We are wrapping up classes here in Rome and, as in St. Paul, our St. Thomas finals are imminent. In order to survive and thrive in the Italian culture, our study abroad group was divided into two Italian classes. My class, headed by a sassy and confident Italian woman named Marta, had its final classroom session a week or so ago.
Marta loves music. Absolutely loves it. She loves to dance, too. As a consequence, she let us listen to a song sung in Italian at the end of every class, often repeating ones we had previously heard. We would translate the lyrics to English to understand what the song was about. (98.6 percent of Italian lyrics, even if the underlying music is happy-sounding, are tragic and dramatic.)
Here’s my resulting Italian playlist:
- “Tutta mia la cittá” by Giuliano Palma and the Bluebeaters
- “50 Mila” by Nina Zilli, featuring Giuliano Palma
- “La Prima Cosa Bella” by Malika Ayane
- “L’amore Verrá” by Nina Zilli
- “Miserere” by Pavarotti and Zucchero
On our last normal day of class, we listened to all of the songs as a kind of culminating celebration. When we started “L’amore Verrá” (the Italian version of “You Can’t Hurry Love” by the Supremes), Marta sang along and danced, swaying to the beat. We tapped our toes and sang along from our desks. Suddenly, my classmate Tim turned to me: “Lisa. I want to dance with Marta. Will you dance too?” After a moment’s thought, I replied, “Yeah. I will if you will.”
He thought one second more, stood up, pushed his chair back and stepped out into the aisle. I followed. Once we made our intentions clear, the class laughed. Then we worked on getting them out of the seats. After a little persuasion, everyone was up and dancing, to Marta’s sheer delight. I’m proud to say that we were the first of her American Italian classes where everyone danced. She was proud too, inviting us to a homemade gelato feast in return. We enjoyed that a couple of days later, meeting her family at her apartment.
I don’t know if I ever would have danced in a class before. I can’t imagine having a professor quite like Marta, or a group of classmates like my fellow Bernardians (as we call ourselves). It is one of my favorite memories from this semester, a semester not quite past, but very close to being so … .
My next Scroll, I’ll be stateside. See you then!