I’m convinced that you can relive memories through your senses more accurately than flipping through a photo album.
When our kids are asked what they remember most about our summer trip to Italy, they often say the taste of rich gelato. More recently, my daughter mentions the memory and sound of bells chiming from church towers.
I know exactly what day she is remembering. We were staying in the hills just south of Florence taking a walk overlooking the olive trees surrounding our apartment.
A nearby church tower began chiming. Then another joined in from farther away. And another. They played off each other and continued for a good five or ten minutes. The bell chimes bounced off the distant hills and filled the air. This chorus of bells against a backdrop of silence stopped us in our tracks as we listened. When my husband and I lived in Italy, the sounds of church bells were an everyday occurrence – we hardly noticed some days. But on that day it was a beautiful and memorable shared experience between mother and daughter.
My daughter’s memory reminds me that I do miss the church bells. I don’t hear them at home. When we lived in Italy, the local town church chimed an unfogettable and beautiful song only on Sundays. So over the years, I’d often sit on our balcony high up on the hill and listen. I knew I could count on hearing it each week. My mother recognized the song as ”Ave Maria di Lourdes” because she listened to it as a child growing up in Germany. To confirm it was the song, I found a version on youtube. Take a listen and perhaps it will take you back to a country or time that is special to you.
Posted in Culture, europe, expat life, Family, Italy, music, Travel, Trips
Tagged ave maria di lourdes, italian church bells, Italy, travel, trips
We’re going back to Italy for the first time since we moved back. And I’m determined not to slip into English when we are there. But the reality is that after speaking Italian daily during my three years living there, it’s been many more years since I’ve been back in the States with few opportunities to keep it up. Time to dust off my Italian dictionary.
I’ve looked for better opportunities to keep it up. I speak with my Italian friends in town, but their English is so good, we end up slipping back into it in a matter of minutes. We forked out extra money for satellite connection to RAI Italian television but the cost kept going up, and we dropped it.The Italian language course through the local adult school is geared towards “travel Italian”, and I don’t feel I quite fit in. Having lived in Italy , I’m not exactly an Italian travel enthusiast, although I enthusiastically travel Italy. I’ve crossed over that never-to-return fence into Italian residency, and feel a sort of fake surrounded by American Chianti tasters and Tuscany villa renters, attending conversation classes and wine tasting nights with rose-colored glasses on. I could just see myself show up and blurt out real-life horror stories as I kill their dreams of happy, helpful, pasta-eating Italians.
But I have now found a wonderful outlet to get the Italian flowing again. Italian streaming radio. I even found a talk show on Milan’s Radio DeeJay with a host that has the accent from the area we lived. It’s like being back. While my spoken Italian is not getting much practice, my comprehension is fine tuned. I understand almost everything. I’m getting ready.
For fellow expats returned home, European travel and language lovers and those just curious, here are several online resources to get you started streaming European radio live to your house or Ipod.
Listen Live EU
Posted in Culture, europe, expat life, Italy, Language, Living abroad, music, Travel
Tagged culture, Italy, learning a foreign language, resources for streaming european radio stations, streaming radio, travel
My love of European funky-dance-until-you-drop-music had been replaced by the likes of Raffi’s Peanut Butter Sandwich and Willoughby Wallaby Woo. Until last weekend.
I had a transformational Easter weekend. Close to religious. I got my groove back.
It stemmed from a recent visit with our dear British friends. My girlfriend quizzed me on her favorite British music stars, and looked at me with a mix of shock and disbelief when I told her I recognized not one singer’s name. It appears that since we had last seen each other and while I was in the midst of raising babies, I had replaced my love of European funky-dance-until-you-drop-music with the likes of Raffi’s Peanut Butter Sandwich and Willoughby Wallaby Woo. And I don’t even know when or how it happened.
Now, I don’t claim to be on top of pop culture — international or here in the States – but to my credit, I’ve been to Milan’s Loolapaloosa disco - more than once, and I have a CD collection that includes British pop Dido and Morcheeba. So I get it. But somewhere in between Kindermusik and Music Together I apparently got struck with amnesia and forgot I loved European – mainly British – pop, even to the point of cheesy.
So my friend introduced me to Lily Allen last week. (Many of you probably know who she is, but remember, I’ve been living in a self-imposed hole.) I’ve known of her all of seven days and have downloaded pandora to my laptop, hooked to the kitchen speakers, and listen to my favorites from her album “It’s not me, it’s you.”
I don’t want to do the dishes. Lily Allen goes on. The kids are screaming at each other. Lily Allen goes on (except # 8 – and remember, my children aren’t the age where they actually listen to the words yet, otherwise Lily Allen won’t be going on). I’ve found a part of me again that had gone missing somewhere between Italy and here, and I’m dancing around the kitchen.
Makes me think about all the things that we forget when we return from a a trip or time spent abroad. What’s gone missing for you?