I made great use of an extended time in the car today. Rather than listening to music on shuffle on my iPhone, I was repeating phrases such as Come si chiama? and A più tardi! in my best Italian accent. Truthfully, my accent couldn’t even be called fair, but I had so much fun trying out new words!
There is a reason I began playing with the Italian language today. My grandson Dayan and I are flying to Italy on May 24. We have booked our trip and suddenly, a long held dream is just a few months away from becoming reality. We are both beyond excited.
And although I know we will encounter many Italians who speak English, I want to at least be able to say a few phrases in the beautiful language of Italy. To do so is part of the experience, part of the fun.
I have a great little Italian phrase book with an accompanying CD. I popped the CD into my car’s player as I drove home from Kansas City. In moments a kind sounding man was guiding me through common words and phrases in Italian. I had four years of Spanish, way back in high school. I immediately recognized similarities between the two romance languages.
Single words, such as yes and hello, and short phrases, such as good morning, were easy to repeat in the pause that my friendly instructor provided. However, longer phrases left me stumbling around, uttering something unintelligible that sounded suspiciously like Klingon. I cracked myself up more than once.
And really, that’s what I want as I learn, fun and laughter.
Because, while I am serious about learning Italian, I am exploring, I am having a great time, I am playing. During this year of creativity, of making life more tender and art more robust, the invitation has been to play.
Rather than taking life too lightly, I am playing as a way of learning, and growing, and becoming. As a child, play was how I learned new skills. Pretending to own a store taught me how to merchandise, handle customers and make change, all valuable skills when I later worked in retail.
I am looking forward to spending time with Dayan next week. Taking the idea of play further, we will create more fun ways to learn about Italy and the language. For very soon we will be saying buon giorno – good morning in another country!