“C’era una volta…”  I began, to answer the question of Michele, our Roman professor for this semester.  I gathered to myself that if I started out with a pithy English idiom in Italian (“Once upon a time…”), I could fool everyone into thinking that I have a lot more comprehension than is true.

A few days ago I started a real-life Advanced Italian Conversation class at UCLA’s campus.   Why?  Because I’ve always wanted to be fluent in Italian.  And because Italian is the only language that has made me cry happy tears upon hearing it.  And because, for fun, I find myself strangely studying Italian poetry in translation.

I have this romantic notion that, no matter whom my future husband may be, that I’ll somehow raise my children to be fluent in Italian.

Lately I’ve been trying to take steps toward the things I desire, even if I cannot hold them yet.  For now, I will hold Italian verbs close to my heart, because they draw something gorgeous out of me.

For now, however, you will find me sweating profusely in my chair as I try to spend 2 hours only speaking Italian on Tuesday evenings.  A little sweat never hurt anyone.

If you care to know – my history of formally studying Italian is as follows:

1998 – Italian 101 – in Maryland

1999 – Italian 102 – in Rome, Italy

1999 – Italian 103 & 201 – back in Maryland

2006 – Italian 202 – Intensive in Florence, Italy

2014 – Italian 301 – Conversation only – Los Angeles

As I walked up the stairs to the Italian Culture Institute of Los Angeles, I kept thinking – continuare – this is a good thing to continue.  I sense that it is my inheritance as an individual to fearlessly walk towards difficult things, and language-learning is very difficult.  Humbling.  Sweat-inducing.  But…ah….this language!  It is oh so beautiful.


[ Holga by Matt Callow ]

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