If you follow my Instastories, I can only assume that you’re aware I was watching the Netflix tween movie, “The Kissing Booth” last week. No shame here. I highly recommend it because Noah, the love interest, is hot as fuck like all boys named Noah are (this is my theory at least). Please comment if you happen to know a non-hot Noah. Anyways while watching it, I started feeling something that I can only describe as nostalgia. I tried to figure out what I was reminiscing about. Was it high school? Youth? Innocence? First love? Red solo cups? Drinking games? I found myself rewinding and replaying certain scenes and I noticed that they were all scenes featuring the main protaganists having a conversation and that’s when it dawned on me. I wasn’t getting these funny feelings in my tummy because of all the prosecco I drank on a empty stomach, it was because the dialogue in English was making me remember what it was like to be falling in love IN ENGLISH. To love in MY NATIVE LANGUAGE. To shamelessly flirt in my tongue. Not in a mixture of Italian and English. Not in Italish. No pauses, no “come si dice”, no furrowed brows or awkward laughs or pretending to understand when one or both parties didn't understand shit. Well ok maybe the awkward laughs would still be there. But I’m talking about a dialogue of witty banter and youthful slang and perfectly-conjugated past perfect progressive tenses. Oh AND QUESTIONS WITH THE AUXILLARY VERB "DO". Questions that aren't statements with rising intonation at the end. A real, English question. That’s what was making my heart skip a beat. I realized that I will never have that again (especially the questions with "do", my husband almost never uses the correct interrogative form, a common finding in Italy).
All those dialogues, the telephone conversations, the puns, the play on words, the English innuendos…that was what I had and now they represent all I will ever have. Those exchanges are as part of the past as all the ex-boyfriends that mouthed the words. I know you’re probably thinking- well, you’re married, they will (hopefully) have always been a thing of the past, what does this have to do with language? But what I’m saying is it’s a mourning of THE LANGUAGE of a life lived on different soil, not of the life per say. It's been a great life and I would never jeopradize it or wish I lived anywhere else. I can flirt in Italian and my husband and friends here speak to me in English but it isn’t the same is it? It’s never exactly how it used to be, passing notes in high school or finding one wedged into your locker at lunchtime. Somehow, I just have this feeling that if I were still living in an English-speaking country, those moments and those memories would feel closer to me- vivid and alive, fed by the language. Instead they feel like they're in a box somewhere in my room in Canada, gathering dust and I'm almost worried I'll forget what my first boyfriend's voice sounded like when he told me I love you for the first time.
One of my Canadian expat friends in Italy hit the nail on the head when she wrote me saying:
“[It] kinda feels nostalgic to think of love in English…a mix of homesickness and youth?”.
I’d love to hear from you. Have you ever had this revelation?
If this revelation gave you the feels, you might like these posts:
Creative Writing: Call Me Baby
Hypothetical Italian Teenagers Won't Have Varsity Jackets or Homecomings
My Canadian Identity Abroad in Italy: The Conundrum
Survey Results: Can You Fall in Love Without Speaking the Same Language?
Can You Fall in Love Without Speaking the Same Language?
How to Fight and Make Love in Two Languages
Immunity to Accent Attractiveness: Can the Italian Accent Stop Being Sexy?
The Relationship Between Loving Someone and the Language You Love With