Italian & me: A bilingual’s lifelong quarrel with the most Italian of words

No matter how hard you study, there will always be some parts of a language that you won’t be able to capture without living where it is actually used. Raised north of the Alps, I have always struggled to grasp certain nuances of my second language Italian (and pretty much everything about its grammar, but that’s a different story). It wasn’t until I went to live in Italy for a few months that I got a little closer to the art of expression that the Italians call their language – and that I finally cracked the one I’d been racking my brains about all my life. About the most Italian of words.

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I used to hate skiing – but then I went to Livigno, Italy

You know how sometimes, you try a certain thing once and immediately know “This shit isn’t for me”? Might be any activity or experience you could think of, like cage diving with a shark or eating fried maggots from a street food market – whatever. You could simply decide that you never want to go back doing that same thing, even if the shark DIDN’T eat half your leg or the insect snack DIDN’T give you three days of diarrhea. You could have simply hated it for itself. For me, this activity has always been skiing. Tried it once, no thanks, I’m good for the rest of my life. At least that’s what I thought until a few weeks ago. I guess it’s time to give these maggots skis a second chance!

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