E’ quello che abbiamo chiesto ai nostri studenti di Italiano di livello B2, sperando che loro notassero aspetti della cultura italiana che noi nativi, anestetizzati dalla routine culturale, non siamo più in grado di evidenziare. Le risposte, a volte, sono sorprendenti! 😀
I know right now that you are probably feeling a huge range of emotions that make you both want to cry, vomit, and also giggle. You cant wait to start anew, reluctant to leave the life you already have, and hesitant to even try getting down that god forsaken language. But trust me the emotional roller coaster hasn’t even begun yet.
There are things you need to think about before you step on that plane, things that we both know you haven’t quite considered yet. You don’t want to admit it but you are really only thinking about the positives, and you need to know that despite how happy your daydreams are, reality is rarely so kind.
You haven’t considered that you will be alone. You don’t even know how much you are going to miss your friends. I mean, come on, this isn’t like moving to a different state. You will try to chat constantly and you will wait impatiently for them to wake up, and every time you have to hang up because you need sleep, your heart is going to break a little more. You aren’t going to see your best friend and despite how much you guys swear to stay in touch, you mostly only talk through Facebook posts now. You’ll probably see some of your family at Christmas, but not all of them. Basically, prepare to be lonely. For a while.
You don’t even understand how hard a language barrier is until you’re the one trying to break through it. Everything seems so much easier when everyone you know speaks the same language you do. You think “Oh everyone says I’ll pick it up quickly, I’ll be fine!” NO. You are going to wish that you had studied a lot more, and even now I am still tripping over sentences, and forgetting words that I have been taught a hundred times. And those looks, those annoyed eye rolls and the exasperated sighs of store clerks will make you feel terrible. You chose this path; now put effort into the language.
Yes, there are going to be days when you want to just drop everything and run onto a plane that will take you back. Yes, there are going to be hard days when you feel like nothing you do is going right and moving here was a terrible, terrible mistake. You can’t do it though. You can’t fly home and take the easy route. We both know that you are coming here, taking the hard way, because you know that the benefits are worth so much more then those horrible times. Here, I’ll even give you a little sneak peek for what to expect.
You are going to be fine. You are going to a university here and you will have wonderful friends who care about you. You’ll work somewhere you love, doing what you love, and that it self is fantastic. You’ll find that new friends are easier to make now then when you were in college. Yes your brothers and sisters aren’t exactly going to be able to visit you every holiday, but you’ll soon find that family doesn’t mean you share the same blood. Yes you do drift apart from the friends you had back home, but once you go back to visit, everyone will welcome you with open arms, because real friendship doesn’t end at the shore. What I’m basically trying to say is, take a breathe and calm down. Yes its hard to be away from the people you love, but if that love is real, then you have nothing to worry about.
So stop anxiously pacing about near your folded up clothes and your new suite case. This journey may have its downs (like seriously you will be so down, you’ll basically be underground) but those ups are so worth it, you just might touch the sky. And seriously, start studying Italian. I’m not kidding about that.
In Italian, the rich and well documented history of its predecessor, Latin, allows us to track down the origin of many commonly used idioms. Of course you need to know at least the basics of roman history to be aware of what you’re talking about when you name Tizio, Caio e Sempronio or you accuse someone to rest on his laurels (dormire sugli allori) but, hey, that’s why we are here!
Another chapter of our From students to students! Today Mariko, a Japanese Rome enthusiast, describes the Eternal City in her own, very poetic, words.