Sunday, February 2, 2014

Effed up memory

As you see, I got most of the answers wrong. Che pazzo!
I still recall how reliable my memory was during my school years. I remember how easy it was to memorize all those scientific names, quadratic formulas, trigonometric identifies, and other information. Really "useful" information, you know. Because we all know how algebra is really, really, really important when you order from the menu, or how vital it is to say the chemical formula of benzene when you go to the mall. My brain didn't discriminate—it'll store both trivial and life-altering facts.

But yesterday, at my Italian class, after having been away for just a few weeks, my memory drew a blank. A blank so total, so complete that psychologists would call it a tabula rasa, a clean slate. I couldn't recall how to conjugate the most basic verbs—essere (to be) and avere (to have)—even if my life depended on it. I couldn't even wing it. Crap. Not good. And to think that I'm on my 6th course, so I've been studying Italian for a year and a half. Double crap.

Is it because I'm turning 40 this year? Will this be the year when my memory, my ever-dependable best friend, becomes a complete asshole and turns unreliable? I cringe just thinking about it. I never see myself as someone who's forgetful or absentminded. I've never been known to be any of those. And that's the primary reason for my studying Italian. I've read somewhere that taking up courses on foreign languages improves one's mental processes.

It's a bit ironic that the one thing that should improve (or at least maintain) my mental functions should be the one that tells me I'm not that young anymore. In a way, it's a wake up call. I need to spend a few minutes (or perhaps an hour, no?) every day to immerse myself in the language again. Just find ways to be comfortable reading, listening, and speaking it. I should be on the lookout for novels in Italian. Or even watch Italian movies without subtitles.

For the meantime, I have some catching up to do on my Italian grammar. I keep forgetting the rules for using passato prossimo (simple past) and the imperfetto (imperfect) tenses. It's a good thing that I thrive on rules. And Italian has so many rules (much like any other language, I guess) that I have my work cut out for me.


Kaz said...

LOL! I feel your pain, Peter! My head is an unholy mess of Italian and Modern Hebrew a lot of the time - with words from both combining randomly into really bizarre sentences. On my bucket list is to become fully fluent in both...because I've got so close with both and then not quite got them fixed and that's as frustrating as all hell! You need to go drop yourself into the middle of Italy for a month - like I did back in 2005 - and you'll be, as I was, quite surprised by just how much you DO know.

Peter S. said...

Hello, Kaz! I am actually saving up for a trip to Italy! I really hope to go there soon!

Kaz said...

Oh, jealous... JEALOUS!!!!!!!! Although, DB has been promising a trip there for ages - just depends on how things go with the company this year. Fingers crossed!

Peter S. said...

Oh, wouldn't it be nice if I finally bumped into you -- in Italy!!!