Friday, September 23, 2011


Epiphany - a sudden realization about something. This will be a serious column and Seynour will not be apart of it.

I have been feeling terrible about not learning the language easily and have blamed the school, the language level of my class and about anything else I can blame. I met with my friend, who is the other student who is at my level and we talked a long time today. She realized that she is used to being quick at learning things and also blamed the class and other things for not "getting it". She is more verbal than I am regarding this and talked with the people at the school.

The bottom line is that she and I are some of the very rare people with no language background so courses seem too high level for us. We also are frustrated when we don't understand quickly enough or are unable to speak like some of the other students. She made me realize that the problem is with our expectations and "overachiever's syndrome". She said that they told her that executives have the highest level of dropping out at the school because of their expectations. I must admit I have thought a few times of quitting. Even in my lower level class I am the only one without either an Italian or other language background. Around the world most people learn 2 languages from an early age. I wish we did in the USA. Peope in my class this week have been very supportive and affirming that it takes time to process and then finally feel comfortable to speak.

I missed the last part of the class today talking with the director of the school and my friend about the similarities of the feelings my friend and I are having. My friend and I went out to lunch and talked more - over a 1/2 liter of wine (larger amount than we expected) and I feel that I have finally had a breakthrough in understanding what I am going through. It's not that I'm not going to continue to be frustrated with myself, but I feel I am beginning to understand myself better. Maybe this is what I needed to learn more than Italian when I came here. Luckily I have one more week of class and then 2 months to continue to learn to understand myself - and maybe even speak a little Italian!

Timing is everything. I was so lucky to meet my friend and have her go through and verbalize exactly what I was feeling. We are different people in many ways but also similar. I am thankful for the opportunity to get to learn Italian and learn more about myself. It is a rare opportunity I want to fully embrace.


  1. My son took three years of Spanish in high school and never learned anything. But when he went to work in a restaurant he learned the language from his co-workers. It just takes time and repetition. Hang in there!mary

  2. Mary, Thanks for the positive comments. I sure need them at times!

  3. Great realization. It's difficult when things don't come easily when you're used to just working hard and finding success that way. You are learning so much more than just a new language. I'm proud of you!