A Trip Down Memory Lane
Growing up in London, as I did, it was never very difficult to get to most countries on “The Continent” i.e. in the rest of Europe.
One summer when I was 18, a dear friend of mine who was half Italian, invited me to drive with her to Italy. She had a little mini and she suggested we take off in that little mini and go first to her grandmother’s summer home in the north of Italy and then spend the summer touring around Italy from north to south and back again.
I was excited by the thought of a journey such as this and so accepted, without any reservation. My darling parents went along with the idea and sent us off with much love.
We had a wonderful time touring around Italy, seeing that fabulous country with all of its history, its colorful people, its yummy food and its harmonious-to-the-ear language. We spent a lot of time, just the two of us, travelling around. Maggie spoke Italian like a bird and so that got us around and got everything we needed BUT, as for me ….. I did not know a word of Italian and so it did mean that besides my dear friend Maggie, I was not able to have a conversation with anyone. She, on the other hand, would run into people she knew and carry on great conversations, full of laughter and I would be left wondering what they were saying. She would try to translate for me but that gets in the way of any kind of meaningful chat. At times, it felt very lonely.
In fact, about 6 weeks into the trip, it was very lonely and on my regular call home it was hard for my father to understand what I was saying through the tears! He eventually got the picture – I was feeling so separated and alone. My dear father, without letting a second pass, said immediately, “Well, why don’t you just fly home?” As his words sunk in, as much as they warmed my heart, I realized that I could not do that! I could not just leave Maggie in Italy to drive all the way back to London by herself. I would tough this one out.
Well, with the tears behind me and realization that there was no way that I could fly home without Maggie, it was as if I woke up the next morning being able to speak Italian! It was quite amazing. I had been immersed in the language for weeks not knowing that anything was going in but that magnificent language was going in! It was quite fabulous! I knew I could communicate and from that time forward, I did! My Italian simply got better and better.
What a lesson that has been for me. Perseverance certainly paid off! It was as if, once I let go of “going home and speaking English” being an option, it made room in my thought for me to enjoy where I was and learn from it!
And it was a joyous time! Many wonderful memories were made that summer and many more trips to Italy ensued adding to the abundance in my life!