In those first few days of Italian 101, I fell head over heels with this new language. I loved the musicality of it, how it rolled off your tongue. I loved that the first rule of the Italian language is “make it sound beautiful” – and how they continuously broke their own “lesser” grammatical rules in order to obey that higher rule. And I particularly loved how everything you said sounded romantic. Everything.
Through the language, I began to learn the culture, the people, the food. Everyday there was something new, something amazing. At the end of the semester there was no real thought. I had to continue. There was no real choice, because this was something that I desperately wanted to master.
It was during that second semester that my fate was sealed.
There I was, sitting in my required “weekly hour conversation” with an advanced Italian student, soaking up his knowledge and experience with the country I was just beginning to discover, when it came out of my mouth. Accompanied, no doubt, with a pathetically wistful sigh.
“I wish I could go to Italy.”
My partner looked at me with his devastatingly handsome eyes (Ok, I admit it. The weekly conversations were much more pleasant considering I had a huge crush on my partner) and asked, quite simply, “Why don’t you?”
That was easy. While I was fortunate to have some scholarships and a part-time job to get me through my academic adventures, I was still a poor college student. And though I didn’t have a lot of travel experience (and had never been out of the country), I was smart enough to know that it cost money. Money that I did not have to spare. At least not if I wanted to eat for the rest of the semester.
Again, those eyes. And those simple questions.
“So, why don’t you get a job?”
Wait, what? Get a job? In Italy? You can DO that?
I laughed it off in the moment. Sure, can you imagine? Me. Getting a job. In Italy. It seemed utterly ridiculous. I mean, how could I possibly do such a thing? Where would I even begin? And yet, the idea had latched into my brain, and I couldn’t stop thinking about it. A plan started to form. Suddenly, what had once seemed ridiculous began to look like a real possibility.
Why don’t I get a job?