I mentioned in a previous blog post that I wanted to throw myself into The Italian Life after Christmas. These few weeks have been my warm-up; my opportunity to find my feet and slowly start to get to grips with the new culture. It’s been comforting knowing that I had a fortnight back home at the end of it; time to surround myself by my home comforts and loving family before coming back and starting again.
It’s a blessing and a curse really. It’s definitely stopped me trying certain things (“Oh you can just start that after Christmas”) and, I guess, breaking even further out of my comfort zone (although I already feel TOTALLY out of it).
But, as everyone keeps telling me, I should stop giving myself such a hard time. Let’s see it as perfect timing rather than anything else. I now can’t wait to come back to Firenze and start feeling less of a foreigner and more, well, Italian.
Most people here tend to automatically think I am Italian… that is, until I open my mouth. That’s when the faces drop disappointedly. That, that is what I want to change.
How am I going to do that? I mean, first of all I have the most Southern accent imaginable (a fact many of my Italian / International friends take great joy in reminding me). Even if WHEN I fully learn the language, surely my farmer voice will be the tell tale giveaway?
As with everything in life, I will learn god damn it. So, that brings us to my five steps to jump into The Italian Life.
Step 1: Learn the language.
Either through a tutor, a language school, a downloadable course or just my good old books… I WILL learn the language on a far deeper level than I currently possess. Not just because it makes life so much easier, but because it is a beautiful language. I love the idea of feeling this smooth, lyrical language just slip off my tongue. And I am definitely going to try and find an Italian conversational partner (totes getting all Eat Pray Love here). Yes, of course, the dream is that we then fall in love and have lots of Italian babies (lol jk – no babies fanx), but it would also be such a comfortable and authentic way to improve my skills in a natural context.
Step 2: Make more Italian friends.
Now I’m not QUITE sure how I’m going to do this… but I will find a way (this will of course have to follow on from Step 1). It’s very easy to just make English / English speaking friends here. They’re easier to find and you know conversation is going to be simple… there’s never going to be any blocks standing in the way. But what is the point in coming to live here and only mixing with those similar to you? Stupid, so so stupid (ps any tips on how to complete this step will be most welcome).
Step 3: Learn Italian cooking techniques.
Again, this will follow on from Step 2. I love cooking, and I think I’m pretty good at it. But what I really want is to learn the intricate techniques the Italians place into cooking their meals. The herbs they select, the amount of time they cook their pasta, the way they flavour their sauces. I want to get to the point where I can naturally concoct something that would be worthy of a traditional Italian household. No recipes, no instructions, just a natural instinct.
Step 4: Join some classes.
Now after the amount of food I will be eating in Step 3 I’m going to have to join some classes. This also will tie in nicely with Step 2 (hopefully). I’m a social person and I like being busy, but so far I’ve not really bothered to see what’s on offer out there in terms of fitness. At the top of my list is finding a really good Yoga class. And then after that I desperately want to start dancing again; ideally a new style that I’ve never experienced before. Yes yes yes.
Step 5: Know other cities as well as I know Firenze.
I can’t wait to explore the cities outside of Firenze; North and South. But I don’t want to go there as a tourist. I want to go and find the secret spots, live life as the locals do. I want to learn from every single city and every person I meet there.
And with these five
ambitious simple steps, I hope to break my way into the circle. I hope to get rid of that looming thought that I am pretending a little bit, and start to feel like a worthy part of the community.
Here’s to 2015!