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John Palcewski's Journal

Works In Progress

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I adore your journal.
It makes me miss Italy, terribly!!

I'm glad you do, thanks! When I came to this island I had to stay permanently because I knew I'd miss it too much if I went back to America.

What an amazing island, I can see why!
You must be fluent in Italian now...yes?
Have you been living there for many years?

My landlord and my small circle of friends all speak English, and I live alone, so I haven't become fluent in Italian. My excuse is that as a novelist I'm still trying to master English! I've been here since November, 1999, and have absolutely no plans to leave.

All you really need is to watch the hand-gestures, Italians are infamous for that!

You must be brewing up some colorful stories, what an adventure.

I had studied Italian for a semester in college, and the summer following traveled to cividale, Italy...and took the train all over to visit some of the bigger cities like Milan, Florence, Venice. On one long train ride I was speaking (in very broken English) to a very sweet woman who was travelling with her daughter. She asked me to speak to her in Italian, so I blurted a sentence out about how old I was. After that she spoke a mile a minute in Italian and I couldn't understand a thing... but she was so pleased over that one sentence that she gave me her address and phone number and invited me to stay with her in Milan. I just love the oppeness of Italian culture. It's left a deep imprint on me that way.

Sweetness of Character

Yes, before the word was the gesture, and not just here in Italy. I have enough of the language to get by day-to-day and I always have a notebook handy to make a quick sketch when I run into difficulty. Another excellent tool is my cellphone. I can call a friend and get instant on-the-spot translation services. When I speak Italian I invariably get a smile because they know instantly I'm Americano, and you're right, they seem pleased that at least I'm trying. I try to avoid stereotypical generalizations but after five years I sense an essential sweetness and tolerance at the core of the Italian character, which at first I rather distrusted...largely because I lived in New York City for a long time! Anyway...

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