I’ve been putting my posts for Dungeon Prompts on the Not Just Sassy blog but today’s question and my answer to it felt more like a post for this blog so I’m changing it up. Today’s prompt:
To live is to learn and vice versa. Rather than constantly reflecting on the lessons of the past, let us have fun this week and share something that we’d like to learn in the future. The sky’s the limit in the direction you want to go with this. As an exercise you can start out with the sentence I’d really like to learn (fill in the blank), before I die. Now tell us about it.
While I could name a few things related to spiritual growth, the first things that came to mind were: (1) becoming fluent in French and Italian; and (2) learning more about cooking.
(1) My love affair with France and French began at 10 when one of the teachers at my school offered a special French class on Saturdays and I jumped at the opportunity. I have a good ear for accents and can sound very impressively French but I struggle with becoming fluent beyond the basics of travel, restaurants, shopping, etc. So, even after a summer program at the Sorbonne for foreigners to study French, I still lacked the ability to carry on much of a conversation.
When I traveled back to France a few times many years later, I used “Learn in Your Car French” tapes to refresh me. I actually learned more off those tapes about conversational French than I ever did in years of classes. I was also more relaxed about it, so, while not fluent, I managed to get by en francais much better.
My love affair with Italy came much later. I was interested in trying to visit and took a conversational Italian class at College of Marin around the time my mother and I were trying to organize a trip to Europe. I couldn’t come up with trips that offered what we wanted at a price we could afford in the places my mother preferred, but stumbled into the wonderful guide, Roberto Bechi, in Tuscany, with whom I was able to arrange exactly the kind of trip we wanted. We fell in love with Italy–well assisted by Roberto.
My small ability to speak Italian served us well enough on that and several subsequent journeys over there (sometimes also to France) but I have always longed to be more fluent and more able to chat with people in both languages. I’ve found immersion schools in Villefranche-sur-Mer (for French) and Todi, Umbria (for Italian) that cater to older clientele–unlike the majority, which serve mostly college students–and that’s my dream. The funds and the time to attend those programs. And, in spite of my lack of whatever the gene is that picks up language easily, to wind up with a reasonable degree of fluency.
(2) I’m already a fairly good cook, but I’ve found some cooking schools/classes/workshops in both France and Italy that I’d love to take, just to learn more and expand my horizons. And then to share what I’ve learned by feeding my friends.
I love to prepare a meal that leaves everyone feeling happy and nurtured. It’s amazing what an impact a well-prepared meal has for most people. There’s something about those happy smiles at the end of a really special meal. They look like they feel loved and cared for and I just love that.
Head on over to Sreejit’s blog to see more responses to this question.