Shari from SoleYogaHolidays is our guest for the Ispirazione Series today where she shares her experience of learning Italian! I met Shari in Florence this winter and we bonded over Italian coffee and fresh juice. Shari takes Yoga and Wellness retreats across the world and lives in Florence where she also takes Yoga Classes. She is THE woman driving Sole Yoga Holidays. It is not short of commendable and super inspiring!! Whether you are an Italophile or not, you will love her style and spirit. And if you are planning to visit Italy this summer, she is offering a discount of 150 € to all Italophilia readers who book her Cinque Terre Retreat from June 17-23. All you have to do is use the CODE “IshitaCinque“.
Isn’t that amazing!! For now, let’s hear more from Shari!
Tell us a little about your decision to live in Italy and how it all started??
Like so many others before me (and many to follow), I came to Florence on a Semester abroad. The very first moment I stepped into Palazzo Vecchio with the glorious statues around me, I was hooked and I knew somehow someway I would return. Sure enough, the perfect time came years later when I found myself in search of something new in life. I was in San Francisco working long hours in Marketing. My pockets were full but my heart was empty. I decided it was now or never and made the move to my beloved Florence.
Did you know Italian beforehand??
Not really. I took two semesters in college, but it never really ‘stuck.’ I tried with Rosetta Stone and some workbooks before I had arrived, but it didn’t teach me more than just numbers and basic greetings.
How was your experience with Italian in the first few months?
In the first few months, it was incredibly challenging as well as frustrating!! There were so many moments that I knew the words, but they were somewhere hiding in the back of my brain and I couldn’t get them to come to my mouth fast enough! I do think some people are better than others in picking up foreign languages. My sister is one of them, for example. But, unfortunately I am not!
What tips would you give to readers who are learning Italian??
Mingle with the locals! Stay away from the center where most everyone speaks English. Go into a hardware store, or wine shop or shoe cobbler and chat with the owner. They love to help you with the language. Plus, you pick up phrases that you wouldn’t normally hear. Go to the movies. I love seeing English movies with Italian subtitles or vice versa. Finally, make the effort to make Italian friends. It is not easy, but it is so incredibly rewarding. I have a small group of Italian friends, that are now family to me. I took classes for one year at a language school. It was helpful for grammar and basics, but then I hired a tutor who is now my best friend!!
What an inspiring story, Shari! I am pumped to keep learning Italian this way.