It still amazes me that I don’t know how to speak Italian considering my mother was born in Italy and is completely fluent. Even more so because I lived with my grandmother and she barely spoke English for all of her 35 years in America. I have often asked my mother why she did not teach her children how to speak her heritage language at an age when it would have been so much easier for us to learn. She responded that when the family arrived to the United States on “the boat” they wanted so desperately to just be American and fit in. At that time, she was embarassed by her Italian culture, especially when she started 1st grade without speaking a lick of English. She did not want me to go through what she thought would be the same sort of embarassement. Oh, if hindsight was 20/20. Now, my whole family yearns for the Italian tradition that we once had; large Sunday lunches, homemade Italian Easter bread, afternoon siestas & vino with every meal (oh, I still do that one!).
I feel that learning Italian will somehow bring me closer to my grandmother who has since passed on, a way of better understanding her life and traditions. Possibly a way of carrying on these customs to honor her memory. I know it sounds alittle kooky, but who really can say how the mind works? Plus it would be nice to speak the language while I travel through the Tuscan countryside someday and then be able to possible write about the experience in Italian on this travel blog.
So far, I have taken 1 year of college Italian courses, did online study, read numerous books and listened to those redundant audio cds. Though I believe all have helped, none have enabled me to have a fluent conversation. Next on the list will be Rosetta Stone (the standard in language cds) and then living in Italy for at least 3 months.
I will speak Italian someday, it is on the Bucket List, I just hope that at that time there will be someone to talk to.