By: Gabriela Yareliz
I have been following the situation in Italy pretty closely. I watch little Italian news clips, and I watch some of my favorite quarantined Italian celebrities’ videos, thanks to Instagram stories and the live feature.
Today, while I was listening to a video, I realized that I understood every word in Italian. (I am gonna be a native speaker by the end of this quarantine). I remembered in high school that while I was studying French at school, I was determined to learn every language I could get my head around. Our high school library had a ratty, yellow Italian language book. It looked like an old book that had been donated to the school. I checked it out at the beginning of the school year, and I would go every couple of weeks to renew it.
The rule was you could renew unless someone had expressed interest in the book or a person was on some sort of waiting list. There was never a list for this book. (Of course). Finally, the librarian, who was also the cross country coach, looked at me and said, “You know what kid? No one wants this book but you. I will let you keep it until the end of the year.” (He was clearly tired of my biweekly renewal visits).
I turned that thing in on the last day of school. I read that book and worked through the workbook style exercises. Every chapter. That random investment that I made because it mattered to me now means that I can watch people live with no subtitles, and I can be a part of their world and they can be a part of mine.
That’s why I love languages so much. I want my world to include as many people as possible. I guess I say this to share that right now, you may be bored and quarantined. The truth is that you can use this time to learn something that can add value to your life and to the lives of others. If it matters to you, go for it. It doesn’t have to always be practical, but it should bring you joy.