On Waking Up Italian

Michael Williams


Il seguente estratto è preso dal bellissimo blog del romanziere e professore americano Michael Williams, che è stato visiting professor presso l'Università della Valle d'Aosta e che ha collaborato con il nostro sito.

Raccomandiamo di leggere anche gli altri articoli - molto stimolanti quelli a tema Aostano ma bellissimi anche gli altri - per la particolare qualità della prosa e per l'interessante raffronto con il punto di vista di uno scrittore americano in Italia.

On Waking Up Italian

It’s different from waking up American, which is what I do inevitably when I travel.

But this time is different. This time I’m living in another country, if even for a short, two months’ space. And there is an adjustment in the psyche when you come to stay, instead of passing through.

The schedule of the tourist is marked with high spots—hotel accommodations, notable (even dramatic) sights and sites that dominate your days in a place. When you live there, you can notice a gradual shift in your attentions, until you are waking up in the rhythm of the place (in my case “waking up Italian”, even though I know I am not, will never be Italian).

Those who know me, know I am a notoriously early riser, and right before sunrise, outside the window of our flat, a flurry of nightingale song lifts us toward wakefulness. In the past, my European students (and Australian students, for that matter) have admitted to missing the sound, and it takes the actual hearing of it to understand their nostalgia. Italians, it seems, do not rise so early, and it's odd to think most of them sleep through such elation. On the other hand, garbage collection takes place (at least here in Aosta, at least in our neighborhood) between 11 and midnight, jostling us awake after new sleep. Maybe you gain and lose in every daily transaction, so the disruption at the end of a day is richly compensated by the beginning of the next, the only problem being that sleep is lost at both ends of the transaction.

To be continued....on the blog


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