Ciao! Welcome to my blog. My name is Amanda Mackler. This is my last semester of Italian and my second to last semester at Duke University. As my days here come to a close, I look back and reflect on my classes here. I began taking Italian courses in high school. I was first interested in it because my mom’s family is from Italy. My great grandmother, Angelina Dimasico’s parents came from Northern Italy when she was born. My great grandfather, Mario Cairoli, also immigrated to the United States from Northern Italy. He was the first in his family to come. He did not speak any English when he came to the States. The two met and had two daughters, Florence and Marion. Mario passed away before I was born but Angelina, who we called Nanny, lived until I was five. Every summer, my family would travel to Mantoloking, New Jersey, a predominantly roman catholic beach town on the Jersey Shore to spend the summer with Nanny. My grandmother would spend every morning making homemade pasta and spending hours rolling it out into spaghetti. Her house always smelt like fresh marinara sauce. She was featured in the New York Times for her amazing cooking skills. I attached the photos of the article. She would always give my mom and grandmother cooking lessons because she believed it was important for the woman of the household to be able to prepare a traditional Italian meal.

(above is me, my grandmother and great-grandmother)
So how does this lead me to being interested in the Italian language and culture? I feel as though it was an easy decision. My great grandmother and my grandmother were such important people in my life I felt like I wanted to learn more about their culture. My great grandmother would often speak Italian in the house especially when she was cooking and I was fascinated by the language and the way it rolled off her tongue. Beyond that, my mother has felt a special connection to Italy as it is where her family stems from so we have visited places such as Florence, Rome and Venice multiple times when I was growing up. I truly feel like learning Italian language and culture has allowed me to live on the legacy of my grandmother and great grandmother.

Within my portfolio I reflect on how much I have grown as an Italian speaker this semester. In 203 compared to the other Italian classes I took, there was more of a focus on building as an Italian writer and speaker. In the other classes, as we discussed on the last day of class, the language was taught in a non-cohesive way. Nothing had felt like they were connected. This semester, it felt as though that connection was finally made. Instead of focusing on MyLab as we did for the other semesters, for out homework we would do more writing which helps have a better holistic understanding of the language. In my portfolio, I focus on the work that shows my growth as an Italian speaker. I started this year struggling to make sentences that had strong vocabulary as well as grammar within it. By the end of the semester, as I think seen in my Scriturra #2, I was able to put together sentences that were stronger and used a variety of vocabulary and grammar. As I drew in class to describe my italian learning experience, I saw myself as a flower. Every week I would grow another petal whether that be in the grammar and/or vocabulary aspect that added to my language understanding. For the future, I would like to visit Italy as soon as I possibly can to use my language in the real world. I will continue speaking and writing in Italian as to not lose my language abilities.

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