I come from a culturally mixed background.
In my house, you could always hear multiple languages expressed all around.
From Arabic to Spanish to English and now from time to time some Italian in the mix with a sprinkle of French.
Although my Arabic is extremely basic, I was able to pick up many words and phrases thanks to my parents speaking it around the house. I grew up loving the language and have always had a fond admiration for my dad every time he would speak it fluently with someone else.
Arabic is in my list of languages I would love to learn and yes I have a list.
I love languages.
I don’t really remember when I decided I wanted to learn other languages.
As a teen, I already spoke Spanish and was perfecting my English when my high school decided to provide Italian as a class.
My love for Italy and its language comes from my mom and her memories of my grandfather, an Italian I never had a chance to meet but through her stories my grandfather became a huge part of my life and fueled my want to immerse myself in the culture.
Besides you can’t say you’re an Italian citizen and not speak Italian! Come on! So I had to learn, I wanted to learn.
On my sophomore year, my high school opened an Italian 1 class. I was thrilled.
Unfortunately, I heard about it to late. I wrote to the teacher asking her to please accept me in her class, since the class was already full it was up to the teacher to accept me.
For a whole week, I kept going from the office to the teacher until finally I was enrolled in the class. I was thrilled. My mother was thrilled. I was going to learn Italian.
The class was better than I thought it would be it was challenging at times but I had an extraordinary teacher.
She managed somehow to keep tenth graders entertained and motivated to learn and get involved with the language.
She was hyper and quirky and she made us have fun with it.
We would play famous Italian songs and sing-a-long.
She made us want to learn and be in class and for that I am forever grateful.
I admired her ability to speak five languages it was something I always admired about her. I wanted to learn five languages.
Through our Italian classes, we developed a small cliqued where we would get together after school and practice our Italian.
We started an Italian club that had many goals and aspirations but I don’t really remember if we did much with it.
For the two years we did Italian, we participated in a contest where we competed against other schools.
We would memorize poems and even do skits in Italian.
It was amazing how the entire class would get involve with it, we were a team with a great teacher as a leader.
I think we, as students were surprised with how much we learn in such a short period of time and at the same time enjoying our activities in class.
We did two skits for those two years in the competition “Pinocchio” and “Romea e Julietto” our own parody of the Shakespeare love story.
We managed to get second place.
I managed to do two years of Italian in my high school until on the third year it was no longer available but I kept practicing what I knew.
After high school, I enrolled in a community college to keep learning and improving my Italian thanks to my mother pushing me to not forget what I had learned and so I managed to complete the four levels of Italian language.
I later decided to take a leap with French but that was short lived.
I managed to complete French 1 and 2 but was unable to keep up with it when I started the university, which I regret.
At one point, I had cousins from Germany visiting so I took a leap and started learning some German phrases on my own to be able to communicate with my cousins.
In 2012, I had the chance to enroll in a study abroad program to Italy. As soon as I heard about the possibility of being a part of the program, I started making the proper arrangements to make it happen. I was thrilled.
All images © 2000-2016 Antonella Nakfour.