Music to my Ears

Six years ago I began learning Italian because I had nothing to do. It may sound like a lame excuse, but it was the truth. I had just moved to Mexico and needed to start doing something to settle down. The Italian school of the embassy was just a few blocks from where I lived, and, since I had always wanted to learn more languages, it seemed like an excellent idea. I began classes and the biggest challenge I faced at first was learning a language in a language that was not my native language. Although I had always spoken Spanish, most of my education had been in English and switching to Spanish to learn Italian was a bit complicated. I had to not only learn Italian vocabulary but also how to say verb, noun, pronoun, past, future, etc. in Spanish in order to be able to understand what I was learning. Thanks to my knack for languages, I was speaking, reading and understanding Italian very quickly. I spent a month in Venice polishing my Italian and reading as much as I could. After about 2 years, I was certified to teach and translate Italian.

I must admit that Italian wasn’t a language I had been eager to learn. I had always imagined myself speaking French; I have this strange fascination with France, the French and Paris, of course. Although a good French school was just as close to home as the Italian one, for some reason, I started with Italian. Six years later, I find myself wanting to speak and hear Italian. Perhaps it has a lot to do with the fact that my father-in-law is from Italy so I hear Italian often, I constantly eat Italian food and it is a language I KNOW. Once I warm up, I really enjoy speaking Italian.

Yesterday, while I was on the bus to my evening Dutch class, I overheard what was music to my ears. An Italian couple was seated behind me, the woman was upset about something and she was telling the man. In Italian, things are always told with a lot of emotion. I don’t really know what happened or why the woman was upset; I simply let the sounds and the emotions serenade my ears. It was five minutes of the best language symphony with curse words and anger and emotion and very fast talking. Once they left the bus, I realized what a treat it is for a language lover like me to live in Europe, where the sounds of so many languages can be heard in the train, on the bus, walking down the street and among friends.


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