“Vorrei imparare a parlare come la Cristina”

And so the AperiTreb – Aperitivi romagnoli are done. The five times went so fast. If you don’t know what Aperitivi romagnoli is, I invite you to take a look at one of my previous blog posts where I explain it in a maybe more scientific way. Briefly, it was a series of events à l’italiane, for young locals to teach them the basics of the local minority language Romagnolo.

Concerning my personal project about Romagnolo, I had so many ideas in the beginning and it was hard to choose the “right” ones or even the ones that would be realizable. And especially this one seemed something too fancy, complicated and certainly out of reach. When I think about my position as a volunteer in a foreign country, the almost non existent resources, no right connections and above all no knowledge at all in the language itself (and barely speaking Italian), you understand that from this point of view I consider it a miracle that the events actually were implemented. 

Maybe I don’t believe enough in my skills but for me it looks like a coincidence, a miracle, anyway something that I personally didn’t make happen. On the other hand, it was me who wrote article in the newspaper, which led to the contact of Alberto; it was me proposing to have a chat around a coffee at Bassi; it was me who said ‘yes’ to basically everything to bring the idea forward – even though I was scared as ****. After we got together our little group, it was me keeping it together and pushing people to work. I can’t pretend I did the most or even a lot, but I did my part as “the project manager” (OMG how it sounds fancy!) and taking care of social media, dissemination and advertising. 

From the first meeting with Alberto at the end of July till 11th of November we traveled a long road. But the collaborators became my people: the one with all the ideas, the one with connections and hands-on attitude, the one with actual knowledge about the language and the one providing the venue and me, the one keeping it all going on. Well, from now on I cannot keep it going on anymore, but it seems that they want to keep organizing the aperitivos even after I leave. Could it be that I have given the Faentinians a legacy that will keep contributing to their cultural and linguistic richness? Anyway, ”the course” was so well welcomed and popular, and there is a real demand to continue that it is almost impossible not to do it. It would be just insane to let it go when people are interested. The only thing I wish was different is that the municipality of Faenza would have given us the patronage, but unfortunately they never responded to our request, who knows why. I imagined this kind of event related to traditions and cultural heritage of the area would be interesting even for the municipality. We even put so much effort into preparing all the documents etc. for the request and so it feels like wasted time. Fortunately, in the end, we didn’t even need the patronage, but at least I had the experience of how to make the request and how it is to deal with authorities. 

Organizing the aperitivos has made me content; I was able to contribute to local society and in a way that was meaningful for me, that also reflected my own interests. They were a little success, I am happy to say. Every time we had from 15 to 21 participants which is more than any of us would have hoped for. I was also pleased to notice the same people returning time after time, meaning they liked the event and they found it useful. And they were not all friends or friends of friends, but people actually found us through the channels we used for advertising. 

At the end of the last event, we did a little feedback survey and the answers were very touching and encouraging. All of the respondents would like to continue the course, and especially in presence. Many were interested particularly in the grammar or in widening the vocabulary. I want share some of the comments with you:

Vorrei imparare a parlare come la Cristina. 🙂

(I would like to learn to speak like Cristina [the tutor]. 🙂 )

Il corso deve continuare.

(The course has to continue.)

Saresti interessato a continuare? – Assolutamente!!

(Would you like to continue? – Absolutely!!)

[Siete] super disponibili, super simpatici, super interessanti e disposti al confronto.

([You are] super helpful, super nice, super interesting and not afraid of a confrontation.)

With these glorious comments, I believe I can deservedly say we managed to make a little difference.

Your happy linguist,

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