Ciao, Traipsers!

Coming at you a day late. Thursday, Friday... These days, it's as they say in Thailand, "same same, not different."

Some exciting recent developments regarding my Italian citizenship quest:

  1. A distant cousin named Noelle randomly found and commented on my Italian citizenship blog post. A phone call with her connected me to family I’ve never heard of. How cool is the internet?
  2. The next day, my daily attempt to get a citizenship appointment at the Italian consulate resulted in SUCCESS. Yessss. (We tried almost daily for 3.5 months!) I've also tracked down the Italian birth certificates from my great-grandparents' tiny villages, which was...a process.

This Week's Newsletter:

All the roads in Alaska, upping language skills and wise words.


Here's to a clearing storm and bluer skies coming our way. #subtlemetaphor

Riding every road in Alaska


If you're into endurance cycling (or prefer to watch suffering vs. experience it), you need to know about Lael Wilcox. She's an absolute force with many race wins, including the 4,200-mile Trans-America in 18 days (230+ miles/day!), the second-fastest time ever.
To mix things up, she recently pedaled every road in Alaska. Well, she's ridden them all before - no big deal - but this time she documented it. The video showcases the beauty of Alaska. It allllmost makes me want to pedal the infamous Dalton Highway!
Check out the video.

How I'm learning Italian

Between my pandemic-induced travel bug and my citizenship quest, I'm fired up on learning Italian.

Are you dreaming of a trip overseas? If you are and want to arrive ready to communicate, here are the tools I'm using to help me fool the Italians into thinking I'm native!

All these resources offer many language options:
-Listening to the
Coffee Break series: free podcasts with cheery, bite-size episodes focused on one topic. They also have video lessons and study materials to dive in further. (Their One Minute Language series is handy if you want bare basics.)

-Grammar (sigh) via Duolingo: I think most people know Duolingo, but I've found that it is especially useful when paired with Coffee Break listening. Fifteen minutes a day helps to cement concepts in my mind.

-Quick classes via Skillshare - the "3-minute language" series is straight-forward and easy to watch while chopping up onions!

-Online conversation: Next month, I'm planning to add live online conversations to the mix using Lingoci or iTalki. *gulp*

N. Italy on bike tour. Castle + car-free bike path = motivation to practice Italian.

A quote for the road

From the excellent book The Second Mountain by David Brooks:

Martin Luther King, Jr., once advised that your work should have length—something you get better at over a lifetime. It should have breadth—it should touch many other people. And it should have height—it should put you in service to some ideal and satisfy the soul’s yearning for righteousness.

Of course, we don't need to create a nationwide movement to have an impact. One thing on my mind recently is the the ripple effect of small kindnesses toward others. It's amazing how a positive comment or gesture at the right time can dramatically help someone.
That's it for this edition. Ciao! (Yep, it means hello or goodbye. Language is tricky.)
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