Lost in Translation is a romantic comedy that’s set in both New York, U.S.A and Bologna, Italy. I wanted to write a story about a young woman who comes from an American- Italian family with strong roots to her homeland embedded in a mixed cultural make up. The story is pure fiction but it’s close to my heart. See I grew up in a South African-Italian family. My Italian father and grandparents emigrated to South Africa when my dad was four years old. They had to take the journey by boat which my nonna tells me took weeks. It’s hard for me to imagine being brave enough to get onto a boat to move to a at the time ‘developing’ country you’ve never seen. To leave behind everything you’ve known and to start all over again in a country where they don’t even speak the only language you know!
Growing up, I was immersed in Italian culture through my grandparents. They cooked traditional Italian food and taught my mother how to do the same. They constantly spoke Italian and networked with other Italian families living in South Africa. I went to the Italian club with them often and was fascinated by the way that they spoke not only with their loud voices but with their hands. Despite living over forty years in South Africa, my grandfather had a thick Italian accent that he NEVER lost. The pride they maintained in their own homeland filtered through to me so strongly that when I left South Africa to live in Germany, I told everyone I was Italian despite never having lived there.
Italian summers as a teenager were the absolute best experiences for me. I loved the chaos of the beaches. I loved the music, heat, the food, people, festivals and the architecture. Where we went wasn’t the newest or most beautiful part of Italy, but it had a sense of being steeped in history and so real! I loved the way that the old people in the small towns held so much power and respect from the younger generation. Everyone knew everyone. When we weren’t on the beach, we were visiting my zias and zios. Like the story, they were neighbors who hadn’t spoken to each other for many many years. It made for some really interesting visits which I still remember fondly.
Being from mixed cultures I’ve learnt that it’s not just about the places I’ve lived in and it’s not only the people that I’ve been around that make me who I am. Culture to me is about the five senses. It’s the people, places and food I’ve eaten, touched, smelled, seen and heard. They’ve all influenced my thinking and made me fall in love. My memories of these experiences are ones I cherish. Writing this story was one way for me to pass that on so it’s never lost or forgotten. It’s my language of love. I hope you get a chance to read it. AMAZON US-Lost in Translation