This seems to be the common saying among the people we have become acquainted with here in Anzio when they first meet Valerie and me. One of the first comments is about our Italian language skills and the response is: “Lei parla bene l’italiano…ma lui, no”. Translated this is “She speaks Italian well…but him, no”. I admit this is true as I can - at best - string words together, usually with the help of a dictionary, to convey a meaning, while my comprehension of what I hear and read is better than what I can say.
Valerie on the other hand has become detached from her dictionary and has conversations with locals where I have little idea what they are discussing. I have a lot of that “blank look” and just shake my head in agreement. For all I know I could be agreeing to painting someone’s house. She would make Giogliola, our Italian language teacher in Albuquerque, proud: I know I am proud of her skill with the Italian language. Valerie remembers words and the proper accent and pronunciation while I still stumble in these areas. She is at least at a level where there can be some interaction with locals. Ma lui, no.