calm, singing songs, whatever it takes to make this seem like no big deal. Meanwhile, I’m sweating like a pig, stressing out, and silently freaking out!

After about 20 minutes they finally say, try the knob, and the door opens right up. Alleluia!! Cue the singing angels, we’re free! There are about 5 people on the other side of our stall, all looking at me like I’m an idiot that didn’t know how to turn a door knob. Then someone spots L on my back and starts saying, Bambino! Bambino! They didn’t know I had him with me. So they must have thought I was some nutter, talking to myself, who couldn’t work a door knob.

I walk out of the restaurant, past everyone staring at me because they’d heard all the commotion and stumble out into the street, nearly in tears from relief. There on the corner stands my husband, R, and father in law, asking what took us so long. I on the other hand was flabbergasted, they think I needed half an hour in the bathroom and didn’t check on me! Turns out, hubby did come into the restaurant, but since he couldn’t come into the ladies room, didn’t realize anything was amiss. Some calvary huh?!

 

Typical family photo of us. Kids on backs, long arm selfie from hubs.

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