Alife was a small town outside of Naples, Italy that was destroyed in an earthquake in the mid-1970’s. It was also the childhood home of my Grandfather. My sister and I had heard the stories; we’d seen the pictures. Now that we are adults, we decided it is time to see Italy up close and personal. We booked a trip to Rome. We knew in order to do things right, we would need to speak Italian so we each purchased Rosetta Stone Italian Levels 1-3. Then we were off!
On the plane ride from Frankfurt to Rome we were seated next to an older German gentleman in liederhosen. He started to talk to us but neither my sister nor I speak German. He asked if we spoke Italian. We enthusiastically said “Si!” and chatted away the plane ride. While in Rome, we spent some time at the ancient ruins and other tourist locations. After visiting the Colosseum and Roman Forum, I realized we were discovering more than our family history. The lifestyles of the Romans and all of their apparent mannerisms and charms stem back thousands of years. We started walking around the small neighborhoods around Rome, chatting with people we passed. Although the people we ran into undoubtedly knew we were not native to Italy, they were wonderful in taking time to talk about their villages, lifestyle and families. They reminded us so much of our Grandpa Mike. They cherish family, love music and eat meals with laughter and gusto!
A few months later I took a business trip to India, the last place I expected to use my newly acquired Italian skills. One Sunday I was sitting by myself in the hotel lobby, being ignored by the male staff, when I heard “Ciao, Maria!”. Two women came in and sat across from me animatedly talking in Italian. I asked where they were visiting from. It turned out they were on a business trip from Naples. We talked all afternoon. Since learning Italian, I’ve taken my dream trip, spoken to people in 3 different countries and realized it is indeed a small world!