Let me preface this by saying that I’m not trying to live out some twisted “Eat Pray Love” fantasy or anything like that, but today I signed up for three weeks of daily Italian classes at Scuola Leonardo da Vinci. It’s time for me to step up my Italian. Plain & simple.
School starts at 8:30am on Monday when I report for my placement test. I first learned la bella lingua in high school, but never looked at it again after graduating until January 2009 when I began Saturday morning lessons at Parliamo Italiano in New York. For the most part, I have been studying somewhat consistently since then….if there was a trimester that for some reason or other I couldn’t enroll, I would do my best to keep it up on my own by reading, listening to music, watching movies, etc., but the challenge was always that I never had someone with whom I could speak Italian daily. I was convinced this would all change once I arrived in Italy.
At Identita Golose, I refused the translation headsets in favor of listening to everything in Italian. Understanding every last word during the chef presentations wasn’t as important as surrounding myself with the sound of the language, right? For the past six weeks or so, I have consistently listened to Radio Italia, watched RAI, reviewed grammar and read Italian daily. I frequent the same neighborhood places and attempt to strike up basic conversations with the staff, but despite my efforts, my Italian isn’t where it should be. I work in English and I love what I’m doing, but I fear that all of this inglese might be detrimental to my italiano. Instead of holing up with exercise books, I am determined to take all the vocab that’s inside my head somewhere– from pronomi to aggetivi to sostantivi & everything else–and put the congiuntivo, periodo ipotetico, passato remoto and all those daunting verb tenses & grammatical terms to use by forming MY OWN thoughts and sentences. I hope this slight immersion demolishes whatever is preventing me from progressing so that an avalanche of Italian spews out of my mouth. I will master this language, damn it, if it’s the last thing I do.