When you are an Italian living in Brazil speaking English most of the day, it’s not so easy to decide what language to write in. And this doesn’t only apply to your blog, but also to your secret diary and what maybe one day will be your book.
The most obvious answer might seem to be: write in your own language. How can you write better in a foreign language than in your mothertongue? In a foreign language you don’t have the same fluency, your vocabulary is limited, you don’t know how it really sounds to a speaker of that language, etc. This makes sense.
But what if you are spending so much time out of Italy that you are actually starting to lose some spontaneity in Italian? Imagine you are in a foreign country, let’s say Germany, for instance. You are in a restaurant and you would like to have an extra plate, but the moment you are asking for it, you realize you can’t recall the German word for plate. You are sure that you know it, it’s a basic and simple word, but you can’t remember it. So your question is stuck at “Können Sie bitte ein – hmm… ein… uuhhh…”. I guess this is a common experience to most people. Now imagine this happening in your mothertongue after coming back home from a long stay abroad. All your family and friends are looking at you with a raised eyebrow, sure that you are just faking this to show off your polyglottism. If it happens while you are writing, I hope your closest window is not too close to you, because you are going to want to throw your computer or notebook and pen out of it.
And what if you reached a point where you sometimes actually think and dream in English? One day you have one of those fantasies when you imagine in your head conversation that never actually took or will take place in reality (you can admit it, everybody does!) and at the end of it you find yourself thinking “how come I was arguing with my mother in English?”.
And what if you really want to share your work with somebody who doesn’t speak Italian? My boyfriend is Brazilian and doesn’t speak any Italian, and for once I finally decided not to be ashamed of my writing project and share it with him. He is the one who helped me getting through my panic attacks and my fears of failure and made me see that there is no harm in trying and that patience does pay off, at some point. Wouldn’t it be awful if he could not see the results of all our common efforts? I guess this is my strongest point.
We have already agreed that this does not have to be perfect. Well, my English won’t be perfect, but I’m sure that all my readers will be willing to let it go considering my reasons… won’t you??? *
*The correct answer to this question is: “Yes, I will!”, possibly with an enthusiastic expression on your face.