Debra Kolkka

Questo è il terzo post di una serie da parte dei lettori che esplorano le loro ragioni per imparare l’italiano. Oggi vorrei farvi conoscere Debra Kolkka. Sono molto contenta che mi stiate inviando le vostre storie! Continuate a inviarmele! Ho intenzione di pubblicare una ogni settimana.

This is the third post in a series by readers highlighting their reasons for learning Italian. Today I would like to introduce to you Debra Kolkka. I am so pleased that you all are sending stories! Keep them coming. I will post once a week.

Debra ha una storia particolarmente affascinante. Lei è da Australia e si è sposata con un’italiano, e hanno comprato una casa a Bagno a Lucca in Toscana. Debra scrive anche due blog chiamati: Bella Bagni di Lucca and Bagni di Lucca e oltre. Quando ero a Lucca lo scorso giugno sono andato a Bagno a Lucca con il mio gruppo. Gli insegnanti di Lucca scuola italiana hanno familiarità con il blog di Debra. Abbiamo attraversato la passerella a Bagno a Lucca e da lontano abbiamo visto il suo appartament! Quindi è bello aver ricevuto una nota da Debra che ha voluto condividere con noi la sua storia e il suo viaggio di imparare la lingua italiana.

Debra has a particularly fascinating story. She is from Australia and married an Italian, and they bought a house in Bagno a Lucca in Tuscany. Debra also writes two blogs called Bella Bagni di Lucca and Bagni di Lucca and Beyond. When I was in Lucca last June I went to Bagno a Lucca with my group. The teachers of Lucca Italian School are familiar with Debra’s blog. We crossed the footbridge in Bagno a Lucca a from a distance we saw her apartment. So it is wonderful to have received a note from Debra who wanted to share with us her story and her journey to learn the Italian language.

Photo Credit: Debra Kolkka

Ecco Debra! Hi Melissa, I have spent many years learning Italian, here is my contribution.

My first attempts to learn Italian began in 1972 when I sailed on the Achille Lauro to Italy. There were classes onboard the ship and my friends, and I attended, we were off on an adventure and knew we had to learn the language.

I married my first husband, Angelo, a short time later and went to live near his family in a tiny village called S’Agata, near Sorrento on the gorgeous Amalfi Coast. My Italian lessons didn’t help much as his family spoke Napolitano. They could understand my pitiful attempts to speak, but I couldn’t understand their replies. They told me they loved their dialects and they chatted like happy parrots, so how could I complain?

I continued to learn, mostly by watching Italian television. I used to watch Skippy, an Australian program that was on every afternoon. Before went shopping, I would write down what I need to buy and practice asking for my purchases.
Many years later, when my second husband and I decided to buy a house in Italy, I returned to school for more lessons. With very basic knowledge, I set off to buy our apartment in Bagni di Lucca.

Photo Credit: Debra Kolkka

Fortunately, I got to know two wonderful locals, Tina and Rina. Tina was born in New York but moved to Bagni di Lucca with her Italian mother when her father died. She speaks English with a Bronx accent, but perfect, clear Italian. Rina speaks no English, so I had to use my few Italian words and Tina would finish my sentences for me.

I now spend six months every year in Italy, and my Italian is improving daily. It is a beautiful language and l love being part of a little community. Learning to speak Italian has allowed me to fit in and experience an Italy that I wouldn’t know otherwise.
Lots of people ask me if they will get by without Italian when they come to visit. I tell them that they will, but they will have a far better experience if they learn even a little. Italians are very forgiving of those who try.

Photo Credit: Debra Kolkka

I told several people years ago that I had broken my horse. They knew what I was trying to say because I was pointing at my ankle. Finally, a friend said, “Signora Debra, non e un cavallo, e una caviglia”. Nobody laughed at me or made me feel silly.
Learning Italian is a fun thing to do…give it a try.

I write two blogs about my Italian experiences. Bagni di Lucca about all my travels and Bella Bagni di Lucca about our lovely collection of villages in northern Tuscany.

Grazie Debra! Bagno a Lucca è veramente un posto favoloso! It is truly a lovely place! Complimenti!

Send me your story about why you are learning Italian! We are all ears! Grazie!

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One Comment

  1. So nice to read this piece! I have followed Debra’s blog for a long time (ciao, Debra!) and I really enjoyed hearing the backstory of her Italian language journey. I agree that the Italians are so encouraging, even when we make linguistic mistakes. It’s really what keeps me going. Without their positive response to my efforts, I would never have the courage to speak their language. Thanks to Debra for sharing and to Melissa for coordinating this series!