lui mangia una carota (he eats a carrot) from the aperitivi NFT collection on Tezos by chiarascuro

aperitivi: insieme is dropped on

I was planning to drop my first Tezos NFT collection next month, but I found a way to push it ahead of schedule. It involved biting off more than I can chew, but that’s par for the course. Totally worth it to break new ground — one more step forward in taking over the world.

Just kidding. That wouldn’t be very decentralized.

Aperitivi is a two-part collection based on a series of 5″x7″ watercolor and acrylic paintings on paper. At the same time, I was just starting my Italian lessons on Duolingo. To help myself remember new words and phrases I was learning, I layered them into the paintings.

Apparently it was pretty effective, because now that I’ve resumed the lessons, I’m recalling some I haven’t used in years ahead of their appearances in the lessons.

Insieme (together) is the first part. These 10 images come from the photos I took while the papers were taped in groups of four or five on my drawing board. I’ve listed only nine of them on Kalamint because I accidentally minted six copies of ti amo.

ti amo, from the aperitivi NFT collection on Tezos by chiarascuro
ti amo (I love you)

What can I say? It was very late and I must have typed the wrong number in the quantity field on that one.

So instead of listing ti amo for sale, I’m giving all six copies away. I gave one to my soulie, Diarpi (AKA Cardano NOODZ), and one to someone else. The rest I’ll give to people who buy one of the other NFTs until they’re gone. Now that I think about it, it seems appropriate that’s the one I minted extras of.

Except for io inizio, which is sold, the rest are listed for 6 XTZ each.

The second part will be called a parte (apart). There are 11 of those taken of the individual papers after I separated them.

I gotta say, even though I’m not very good at it yet (it took months to learn to roll the double R) I prefer it to English. Italian tastes and smells much better. There’s no taste of cough syrup or school cafeteria spinach mixed with Peppermint Patties. No smell of that horrid Taboo perfume from the ’80s.

Most of it tastes like the best food ever. Can’t wait to be able to go to Italy.

Almost everyone who knows I’m learning a second language has asked why I chose Italian. Maybe they haven’t heard it spoken. It’s the most beautiful language I’ve ever heard, and I wanted to.

I was scared to try. That’s why I didn’t take a foreign language in high school. I didn’t think I could learn it. I’ve heard other native English speakers who grew up in the United States express the same doubts about their abilities. Being multilingual is not expected of us. Our school systems don’t prioritize it. So people like me wind up in their 40s wanting to learn a second language, but being afraid they’ll suck at it.

Of course you’re going to suck at it at first! Everyone sucked at walking at first, too. But not many of us are still crawling around on all fours, right?

When I turned 40, I got fed up with being afraid and started looking for resources. At first I was quite adverse to sounding dorky even to myself as I practiced alone. It was frustrating not to be able to roll Rs or speak as quickly or fluidly as the speakers in the app. I yelled at my phone quite a few times.

But it got better. I’d be fluent by now if I hadn’t stopped after a few months. So this time I’ll just keep going.

If you want to learn a new language but are afraid to try, apps make it easier and more intuitive than you might think.

Give it a shot. You have nothing to lose. It’s good for your brain. It’ll expand your knowledge of another culture. And it’ll make your world bigger.

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