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First Day of School

Italian Holiday

First Day of School

Lana Hawk

This morning was our first day of language school. I'm not going to lie, I was pretty pumped at the idea of going "back to school." I love to learn, always have and hopefully always will. As we began to plan for Italy, language school came up in conversation. Growing up, Adam learned a bit of Spanish (still knows quite a bit) and I took Japanese. I know, I know. Japanese? Why Japanese? It was unique and different and so I took it. I took 3 more semesters of Japanese in college because my one semester of Spanish at 7:30 in the morning hurt my brain. So I know a tiny bit of Japanese and a handful of words in other languages that may actually be useful to me in my life and travels.

In talking about our life together and priorities moving forward, both of us truly have a desire to learn another language and learn it well. It is humbling to travel around Europe and hear people easily flip in and out of multiple languages. It is amazing to me and honestly makes me a little jealous. I know we don't HAVE to learn a second language and we do take language classes in school, but most don't really learn the language. You have to be diligent, studious and truly immerse yourself in a language to learn it. Most of us, Adam and I included, don't have those opportunities on a daily basis. We aren't surrounded by a different culture and language when we are back in Denver. Even so, one of our priorities moving forward is to expand our brain a bit by trying to learn another language. Maybe not fluent, maybe not perfect, but to learn. Although Italian will most likely not be the goal once we return, it sure is fun to learn as much as we can while here!

After finding our language school, we entered to find a small operation. A couple small classrooms and a front desk area. We were handed a couple of workbooks and sent to room A to begin our lessons. We sat down around a small table with 5 other people in complete silence until our lesson began. Although the silence was a bit awkward for Adam, my introverted self found it normal and comforting. Pretty funny! Our teacher, Francesca, arrived a few minutes later and began right away. All in Italian. All, quick Italian. For the next two hours we learned some Italian basics including how to say "I am" and "my name". We shared where we were from before moving into learning masculine/feminine and articles. Can I just say, what the what? Total brain explosion. I have been working on the Duolingo app for a month or so leading up to the trip, but apparently not much of it stuck. I recognized some words and knew a few of the differences, but it was really helpful to see it all listed out in front of me. The very basic sorting, writing, identifying. It helped to see it. I am far enough removed from school to begin to understand how I learn best independent of an institution. I am a visual person and it helps to see as much as possible. See things side by side. English to Italian. Italian to English. Pictures. Anything visual and it helps me. I am also a furious notetaker because I am a nerd first, but also a bit on the OCD side and the movement of note taking helps me remember. The caveat is it HAS to be handwritten. Typing isn't the same. The teacher in me notices those things about myself.

The constant Italian was a bit overwhelming at first, but Francesca did a great job of explaining, answering questions, and using it as a tool. It helps to hear the language over and over to understand pronunciation, as well as sentence structure. We were in the beginner class, so luckily we weren't the only ones overwhelmed! Our class included classmates from Lebanon, Taiwan, China via San Francisco, Tajikistan, and another American. Crazy! The girl from Tajikistan said she knows no English. So she listened to complete gibberish as we often asked questions or clarified in English. The other-non Americans already speak at least 2 other languages, some 3. Quite the eclectic group. We head back tomorrow for day 2 and look forward to learning a bit more and sharing it with you soon!

Other things on our list of things to do: investigate the best spot to find a leather jacket and try all the best cafes. Thanks for reading and happy Monday!