• Sami Bakaitis

How Learning Italian Gave Me Passion

Have you ever noticed how Italian people are more passionate when they speak about things?

They could be talking about how they want to cross the road and it would sound like music to my ears:


Now if you just completely failed trying to pronounce that word, then don't worry because I did the same thing too a couple of years ago!

Ever since I was a child I was utterly infatuated with Italian culture: the food, the history, the architecture but most of all - the language. The recurrent vowels and double letters (like doppio) danced around my ears and instilled me with a fiery passion: to conquer this language.

This week we are going to look at:

  • Passion as a journey

  • How to follow your passion

  • A piece of advice that could change your life!


Your Passion Is Your Journey


My journey began with me being 7 marks off the grade I needed in history A-Level in order to do law at Kent. This led to me choosing Classics instead. Then, after a taster class in the Italian language, I was sold! One thing led to another and I decided to enroll on a joint honours course: Classics and Italian.

Why am I telling you this? To show you that not every journey is clear and easy. If I had revised harder in history I would be doing law right now and probably not even be writing this blog!

That's what life is. A series of decisions you make that slowly build-up to become your life's journey.

Italian just happened to be the one passion that I decided to tackle in life, and it has led me to make numerous amazing friends whose lives are infinitely interesting.

What is your passion in life?

If you don't know what your passion is then you need to explore! To explore, you need to be willing to take yourself out of your comfort zone. This is difficult, but through practice, it will become much easier.


How To Follow Your Passion

In Bocca Al Lupo!

In order to learn Italian, I had to create an environment that was as close to Italy as possible (this is close to impossible to do in Canterbury). This is what my teachers advised me to do to help me learn the language as quickly as possible.

To do this, I labeled everything in my room with sticky notes with the Italian translation. So, whenever I would look at my lamp named Lampada, I would slowly start to associate that object with the Italian name. After a few months, I could name every object in my room in Italian.

You can apply the technique of changing your environment to help support your passion, it's not just for language learners!

I also spoke to anyone who was Italian on campus which quickly led to me making lots of new friends!

During this coronavirus period, I still manage to keep in touch with my Italian friends.

Me having a catch up on Zoom with my friend Stefano

What I am trying to tell you is that you shouldn't just go to a random Italian and strike up a conversation with them, but if you want to follow your passion you should put yourself out there.

If you put yourself out there opportunities will start popping up for you and you will be one step closer to following your passion. For example, if you love knitting, put photos of your work out there and maybe a business opportunity might come up!

Lastly, you have to really love your passion. It can't be something that you kind of like, otherwise your mind won't be that into it. You have to feel inspired to keep up with it and follow your passion every day!

Making some pasta with my girlfriend - this is another way I brought Italy into my home.

What You Should Know

La Bella Vita

Simplicity is heavenly.

Another way I wanted to connect with the Italian culture was by reading Italian literature. One of the most important and influential pieces is The Divine Comedy by Dante. I have learned so much about life from this text, and I wanted to give you a little taster!

In Dante's Inferno, life for Christians is simple. There is light, and there is heavy matter. Everything that is good in life is light, for example, the stars* and heaven. Everything that is bad such as sin is heavy.

*That is why people call each other stars when they have done something great!

Your soul is naturally light but sinning can add heavy matter to it. As a result, instead of floating up to heaven when you pass away, a sinful soul would sink down to the circles of hell. Cheery, right?

But let's forget the doom and gloom for a second. The whole point of this is that life should be light! If your life is filled with hatred and despair you might not sink down to hell, but you will pull everyone's feelings down with you, and create a negative environment around you.

And this certainly will not aid you in your journey to achieving your passion!

At the end of it, life has to be simple.

That is why I enjoy productivity and mindfulness, as it's simplicity at its finest.



La Fine

To summarise, passion is what drives you to become a better person. It increases motivation and happiness exponentially. If you are able to replace those negative thoughts and feelings with positive ones (I know it's not easy but this is where meditation comes in handy!), you will be one step closer to living a free and happy life full of passion.

Grazie mille for reading and I hope you can find a passion that will drive you to be motivated!

The Productive Pilgrim


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