The answer to this question is easy: you just have to get a book in Italian and start reading it. And what is the best way to get a book in Italian? WIN IT!
This at least what I did, in a situation of pure coincidence though.
So, I have been quite sick in the last days. You know, end of February, spring is coming and all this stuff. First my flatmate, then my girlfriend, so obviously I was next in line. Anyways, I came back to work this morning, still with some sore throat and a bit of running nose… Well, let’s just say that the day didn’t seem like a good one at all. While on break, I went on Facebook (which is the modern way of having a snack I guess) and I saw that my girlfriend is taking part in a contest where you can win a book by sharing a photo on your timeline. Another way was to share the same post on Twitter. So, since she doesn’t have Twitter and I do, I thought I’ll double her chances (I’m that nice, yes) and retweet it.
To put it short, I won and they are going to send me the book by post.
And only later I discovered that A. wanted to simply help promote this book, because one of her friends works for the publishing house that published it and he translated it from English. Now she’ll have to bear me while I read it, cause she will become my official translator from Italian to English when I have problems in understanding.
When you have a chance to learn a foreign language by interacting mostly with its native speakers (especially in their own country), you start to have those days, when you hear one particular word over and over again. And, of course, you don’t know or don’t remember what this word means. Also, if you’re lucky to be learning a more complex language than English, you hear all the possible versions of the word. You go through your day, maybe sitting in meetings, talking with people, listening to them and you keep forgetting to check this word’s meaning. Maybe you’re also too embarrassed to ask the people who use it. And it bugs you, oh it bugs you a lot.
It’s a bit like seeing the driving course cars all over the city when you’re in the driving course yourself. You keep hearing this word, it suddenly becomes the main one of every conversation, the key to understanding everything. And then, at the end of the day, you come back home and in your mind you repeat this word, cause you don’t want to forget it before checking in the dictionairy. Or, like me, after hearing the word one too many times, you finally decide to ask and only then you learn (like me) that:
I thought things are going to slightly change since that last post, but actually I have been literally flooded by work for almost two weeks now. During the day I work at BUCO or Camere d’Aria and during the afternoons/evenings I’m doing other projects. Hence, there was no real time to just sit back and write something on the blog for your entertainment.
In these last days I’m learning more and more Italian, mostly because I really have to. At work we rarely speak English, even we, the volunteers, to each other. It’s rather hilarious when you discover that you, a Polish girl to the core, with a lightness of a native speaker (yeah, I wish…) tell your co-volunteer, a French-speaking girl: Ci vediamo domani, ciao!
And then, through the art of observing people, I’m starting to unintentionally repeat gestures, manners of speech and those not exactly translatable half-words which seem to have a separate cult here. It’s not really possible to give examples of the last ones mentioned here, maybe I will make a video sometime, although I can already see with the eyes of my imagination all my Italian friends rolling on the floor watching it. Guys, for now you can only hope, I’ll get braver about recording myself speaking Italian.
However, as much as I’m inhaling the language, I’m still struggling a little bit with the life approach around here. I mean, I absolutely love the fact, that usually I start my workday at 10.00, but having a 2-hour long lunch break (at least) in the middle of the day, finishing everything at 17.00 or 18.00 and talking A LOT continues to confuse my mind. I guess it’s something one can get used to over time, but a person designed in Finland and made in Poland has all the rights to subconsciously resist.