La mia anima e italiana!
I am a Canadian woman with English/Irish heritage but my soul is Italian!
I seem to gravitate to everything Italian.
When my daughters were little, I would trek to Commercial Drive to buy them Italian shoes and socks at Kalena’s. For their birthdays I would buy them Saint Honore cakes at Fratelli’s. For a cheap and cheerful dinner, I would head over to Nick’s Spaghetti House.
My car is a Honda but the colour is Naples Gold.
I live in a townhouse complex called Sereno.
My walls are painted cappuccino.
I love Italian clothes, food and wine. I adore Italian frescos, opera and ruins. I think I even love Italian men but I don’t know for sure as I have never dated one!
But most of all, I love the Italian language and hopefully, in this life, I will be able to speak it or at least carry on a somewhat comprehensible conversation.
Which brings me to the Italian Cultural Centre as once again I strive to perfect a verb or two.
I had taken Italian lessons in White Rock years ago in preparation for a trip to Italy to celebrate my fiftieth birthday. I was able to converse freely albeit no doubt incorrectly as the words, “I like your mirrors” and “I am looking for a rich man” trickled off my tongue. For all I know I could have said I like your mother and I am looking for the nearest washroom but it all worked. I was able to communicate as well as amuse those poor unsuspecting Italians with whom I conversed. I am sure they appreciated my efforts as everyone was extremely friendly.
In anticipation of my next trip to Italy, I wanted to step it up a notch and that is how I came to enroll in Italian lessons at the Italian Cultural Centre with the wonderful Dr. Liana Sanmartino. I was willing to make the long journey in from White Rock in anticipation of learning more than just words. “What! You drove all the way from White Rock?” It’s not the ends of the earth for goodness sake but I digress!
I was confident I would experience a cultural experience as well and I have not been disappointed. My first such experience was in meeting Diego, the confident young lad at the reception desk. He greeted me warmly with his Armani model good looks as he happily took my money. I am sure I have no idea how much I gave him or which course I even signed up for!
On my way to the classroom, I was delighted to be surrounded by a cacophony of Italian voices as parents shuffled their bambini into their respective classrooms. You can hear the children’s laughter and singing through the walls. How delightful!
My teacher Liana greeted me in a friendly way and I was thrilled to hear her Italian accent. She is highly educated, knowledgeable and very organized which I appreciate. And before you could say Come stai, we were sitting in the bar sipping an espresso! And nibbling on a cream-filled cornetto. How civilized! And we are going to play bocce on our final day of classes! I am liking this place!
I am enjoying meeting my fellow students who share a similar love of all things Italian. In fact, some of us are going to the Drive after class tomorrow for a bite to eat and hopefully some of that infamous Italian vino!
I have met the affable Julia, the curator of the museum, who gave us a mini tour of the current exhibition. It was very informative as it gave me an appreciation of the Italian history in Vancouver. And then an Italian lady joined in on the conversation as if we were old friends.
An organization is as good as its leader and that is apparent in the way the School Administrator, Edda Onesti interacts with everyone she meets. She always has a smile on her face and is willing to answer any questions in her effervescent, unflappable way.
I am liking this experience at the Italian Cultural Centre. In fact, my Greek friend and I, who share the same birthdays, are planning to celebrate at Dario’s Ristorante.
If I could just get those wretched verbs figured out, it will have been a worthwhile experience for me. Even if I don’t, now that’s okay too as it has been great fun.
Now about those Italian men…I’ll have to ponder on that for a while longer.
I am English and Irish but la mia anima e italiana!