A lot of people ask me how I ended up here. Let me just answers those questions off the bat:
Are you Italian?
Not at all.
Usually, once that question is out the way, I get asked why I am in Italy. So I am an Italian and English literature teacher by trade (and no, I do not care about proofreading my work as you have probably already discovered) and I studied the language. That is my PG, respectable response that I give at dinner tables with people I do not know. The only problem is that a barage of secondary questions tend to ensue.
The longer answer:
I studied Italian in high school and was not bad at it. I mean, for a child in the country in Australia, I was good. The reality is in Australia a lot of people do not care for a second language. When I say people, I refer to that swall wedge of our society that is white, typically of British heritage and thinks that “in Australia we already speak English” is a sufficient excuse for not giving a foreign language a go. To be fair, it is hard to stay motivated when no one at home speaks Italian and you come from a context in which it is unlikely you will ever need it. That said, I convinced my parents and the wallet of my grandparents to fund a student exchange for me to go to Italy when I was almost 16 at the end of Year 10. I spent two months of my summer holidays in Australia in the Italian winter in Puglia (The heel of the boot. Forget other parts of Italy, just go!). I lived with a beautiful family and it is there that I met my historic ex boyfriend of 7 years.
I cheekily tagged that last part on the end because that chapter is closed. I may write about part of it some time, but I clearly see my different experiences with Italy as connected in meaningful ways. That chapter, however, is off limits for now….I think.
Why be here now?
There is no singular answer to this question that would satisfy anyone. Simply, I felt the intrinsic need to be here again. I came back from a gap year teaching in London and galavanting around Europe. When I returned to work, the things that I loved about teaching were still there (I loved the students, my colleagues and my school in general), but I found that the things I was passionate about in teaching were not being nurtured. I was being thrown subjects and classes that I could teach with ease, but was not passionate about. The workload was insane too. Six different courses across three subjects (English, linguistics and Italian) had stretched me beyond measure.
On the personal front, I had also had a small heartbreak (another Italian boy. Yes. I am a cliche) and was simply wanting to live my passion again: Italian language, Italian culture, Italian adventures. I applied for this job in Rome as a teacher, originally, with this utterly ridiculous idea of the boy (don’t do it girls). That said, the moment I actually heard about the job, I knew it was something I had to do. The problem is, once you open a door of opportunity like this, you never close it. This was the opportunity to combine all my passions of education, language, and travel in one experience and I was beyond excited.
Perhaps it was a new leaf for many. For me, it was more like picking up an old book that you had abandoned long ago to find the bookmark in a new spot.
I am here in Rome. I love the job. I love my housemates. I love my newfound friends.
I love this city.
This experience is mine. I truly hope I can share my love of all things Italian with you guys.
Un bacione X