Crazy in Love with the Italian Language

Apr 8, 2010


Una Studentessa Matta 

 A Crazy Student 


Today’s guest blog is by Melissa Muldoon (above), a graphic designer in San Francisco and mother to three boys and a beagle. Like me, Melissa, although senza una goccia di sangue italiano (without a drop of Italian blood), is pazzamente innamorata (madly in love) with the Italian language. I thought you would enjoy meeting her and hearing her story: 

I was first introduced to Italy when I was in college. Like many art history students, I spent a semester in Florence, living with an Italian family and traveling about the country. At the time la mia intenzione (my intention) was NOT to study Italian. I was un’artista dopo tutto (an artist after all)! Io comunicavo con l’olio su tela (I communicated with oils on canvas). 

Infatti (in fact, as a matter of fact) the first thing I did when I got home was buttare via (throw away) my Italian dictionary. I never thought I would need it again!
Come mi sbagliavo (How wrong I was)! 

After the birth of my third child and with a successful graphic design career under my belt, I received a delightful book about living in Italy from my mother. Beautiful memories of Italia and Firenze were reawakened in me, and I began to sognare l’Italia (to dream about Italy). The book was sprinkled with lovely Italian words, and they commenced a girarmi nella testa (to roll around in my head) and made me regret not learning the language while I lived in Italy. 

Shortly thereafter, I marched out to the local bookstore and bought an armful of Italian grammar books and tapes, prepared to affrontare tutta la lingua (take on the entire language) by myself. Da allora (from that day forward), I have spent hours each day masticando (chewing) on grammar and bevendo (drinking) in delicious words like stuzzicare (tantalize), accartocciarsi (wrinkle up), pungiglione (sting), guinzaglio (dog leash) and scombussolare (discombobulate). 

I read so many books in Italian that my husband mi prende in giro (teases me) when he catches me reading something in English. I watch Italian films and listen to music on the Internet. I converse with friends and tutors on Skype, form chat groups, and when I can’t travel to Italy, attraverso il mare (I cross the ocean) by reading blogs of those who do. 

Learning Italian has enriched my life in countless ways and brought friends into my world that I never would have met were it not for the boundless, crazy passion I have for la bella lingua.
Vi lascio con un pensierino carino (I leave you with a lovely little thought): “She thought she could, so she did!” 

I took that message to heart and applied it to my Italian. Pensavo che fosse possibile imparare la lingua, e così l’ho fatto…e continuo così’ (I thought I could learn the language, and so I did… and I continue to do so)!
I write a blog in Italian called “Diario di una Studentessa Matta (Diary of a Crazy Student). Come join me on my adventure to become Italian through the language! 

Brava, Melissa, una gemella anima (a kindred spirit)!  Why become matto per l'italiano (crazy for Italian). Stay tuned for "Ten Reasons to Fall in Love with Italian!"

Dianne Hales is author of La Bella Lingua: My Love Affair with Italian, the World's Most Enchanting Language

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La Bella Lingua