It is hard. Harder than anything I've done in a really long time. I leave Italian class each day with a tension headache.
I have a theory that I've gotten dumber with each child I've given birth to. And the twins were a double whammy.
Italian class proves that theory.
I have a hard enough time with English. Truly. Sometimes I start a sentence and can't think of the word to complete it. So one of my children fills in the blanks. Often it's my three year olds.
So mastering a new language…yeah. It's tough.
I mess up a LOT. The other night I was out with friends for dinner. I wanted exactly what my friend ordered and so I told the waiter
"also to you."
What I meant to say was "me too". Yeah. You should have seen his face.
But here's the deal…I'm trying.
I'm putting myself out there. I am constantly putting myself in situations where I'm surrounded by Italian. I refuse to order meals in English. I have made friends with Italians and I'm perpetually learning, messing up, and asking endless questions.
You want to know something sad? I see a lot of not trying.
Many people just expect Italians to speak English. And I've seen frustration that they don't. Complaints. WHAT? IT'S ITALY! Learn the language.
You know what I overheard the other day?
"I'm not here to learn the customs and language. I'm here because I have to be."
Um. Ew? Wonder where the phrase ugly American comes from? Not okay.
I might butcher Italian, but I'm trying dammit!!! And I've noticed that if you try, people are nice for the most part.
I also smile a LOT. A big, manic, frozen my-brain-does-not-compute-what-you-are-saying panicked smile.
My favorite phrase?
Sono sempre confusa. I am always confused.
But my hope is that in the next 2 1/2 years I will become less and less confused.
I want to leave knowing some Italian. I want to leave just a little confused. I want to leave saying Sono un po' confusa.
I was not prepared for how terrifying it is to not be able to speak the common language. I wasn't prepared for how helpless and overwhelmed I felt when we moved here.
Have you ever tried to order a standing rib roast in another language? Using weird facial expressions, hand motions (pointing to YOUR ribs), and Google Translate? Yeah. Not so easy.
So bit by bit, little by little, SO SLOWLY and kind of surely…I'm learning.
Mi chiamo Stephanie.
Sono in Italia da sette mesi.
Abito a Vicenza.
Sono sposata, mio marito è Jimmy.
Ho quattro figlie…Harper ha sette anni, Sadie sei. Caterina e Lucia sono gemelle e hanno tre anni.
SONO SEMPRE CONFUSA.