Learning a new language becomes interesting when you have inspiring people around. My friend Linda Martinez, who runs the Roman hostel “The Beehive”, learnt Italian when she moved to Rome two decades ago. She shares her story of learning Italian and tells us more about her hostel! Welcome, Linda!
Ciao Linda! Welcome! Tell us how The Beehive started??
Hi everyone! My husband Steve and I got married in September 1998 after a long and tumultuous relationship. Part of our “master plan” had always been to leave the US and live internationally, but we just didn’t know how we would go about doing it or what we would do and so we came up with a lot of half-baked ideas. We spent part of our honeymoon in Rome and stayed at a hotel/hostel that Steve used to work at a few years before. That’s when the idea came to us of creating our own hostel in Rome. And 8 months later we opened the doors to The Beehive on 11 May 1999.
Before we move further I have to say that both Linda and Steve have a passion for community building, environmental friendly and ecological goods. The two also support all things organic!
Did you know Italian beforehand?? How was your experience learning in the first few months??
I had taken Italian for 2 semesters at Santa Monica Community College a few years before we moved to Italy, but sadly had not retained any of it. However, my family is Puertorican and Spanish was my first language and since Italian and Spanish are very similar, I felt comfortable in Italy despite not knowing the language.
I took a two week course at Torre di Babele at its former location on Via Bixio in Rome, but the course was frustrating as it was filled with a group of students who had no interest in learning the language (have no idea why they were there!) and they were very disruptive.
After that course, I came into contact with an Italian language tutor, and now good friend, Andrea Viviani, who tutored me privately for a while. At that point though, I was a new mother and so my Italian language learning took a backseat. I’ve learned the rest of my Italian on my own which I have to say, probably isn’t the most effective way to learn a language.
That must be tough.. Any tips you’d particularly like to share with the readers learning Italian??
It is. You need to find a method that works for you whether it’s in a group if you are an extroverted sort or privately by tutor if you prefer one on one. Both have their pros and cons and you might want to try both initially to see which works best for you. Stick with whichever method works and keep with it and keep learning! That was my problem, I reached a certain level of fluency and comfort and then stopped. This was a mistake because while I have a grasp of the language, I am by no means at a high level of proficiency in Italian and I make a lot of mistakes, basic mistakes too.
It’s difficult to go back, but I do have a friend who has a wonderful YouTube channel -Lucrezia Oddone – Learn Italian with Lucrezia and she has inspired me to want to hire a private Italian language tutor again to expand my vocabulary and improve my grammar. It’s never too late!
I agree it’s never too late, Linda! The story of Linda and her challenge in the language despite being in Italy is realistic.
Contrary to popular belief, learning a language in the home country is equally challenging and something I really wanted all of you to know!!
Grazie mille carissima per la tua ispirazione!
If you are in Rome, stay at The Beehive. There are dedicated evenings for storytelling sessions and tons of cooking classes! As you can understand, The Beehive is a place made with a lot of love and the whole foundation of community is evident as soon as you enter.
Let me and Linda know how this post inspired you??