Alla scoperta delle proprie radici

Ciao a tutti!

. . . da Rosa Di Grottole

La mia attività di scribacchina continua anche per il giornale di Cleveland “La Gazzetta Italiana”. Qualche giorno fa è uscito un mio nuovo testo relativo all’eredità italo – americana negli Stati Uniti.  Ho l’enorme fortuna di insegnare italiano a tanti americani che amano la nostra lingua e a moltissimi che vogliono riallacciare la loro vita a quella dei loro nonni, zii, genitori che hanno attraversato l’Oceano tantissimi anni fa.  Ho pensato che condividere queste emozioni fosse un privilegio e quindi, ecco qui il mio articolo. (In inglese e in italiano)

Come sempre, credo che i non – membri non possano accedere al testo completo. Quindi l’ho “copiato-incollato” per voi qui di seguito.

I’m Rosa, I’m 32 and I’m Italian. I moved to the U.S. in February 2016. None of my direct ancestors were here before me. My grandmother vaguely remembers that some uncles moved here when she was very young, but she never knew anything about them. One of them went back to Italy after 20-25 years.So, I’m the first one. The first generation.

In addition to writing for myself, I decided to write this article because I’m teaching Art and Italian in Columbus, OH.

I really love this job. In fact, I think it’s more than a job.

When I started, I was so excited. It was incredible to me that so many people were interested in the Italian language. I asked them the reason. Almost everyone has Italian grandparents. Each student wants to connect his or her life with their own heritage.

Most of them still have grandparents living, but the grandparents speak only a small amount of the language. The students’ parents know almost no Italian, save for a few words. Why? One student told me a few days ago that she asked her grandmother about that. Her answer was, “When we moved, we needed to start a new life. We could not speak Italian because no one understood us and we needed to learn English very quickly because otherwise Americans would never accept us.”

She was touched. She almost started to cry.

I can only imagine how difficult it was 60 or 70 years ago. The world, the society were completely different. People immigrated for reasons different from those today.

Last weekend, Columbus held its annual Italian Festival. I was there and I had the huge pleasure to meet many Italian Americans, and a few Italians, too.

There was an Italian woman, 77-years-old. She spoke to me in Italian and she was so excited because she can’t use her native language much with her family. I asked her about her youth and, after a big breath, she started to narrate. She was 16 when she first came to the U.S. with her family. During that period, she used to cry every night. She didn’t know anyone, she didn’t have friends and she had to work because she was the oldest daughter in her family. How terrible! I saw her eyes, I heard her voice, so feeble. It was like a big jump into the past for her that night. She remembers everything as if it were yesterday. She was strong then and she’s still very strong today. Her beautiful family reminds her that all she suffered was worth it.

A few hours later, another woman approached me. She held a few sheets of paper in her hands. It was her grandfather’s diary. She wanted to know what his handwritten words said. I translated just a few phrases for her and she was so moved and so thankful.

Sometimes when I teach, the students exclaim, “I know that word! I remember when my nonna told me that!” Muoviti! Testa tosta! Mangia!

When speaking about a vacation in Italy, a student told me that neither Florence nor Rome were as great for him as the people and the atmosphere of his grandparents’ small hometown in Sicily.

I think I’ll forever remember all of these moving and funny stories from my students and others that I meet. And, I’m very glad I have this great opportunity. That’s what it means, to me, to be Italian Americans.

They are so strong, so proud. They want to preserve their heritage. They want to know, discover, live their past. They want to remember their roots and I’m sure their children and grandchildren will do the same.

 

Alla scoperta delle proprie radici

Sono Rosa, ho 32 anni e sono italiana. Mi sono trasferita negli Stati Uniti a febbraio del 2016.

Nessuno dei miei diretti antenati è stato qui prima di me. Mia nonna ricorda vagamente che alcuni suoi zii sono venuti in America quando lei era molto piccola, ma non ha più saputo niente di loro. Solamente uno è ritornato in Italia 25,30 anni dopo.

Quindi io sono la prima. La prima generazione.

Tralasciando la mia storia, ho deciso di scrivere questo articolo perché sto insegnando storia dell’arte e italiano a Columbus, in Ohio. Mi piace davvero tanto questo lavoro e credo che non sia solo un lavoro, nel senso letterale del termine, ma molto di più.

Quando ho cominciato ero davvero emozionata, perché era incredibile scoprire quante persone fossero interessate alla Lingua italiana. Ho chiesto ai miei studenti le ragioni e i motivi del loro interesse. Quasi tutti hanno nonni italiani. Ognuno di loro vuole riconnettere la propria storia a quella dei propri antenati.

Molti di loro hanno ancora i nonni in vita, ma quest’ultimi parlano solo un po’ in dialetto. I genitori, invece, non parlano quasi per niente italiano, a parte qualche parola. Ma perché? Una studentessa mi ha detto qualche giorno fa che aveva chiesto a sua nonna il perché di tutto questo e la sua risposta era stata: – Quando ci siamo trasferiti avevamo bisogno di iniziare una nuova vita. Non potevamo parlare italiano, perché nessuno ci capiva e avevamo necessità di imparare velocemente l’inglese per poter essere accettati dalla società.” Lei si è commossa. Ha quasi cominciato a piangere.

Io posso solo immaginare quanto fosse difficile sessanta, settanta anni fa. Il mondo, la società erano completamente diversi. Le ragioni dell’immigrazione erano altre rispetto ad oggi.

Lo scorso weekend, a Columbus, c’è stato l’Italian Festival. Io ero lì e ho avuto l’enorme privilegio di conoscere molti italo – americani e anche qualche italiano. C’era una donna italiana di 77 anni. Ha cominciato a parlarmi in italiana ed era così emozionata, perché con la sua famiglia non ha possibilità di parlare molto nella sua lingua madre. Le ho chiesto della sua giovinezza e, dopo un grande sospiro, mi ha cominciato a raccontare… Aveva 16 anni quando si è trasferita negli Stati Uniti con la sua famiglia. Durante il primo periodo, piangeva tutte le notti. Non conosceva nessuno, non aveva amici e doveva lavorare perché era la sorella maggiore di tre. Quanta sofferenza! Ho visto i suoi occhi, ho ascoltato la sua flebile voce. Per le è stato come fare un grande salto nel passato. Ricorda tutto come se fosse ieri. E’ stata molto forte e lo è tutt’oggi. La sua meravigliosa famiglia le ricorda che quei momenti di tristezza sono valsi la pena.

Qualche ora dopo, un’altra donna mi si è avvicinata. Aveva in mano qualche pagina fotocopiata. Era il diario di suo nonno. Voleva sapere cosa si celava tra quelle parole scritte a mano. Ho tradotto per lei solo qualche frase, ma lei, seppur per così poco, era così emozionata e riconoscente.

Qualche volta, mentre insegno, i miei studenti esclamano: – “So questa parola! Mi ricordo quando mia nonna me la diceva da bambino. ” Muoviti! Testa tosta! Mangia!

Parlandomi della sua vacanza in Italia, uno studente mi ha detto che nè Firenze, nè Roma lo hanno colpito così tanto come la gente e l’atmosfera del piccolo paesino natio dei suoi nonni in Sicilia.

Storie commoventi, altre divertenti. Sono sicura ricorderò questi momenti per sempre. E  sono davvero molto grata di avere questa grandiosa opportunità. Questo è quello che significa per me essere italo – americani. Essere forti e orgogliosi. Loro vogliono preservare la loro eredità culturale. Vogliono conoscere, scoprire, vivere il loro passato. Vogliono ricordare le i loro figli e i loro nipoti, faranno altrettanto.

Art History Classes

Art History Classes
by Art Scholar Rosa Di Grottole

Starting 3 December 2017

More than art, Rosa brings together the political and economic conditions that gave birth to the renaissance and the wonders of Da Vinci, Michelangelo, Raphael, Botticelli, Fra Angelico, and so many more.

Rosa lived there and walked the streets that carried geniuses to their workshops and patrons’ galleries.

After these classes you too will know and appreciate the creations past and present.

Classes are in English with Italian vocabulary for added authenticity. Rosa may read from classic or contemporary writings about the art, artists, and politics of the times as you follow along with dual-language text.

Maximum 10 students for an intimate feel, so register soon!

Three Sundays Starting 3 December
Time: 3:00pm to 4:30pm Dec 3 & 17.  4:30 to 6:00 Dec 10.

The art treasures and history of Florence, Rome, and Venice
$75 total for all three classes.

Following sessions on:
Tuscany’s Siena, Lucca, and Pisa
The Medici dynasty
The Borgias: popes and princes
Art in northern Italy
Art in central Italy
Art in southern Italy

and many more.  Watch the website for details!

Register for December 3rd: the art capitals of Florence, Rome, and Venice: REGISTER

New archeological finds in Rome

The Excavation of the Palatine Continues 

Some describe Roma as a plate of archaeological lasagna (un piatto di lasagne archeologiche), made of layers upon layers of history (strati su strati di storia). Clementina Panella, a professor of archaeology at the Università di Roma “La Sapienza,” views it as a great book of human history (un grande libro di storia dell’umanità). After thirty years of excavations, her team is uncovering the first pages (le prime pagine) of this remarkable story.

The oldest traces (le tracce più antiche) date back to simple huts built in the tenth to fourteenth centuries B.C. (A.C. for Palatine digAvanti Cristo, before Christ, in Italian). Panella’s dig has centered on the swath of land between the Colosseum and the Arch of Constantine, the very heart of ancient Rome.

This “importantissima” zone, never before explored, has yielded discovery after discovery (scoperta dopo scoperta). The most significant is the Curiae Veteres, a vast religious sanctuary where Romulus gathered representatives from Rome’s districts (curiae) to worship and eat together (mangiare insieme). As animal bones (ossa animali) testify, meat was definitely on the menu.

For Panella, another exciting discovery was the Meda Sudans, a monumental fountain (fontana) built by Augustus, Rome’s first emperor. Nearby the archaeologists found a luxuriously decorated domus or residence believed to be the place where Augustus was born in 63 B.C. His wife Livia converted it into a temple after his death in 14 A.D. (D.C. for Dopo Cristo, after Christ, in Italian).

Fig. 9 wands

Among the intriguing findings, tucked inside a collapsed wooden box, were these insignia— scepters not unlike those of a Harry Potter wizard, topped by gleaming glass globes, as well as spears (scettri) and lances (lance) for bearing flags — from the 4th century A.D. “We believe they belonged to Emperor Maxentius and were hidden after he was killed by Constantine in the Battle of the Milvian Bridge in 312 A.D.,” says Panella.

Especially touching—and unexpected—was an urn from the fifth century B.C., buried in shallow ground under a protective overhang. Inside, wrapped in a covering Urn of sorts, were the remains of a baby who may have died at or shortly after birth. Panella describes the revelation as “molto impressionante” (very startling), a poignant reminder of the timeless sorrow of a child’s loss.

The city’s version of urban recycling has often been a challenge. “Roma si mangia,” Panella says. (Rome eats itself.) From the earliest days, builders took stones, metals, glass and decorations from existing structures to construct new buildings. As Panella’s team discovered, some used statuary, such as a marble bust of Emperor Septimius Severus, who died in 211 A.D., as “filler” for the foundations of new edifices.

Working among the glories of ancient Rome has been “un gran privilegio” (a great privilege),” says Panella. “I lift my head, and I see the Colosseum, the Arch of Constantine, the temple of Venus.” Most rewarding has been the thrill of discovery, “of finding something that has never been seen before, trying to interpret it in light of what we already know, and adding another element to an extraordinary story.”

Article thanks to “Becoming Italian Word by Word”.