Language Lessons.

By the time you read this, I’ll (hopefully) be on my way to Italy. Where I will attempt to use the three sentences I’ve managed to learn during my not-so-successful experience of self-taught Italian language lessons. I have realised that in order to make lots of progress, I need more structure to my language learning and a proper teacher. It has been fun learning slowly on my own though, and I need to remember that fun is partly the reason for learning.

I had to make fast progress with my Italian the last time I was there. We had a villa and I had to call the housekeeper (who spoke no English) and confirm my arrival time, that I needed the to collect the keys from her, and the location. A difficult situation, considering that I spoke no Italian at all and was armed only with an phrase book. Still, I managed it and it taught me a lesson.

So often I have waited until I thought I was good enough to do something before doing it, so I don’t let anyone down, or worse, make a giant fool of myself. I’ve since realised that I’m never going to be good at anything if I don’t at least try. Purely because I am interested in so many things, I never devote enough time to learning just one thing, in the way that a specialist would put in the hours and hours of study of a single thing in order to be truly exceptional. I will never be a concert pianist! However, waiting until I’m ‘perfect’ is no use at all, it just means I grind to a halt and never experience the things that I truly want to.

So my new attitude is to do things badly, instead of not doing them at all. I’m going to jump in, make a mess and be absolutely rubbish. Really, the worst that can happen (as long as we’re talking sensible things here, not attempting surgery) is that I probably will make a fool of myself. However, the next time I try the same thing, I will make less of a fool of myself, and so on. So, the waiters of Rome are going to be at the mercy of my three sentences, because I plan to unleash them at every opportunity in the hope that after three days of repeating myself, I will be a little less foolish. A little better.

In a similar vein, I wrote my first review as a guest blogger for The Culture Vulture recently. It was a small review piece about the Leeds Young People’s Film Festival, but the minute I pressed send on my email, I wanted to retrieve it so I could re-write the whole thing. It was a good example for me of jumping in and taking a risk. Assuming I get the chance, the next time I write for them, I will be better, but the fact is that my little post was published on a website that I value and respect enormously, So I’ve made progress with something I’ve been trying to pluck up the courage to do for ages and it is such a great feeling.

Next on the list of things to do badly are kayaking and (possibly) singing or even hula hooping…

So, perhaps you could take a risk and have a go at something scary, instead of waiting until you think you’re good enough. You never know, you’re probably already better than you think…

5 Comments to “Language Lessons.”

  1. What a brilliant post – I think you’re so right about just trying things and not always seeking perfection. I once worked with a guy who had this great catchphrase “don’t let perfect get in the way of good” – and this blog post is all about that. I’m loving reading these posts… theyre so honest and open – making me realise a lot about myself – t h a n k y o u ! x

    • Thank you! It’s taken me a while to realise that by waiting until I was ‘good enough’ I was essentially putting my life on pause. I love that catchphrase, in fact, I’m going to steal it 🙂

      I’m really glad you’re finding the posts interesting. It’s a bit daunting to write about such personal things sometimes, but knowing that other folk find them worth reading is utterly bloody brilliant xx

  2. Well said Liz 🙂

    Hula hooping is great fun – I went to a workshop/hoopjam a couple of years ago & it was such a laugh!

    I know that I already sing badly. Himself won’t let me sing, and even the cat gives me dirty looks if I do ;-/

    I think the last time I went kayaking I was in my early teens, so a long time ago! Not my idea of fun as such, but definitely a worthwhile experience.

    Good luck & have fun in Italy!

  3. im so jealous i tried to self teach Italian but couldn’t get it in my head, i think being in the country and having to speak the lagange is better than reading it at home where you have no one to practice with and not be able to hear it Good luck Liz its a lovely language to form in your mouth, loving your attitude too

  4. Learning a whole new language is great for travel and for business. If you would like to master a new language you have found the very best site online. If you want to learn any language from Spanish, Chinese, Korean, Arabic and many many more you have found the spot. provides you with all the tools you need to practice a new language fast. The entire world keeps getting smaller and learing a new language is the greatest approach to stay a part of the international community. It is time to expand you mind and study a new language. Enjoy your travels. Bon Voyage.

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