Paul and Lucy Spadoni periodically live in Tuscany to explore Paul’s Italian roots, practice their Italian and enjoy “la dolce vita.” Paul is the author of "An American Family in Italy: Living La Dolce Vita without Permission," an Amazon bestseller.
All work is copyrighted and may not be reprinted without written permission from the author, who can be contacted at www.paulspadoni.com
Monday, March 26, 2012
Piano, piano. We understand Italian better at church, movie, family visit
UFO sighting: Claudio catches the Aerobe.
Sunday, March 25
Counting the three months we were here last year, we have
now spent almost five months in Italy. Our progress in learning Italian moves
along slowly, but this weekend we notice some advancement. At one time, I could
speak more Italian than I could understand; this is because I had done most of
my study in books and had little opportunity to hear rapidly spoken Italian.
Now that is reversed. I can understand more than I can speak. We can sense that
we have improved. Piano, piano,
Italian for slowly, slowly.
Last night we went to the movie John Carter in Montecatini and found that we understood everything
that was going on. Not every word or sentence—not by a long shot—but every plot
development and the gist of every conversation. Granted, it was primarily an
action and adventure movie with a predictable love story, but we still consider
this a milestone. Usually there are two or three places in a movie where Lucy
and I look at each other and ask, “What just happened? Did you understand that?”
Today we decide to go back to the Valdesian church in Lucca
that we attended last year. We are welcomed back by five or six people who
remember us from last year, including the pastor, Domenico, and his wife, Iole.
It is nice to be back in a familiar church, where everyone joins in singing
from the hymnal and follows along in their Bibles during the sermon. Our first
time here in February of 2011, I felt I understood about 30 percent of the
sermon, and about 36 percent the last Sunday we attended in late April. Today I
think I am up to around 45 percent, maybe even a little higher. It helps that
we are able to read the Bible text in English, so sometimes I am able to
anticipate what the pastor is going to say.
Another good catch by David.
Back in our apartment after church, we receive a delightful surprise
visit from my third cousin Claudio and his son David, who ride up on their
bikes around 3 p.m. We munch on dolce,
both American and Italian, and talk about our families and our plans for the
future. For the third time this weekend, we notice that our understanding has improved.
Of course, there are still many feelings we can’t express, but we feel relaxed
and content, because it is for times like this that we have come here—to be
able to reconnect with the Italian side of my family and my past. We give David
an Aerobe (kind of like a Frisbee) and the four of us play catch for about 10
minutes before they have to go. It is a great way to cap off a nearly perfect