Sundays with Schoolhouse Moms Interview 10 with Ilaria Tarquinio, A Young Roman Mom

When Ilaria and I first met, which wasn't that long ago, we immediately clicked.  I love those moments in life, when you make an unexpected connection to another person and you know it's the beginning of a friendship.  Enjoy her interview!

Name: Ilaria Tarquinio

Occupation: Administrative Assistant

How long have you been in Rome and what brought you here? I was born in Rome and I’ve always lived here-

Where are you from and how many languages do you speak? I’m Italian, from Rome. I speak three languages.

Have you lived anywhere else other than Rome?
Unfortunately not, except for very short periods (3 weeks)

Tell me about your family background and structure: 

My husband is half Italian/half African (Guinea). We have been together for more than 10 years and we have two boys. The eldest is almost 3 and the youngest is 8 months old.

How did you approach language in your home while raising your kids?
I try to be very spontaneous. I’m in love with languages and what I’m trying to convey to my children is first of all this feeling, this passion.

Which language are your children more dominant in and why? More dominant in Italian-- but this is normal since we live in Italy and they go to Italian schools and all my family speaks Italian.

How do you think languages are best learned? How did you learn the languages you speak?

Motivation is everything and a little bit of luck with teachers is a big help. However, nothing can beat living abroad and being in a daily contact with the language. I learnt to speak the languages I know thanks to my deep motivation and love for communicating.

What schoolhouse course option are you considering for the fall and why?  I still need to decide but maybe afternoons at the schoolhouse would suit our family.

Now the fun stuff...
Your English is fantastic--how did you learn the language so well? Passion, curiosity and a real love for foreign languages. I studied hard and never lived abroad unfortunately, but I’m lucky to work in an international organization which gives me the possibility to keep the language up.

What are your top 3 favorite restaurants in the city? Agricoltura nuova (bio); L’Archeologia; Taverna Trilussa.

You're a young mom living in Rome--what's the experience of motherhood like for you in this city? I love Rome but this city is not tailor-made for mums and kids. The beauty of spending an unplanned evening walking in the city center surrounded by ruins and explaining to your son what they represent means you can touch the history, which to me is priceless and.. you forget all the logistic nightmares of this city.

What's your favorite place to hang out? Oasi della birra in Testaccio, it is nice for a drink to chill out.

Any good recommendations for a date night out? I’ve been a little bit out of this “movida” in the last 3 years, but as soon as my youngest gets a little bigger I’ll update you..

If you could live anywhere else in the world, where would it be and why?
My first answer would be anywhere. I always thought any place would be special but I would probably like to live in West Africa or South America.

In your opinion, what's Rome's best kept secret? Rome is filled with tiny picturesque streets, the fact that almost every corner you turn there is a “piazzetta” or fountain that takes your breath away.

If you have a little bit of time to yourself, how do you normally spend it? Going out with friends, a massage to relax, cinema to be transported to another place.

What's your favorite app?
Shazam! It can identify music anywhere: from TV, radio or in a bar. With Shazam you can discover and buy music tracks, find tour dates for tagged artists and get music recommendations.

What website do you waste the most time on? - for the best deals on English learning tools for my boys!

What's your favorite magazine?

Favorite children's book?
Oh no… I have too many!!

Lost and Found by Oliver Jeffers: with a unique writing and illustrative style, it’s a joyful exploration of the power of friendship.

Monkey puzzle by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler: a clever story about motherly love.

Favorite song to dance to? It depends on the mood.. but in this period I would say John Legend, Tonight. My son and I sing and dance to it together!

What was the last book you read and how would you rate it? Coping with Two. It is full of sensible tips and down-to-earth advice.

Anything else you want to add? Shameless plug? I was a curious child, my mum used to tell me that I always told her I wanted to speak all the languages in the world because I wanted to communicate and understand everybody. Then I knew already I would have married a foreigner because I wanted to share my culture with someone with a different background from mine. I think that’s why I’m so attracted by other cultures and the language tells a lot about its people.
You and I definitely have this perspective in common!

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