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A Dearth of Italian

Mamma mia!  This must be withdrawal.  Tuesday mornings are bringing a sense of purposelessness.  I find myself wandering aimlessly on Tuesday AM’s without direction.  No Italian lessons for a month now and two more weeks to go!  To say nothing of missing the stops, post lesson, at Alterra for a latte and a scone.  With “la nostra insegnante” (our teacher) and family in Italia for a vacation, I fear I am becoming a little rusty.  That actually would be an understatement. Vocabulary seems to have leaked out to who knows where.  Either that or they are in an unmarked folder somewhere, lost in my cranium, because I can’t recall even well-known “le parole” (words).  There’s nothing like weekly lessons to stay on top of it.  Who am I kidding?  I’m never “on top of it”, but still I love learning this language.  Today I put the Italian bag with dictionary, notes, flash cards and homework on the porch, front and center, where it can’t be forgotten or ignored.  This strategy seemed to work because today we took out our homework and completed a decent amount.  That’s the tricky part.  Remembering it!  Vieni a casa, Carmela.  Abbiamo bisogno di te.  Come home, Carmela.  We are in need of you!

AARP magazine says, “Learning is like Rogaine for the brain.”  Catchy, but true.  Keith L. Black, M.D., chair of neurosurgery at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in L.A., says, “When you challenge the brain, you increase the number of brain cells and the number of connections between those cells.”  He’s referring to new things, not something already in the repertoire.  A foreign language is probably one of the more difficult choices one can make.  Taking music lessons, especially piano lessons, is an amazingly brain-healthy activity, requiring the brain to do several tasks all at once.  Try knitting or quilting something for a grandchild.  Have a grandchild teach you some computer skills.  Kids are usually way more proficient.  There are so many possibilities and opportunities to delve into.

Get back to me.  What have you chosen and how is it going?  Your foray into something new will be a shining beacon for the rest of us.  LOLing!

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