Sundays with Schoolhouse Moms Interview 3: Theresa Lindo

The first time I met Theresa, it as an unusually joyous occasion for us both. After meeting a friend of mine at the museum, she'd called and introduced herself, then come over a few days later for a playdate with our oldest son. When she came, she had her three small children in tow. She rang the buzzer downstairs, and I squinted at the image on our call system. "Flavi!" I shrieked after I'd buzzed the door open and made sure I'd hung up, "she kinda looks!" "You?" he responded, puzzled. I nodded and ran to the door.

What emerged from the elevator was nothing short of a delight for me...three adorable kids who beared an uncanny resemblance to our oldest son. Before they had a chance to run inside I yelled, "Noah! Your cousins are here!" The last one out of the elevator was Theresa...she looked up at me, gave a sorta, "No way," kind of look, and sighed. "Hey girl!" I joked with all the familiarity one would use with a friend they've known since forever, and threw my arms open. We hugged and I invited her in for an evening filled with great conversation, hot chocolate, legos, and snacks.

I'm sure you'll enjoy reading the interview below--

Name: Theresa Lindo
Occupation: International/Government Relations Professional

How long have you been in Rome and what brought you here?
4.5 years. Family.

Where are you from and how many languages do you speak?
The U.S. by way of Jamaica. 5: English, Spanish and Italian fluently, Portuguese pretty well, French so-so.
You polyglot, you! (shaking fist in the air) Tell me about your family background and structure...
My Italian partner and I have three sons together (dual Italian/US citizens), in addition to a fourth son from a previous relationship, and a golden retriever named Harry Potter.

How do you all approach language in your home?
The children almost always hear Italian from dad, with a few exceptions, and English from mom, also with a few exceptions, which are almost always to accommodate cultural differences.

Which language are the kids more dominant in and why?
They are more dominant in Italian for a couple reasons. For one, I am the only one they almost ever hear English from and being an army of one is challenging. For another, the eldest doesn't live with us permanently and he doesn't speak much English which means, at their young age when imitation of older brother is key, they mostly speak Italian with each other. To be sure, all my boys understand English perfectly, and when necessary, surprise me with how much they can regurgitate on command.

How do you think languages are best learned? How did you learn the languages you speak?
Immersion. That's how I learned all the languages I speak and none of them were spoken in my home growing up. The more contact points and immersion experiences a person has with languages, the better. It's the difference between a person understanding a foreign language and being able to speak it. Unless it is actively used, it's almost never fully acquired.
I agree wholeheartedly with the importance of contact points, immersion experiences, and active use of language. Those things really make the difference between just competency and complete fluency in a language.

Which English Schoolhouse course option are you choosing for the fall and why?
The in-home option with the teacher being sent from the school to my home is the only option for us because of the long commute from our house to the school.
Cool! You'll be using English-to-go!

Now the fun stuff...
Where do you like to shop in Rome?
We lived in the Centro Storico off Campo dei Fiori for our first few years back in Rome and we're still partial to the shopping experience in that entire area, from Piazza Navona to Via Veneto and everything in between.

What are your top 3 favorite restaurants in the city?
 My partner is from Naples and I have to say the closest we seem to get to real Napolitano pizza is Fratelli la Buffala. Next comes Gianfornaio (I believe they have 3 locations. We favor the one in Ponte Milvio) for its quick service and the versatility of its dining options. Last but not least is Roscioli ( on Via dei Giubbonari off Campo dei Fiori for its unbelievably good quality of wines, cheeses, cured meats/cold cuts, appetizer combos, baked goods, pastas, fish and meat dishes, as well as its consistently excellent service.

What's your favorite place to take your kids to?

Either Villa Borghese because it's so huge and we can take our dog along too, or Villa Ada if we leave doggy at home (Villa Ada has a strict leashed-at-all-times rule for dogs, which doesn't allow ours to run around and frolic with us and the kids the way they can at Villa Borghese) because it's just so down-right gorgeous and peaceful and safe for the kids.

What's their favorite place to go?
Anywhere there's ice cream and pizza, which is everywhere in Rome!

Any good recommendations for a date night out?
Strolling around the Centro Storico takes the cake every time. There are so many fun things to do and see, and great places to go to eat. It's got something for everyone!

In your opinion, what's Rome's best kept secret?
The English Schoolhouse! Seriously, all cheesiness aside, when I first met you and Flavi it was like homecoming! And after a couple hours with you in just an informal play-date setting, you were all my older children could talk about for weeks (of course my youngest doesn't count since at 1 year old, he wasn't saying much of anything at the time)! Of course, it helps that Noah is perfect and he was all I would talk about for weeks :-)
Thank you! What a sweet compliment.

If you have a little bit of time to yourself, how do you normally spend it?
Time was when I would have answered, unequivocally, READING. I'm (I was) a voracious reader and one of those immerse myself and don't come up for air till I'm done kind of readers. But now I'd be kidding myself if I didn't recognize that if I happen to have any time to myself I prefer to spend it BY MYSELF :-) In a household with 4 very small children who always have a question (or 20) or a runny nose or potty trips or snacks/meals to eat or hands to wash, or soccer games to stage in our hallway or favorite books to pull off the shelf so mommy can read it to them or toys they have to play with RIGHT NOW etc., the quiet of their nap time is when I just sit and recollect myself, and then re-energize for the next stretch.

What's your favorite app?
The maps app. I'd get hopelessly lost without it :-)

Favorite children's book?
Anything Mother Goose still ranks high up there for me, as well as most of Hans Christian Andersen, and Aesop's Fables. Classics!

What was the last book you read and how would you rate it?

Kenn Follet's The Pillars of the Earth and its sequel, World Without End. Fantastic, sink your teeth into, not finished in a heartbeat books. I highly recommend them.

Anything else you want to add? Shameless plug?
For those who live in Rome, though it's got so many virtues, like any big city it can certainly be challenging. For a soothing getaway, I recommend Il Palazzetto ( in Gubbio. Beautiful.

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