Cinquanta giorni a Roma…50 days in Rome!

Posted on January 24, 2011


Dear Italian Course,

I have been in school now for 2 weeks and have 2 weeks to go. I realized and counted…50 days I have been here. This language is molto difficile…(very difficult…)! Sure, I can get by so far but I want to speak correctly with less mistakes sooner than later. I believe that the most difficult part about this language is that I am learning new sounds and learning a new way to speak in general. Italian is a very literal language and proper. I can’t just think of a sentence in english and then translate it using a dizionario! It does not make sense to do that. The more I am thinking about Italian the more I realize that English must be really hard to learn as a second language! We have so many words that are the same sound but spelled different! For example: flour/flower, sun/son, they/they’re/their, I/Eye, and eyes/ice…These are some that I realized due to speaking with the family and tried to help them understand the differences. It is my job to speak English at the house so I don’t practice having conversations (which is most important OUTSIDE the house) we repeat words and short phrases in both languages and a lot of the time I have to refer to my dizionario to figure out what is being said to me or how to express something to them.

For example today: Mario Brothers was forced upon me once again and I could not pass the final castle to end the game. Again. I passed the game last week. I have played each level and every castle so I get mad at myself when I can’t win! Vicere means “win” and Vinto means “won”. This took us about 10 minutes of arguing in Italian (Tommaso) and me in Enlglish that I could not “win” again because one of the buttons on the game was broken. Broken=Rotta!!! This word took another 7 minutes to look up, pronounce, and translate. Capito!? I kept repeating this and we used two dizionario to try to communicate this. Luckily, their Nana was there to help but her and I barely understand each other so it was a rough afternoon! With this button on the game is how you make a “big-jump” (the boys favorite thing to say when I make a big jump while playing! At least they understand and are speaking a little English!) with out this button…No big jump. Over and over I tell him and he gets really mad at me for not winning! I can’t play any more (non pui!) and he understands but asked me to “not give up!” (non rinunciare!) Mamma Mia!! Even when I speak Italian to him he doesn’t want to give up. Meanwhile Nana is still calling me Nancie whenever she speaks to the boys about me, which is most entertaining!! “Nancie cannot play anymore it is broken!” which is more like, “Nancie, no play, you, it broken!” I am happy that Nana tries to speak with me and teach me new words and she asks me how to say things in English. It is “pulling teeth” sometimes trying to get the boys to want to practice English. While we play I just continuely ask them, “come si dice… in english?” (how do you say ….in english” and that is how we practice all of our words. Phrases are the next level.

Earlier in the day L and I went to have a cheap lunch after class and got split up on the bus. I literally mean split up because I told her to get off the bus at the next stop and she got off and I was right behind her but the doors shut before I stepped off!! We looked at eachother and kept saying,” really!!?? really!??” but someone must have told the driver to let me off because a few moments later the bus slammed on the breaks and the door swung open! I prefer to walk because I like the exercise and rather be outside than on an extra dirty bus. Buses are so dirty it is unreal! L, on the other hand, would rather sit and wait twenty minutes for a bus than walk for 10! I really like not being by myself and having a friend here but we are complete opposites! I like to walk/she likes the bus. She loves soda/I hate soda. She speaks Spanish/I speak English. She has a boyfriend/I don’t have one. She smokes around me/ I shouldn’t join her. She has a Blackberry that she is alway on/I am never on my phone! You get the picture…BUT we do like to eat together and have similar tastes in food choice so that is the best thing about us. She is trying to convince me to keep taking the language courses once this class ends. There is another level that begins right after this one ends. Same price for 4 more weeks. I am considering it not only because this first class was more like “survival in Rome 101”  but I need more lessons and I know me…What if I get bored without a schedule once class ends? I know that one hears the word “bored” and “Rome” and thinks it is impossibile!! But for me, I need to stay busy, active and connected with people. Plus, this city is not cheap so there is only so much you can do every month on a budget!

Picking up the boys today at school was like a children’s fashion show! I realized that all the children are all very well dressed and have really nice shoes! New Balance, Puma, Nike and other nice sneakers all adorned these kids. This little three-year old girl had on a fancy D&G beanie,  there was an 11-year-old with Armani pants, and each wearing expensive coats. It is not inexpensive to live here, these parents must all be money-makers! It is just a different world here. I have to keep reminding myself of this. No comparisons please. I am in another place and I am still the same me. I still am deciding what I am doing here. I came to help take care of children, teach them some English and learn Italian but what else?? Soon as I figure that one out I will write it out and share it…

Usually I say that “I don’t know what I am doing until I am doing it” but since I have been here it is more like, “I don’t know what I am doing so I am doing this until I know!”


Posted in: When in Rome