Talk Italy!


I paid the translator of my books, Footprints of the Holy Spirit and Fingerprints of the Holy Spirit with an airline ticket to Milan.  The translator is my son, Timothy Brown.  Even if he wasn’t my son, I would want Tim translating my books.  He’s that good.  Tim graduated with honors from UNC Chapel Hill in Italian studies.  He has been spending his time here looking for work.  Summer is not the best time of year to find work in Italy, but he has had some success.

Tim has been translating articles for an Italian newspaper: Il Sole di 24 Ore (that link will take you to the first article he translated for them).  In addition to translation, Tim can teach either Italian or English.  He put in an application with a local coffee bar to work as a barista and part of his stated duties would be to teach English to the owner.  His application, though invited has never been responded to.  This is something I’ve noticed about Italy.  Often people have a desire to know English, but are not willing to actually learn it.  I suspect that the actual prospect of having to learn English has prevented the owner from hiring Tim even as an experienced barista.

In any case, I have been enjoying Tim’s company immensely.  We go on daily walks in the morning before it gets hot.  Usually there are a few errands to do, which dictate the direction of our morning adventure.  And along the way, we talk about everything and nothing and important stuff and nonsense.  Sometimes we fall into a comfortable silence, just enjoying the day in each other’s company.

Today’s outing was typical in many ways.  We made our first stop at the tailor’s, and then on to the print shop, talking and laughing the whole way.  At one point a man on a bicycle passed us on the sidewalk, turned and said over his shoulder: “Talk Italy!”  I have no idea how to respond, so I didn’t[1].  Again, it’s the Italian love-hate relationship with English.

Tim and I were on our way to Willy’s for an American-style hamburger.  It was indeed the most authentic (and therefore the best) hamburger I’ve had in Milan[2].  I love the whole “Italian as an American” experience.  I’ve always said that the places that most fascinate me are those little corners where languages and cultures overlap.  My favorites are Bolzano, Trieste, and Aosta in Italy and Bellinzona, Lugano, Basel, and Geneva in Switzerland.  Europe is full of these places, but of course, I am most familiar with Italy and especially these places that are no more than a few hours from home.

The day ended on a high note when Tim got a job tutoring English.  This is with my friend, Clarissa, who had contacted me for English lessons.  The three of us talked about how to proceed, and I suggested that Clarissa could take lessons from Tim.  She agreed, and they set an appointment to start tomorrow.  God is good!

[1] In truth, I had misheard and thought he said “Cock Italy,” which makes even less sense.

[2] Of course I’m excluding McDonald’s and Burger King, since they are American fast food chains.

One thought on “Talk Italy!

  1. Pingback: Summer | Walking By Faith in Europe

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