I am sure we all remember a young Judi Garland exclaiming this when she found herself in the unfamiliar world of Munchkinland in Wizard of Oz, and it is much the same for us in Umbria (Italy). There is nothing to remind us of Wollongong. Why travel halfway around the world to see, smell, touch and do the same things as at home?
And here is another reminiscence for you. Who remembers the Alan Sherman song – “Hello Mudder, Hello Father; Here we are at Camp Grenada; Camp is very entertaining; And they say we’ll have some fun if it stops raining”.
Yep, it’s raining. Just as we were warned. Bucket loads of the stuff. It comes and goes in waves, thick black clouds gathering ominously, clearly visible as a coal grey mass accumulating in the near distance, then rumbles of thunder close by. It gives us just enough warning to duck for cover, before fat raindrops start to fall, followed shortly by the type of downpour that used to be common in old black and white movies when an assistant tipped a bucket of water over the scene to simulate a real downpour. One moment daytime, next moment raintime. Then it clears, and then shortly after, it returns again.
It’s a bit like my Italian. I first learnt it about thirty-five years ago, and since then have become very rusty. I reached the stage where I would listen in Italian, and answer in English. Now, from the moment we stepped off the plane in Milan, I have been doing my best to use it. One moment it is rolling off the tongue effortlessly, the next moment it is a collection of disjointed nouns and verbs with no joining words, and every noun in the wrong gender, and every verb declined incorrectly.
Even when I sound fluent, my accent is atrocious. So I have been trying to imitate Freddy. He has a lovely sing-song quality to his tone, and if I listen and imitate, I have a chance to lift myself from an English drone, and develop the music of the language. The only draw-back is that Freddy is only four years old, so I am in danger of picking up his baby talk, and starting every sentence with “why?” On the other hand, we could all learn a lot from asking “why?” more often.
I do find myself asking “why” more often now that I am travelling. In my case, it usually has more to do with the iPad…………I am narrowing the gap between its capabilities and my ability – but it was a very wide gap to begin with. So misspellings and typos do have an explànation – e.g. How the heck did an accent just appear over the “a” in explanation?
Garrulous Gwendoline, Assisi, Sabato June 1st 2013