Experience Italy: World Youth Day and Italians
I was lucky enough to visit Kraków, Poland this year for World Youth Day. If you don't know what WYD is, it's an event organized by the Catholic Church that happens every few years. It's an awesome event because millions of people from all around the world go. Every nationality, culture, and language. Technically it's for the youth (ages 18-30), but people of all ages go. It's an amazing sight to see!
So why I am telling you about WYD you might be wondering? Because people and languages!! I think I was smiling from ear to ear the whole time I was there just listening to the melodic tones of every language under the sun.
Just walking down the street and being in the city square was something else. Imagine seeing thousands that filled the square, walking around in large groups singing, waving flags and cheering together. You could feel the sense of the community that everyone shared that transcended across all cultures.
One of the highlights was the welcoming ceremony with Pope Francis. We were all in a massive field waiting for Pope Francis to arrive. The feeling is hard to describe being surrounded by over 2 million people. So much excitement and energy! I heard so many languages all around me. I was on cloud nine.
Naturally, I ended up befriending a bunch of Italians while we were waiting there. They were all impressed with my Italian and wanted to know more about my story. It was great connecting with them, but the coolest part was when Pope Francis started speaking.
I was surrounded by all these Italians as well as a bunch of Americans. The pope addressed everyone in Italian and unfortunately, all the Americans were out of luck trying to understand. So I started translating for them and they were really happy that I could. Every so often the pope said a word I wasn't sure about, so I would converse with the Italians and they would explain it to me, then I would translate that to the Americans around me.
What an amazing thing it was to work together and use the gift of language to connect us all. It was truly a special moment that I was able to be the bridge for everyone there. It makes me so grateful for languages and especially Italian.
I know that you will have your own moments like this as you continue your language journey and I can't wait to hear about them. If you have experienced something similar already or when you do experience it, please send me a note and tell me all about it!
I hope this little story can inspire you along your language journey and let you know that all this is possible for you. The ability to open all these amazing doors, and to truly experience Italy, is just a language away.