Westminster At Lake Ridge Blog
Posted: Monday, October 12, 2015
Westminster at Lake Ridge residents learn Italian from one of their own
The members of Lucio’s class know that means, “Good morning. I would like a cappuccino, please.” The conversational Italian class meets once a week on Fridays at Westminster at Lake Ridge, and the students are also learning to appreciate Italian culture. Like many activities at the retirement community, the project was initiated by residents and is being taught by a resident.
“When the residents discovered we’re Italians, they wanted to learn more,” Lucio says. A number of residents had visited Italy, either as travelers or as part of overseas service with the military or government.
“This language program gives them a chance to keep up a presence a little bit,” he says. “We do nothing difficult, just basic conversation and appreciation of the Italian language and culture.”
Lucio and his family emigrated from Molise, central Italy, when he was 14 years old. The family lived in the Pittsburgh area for many years, and Lucio graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a degree in engineering. He moved to Northern Virginia in 1958 after taking a job with the U.S. Department of Energy. In 1986, he received an appointment from the United Nations to serve as deputy director of the Energy Division of the Economic Commission for Europe. He lived in Switzerland for nine years. In 1995, he returned to Northern Virginia.
“We bought a house near George Mason University,” Lucio says. He and his wife raised their six kids there, but after the children grew up and moved out, it became an increasing challenge to keep up the big house.
Lucio and his wife looked at a number of options for their next home. They chose Westminster at Lake Ridge because they liked the location and compact size of the community, and they were able to choose their new space from a number of options that included apartments and cottages. They moved in two years ago.
The desire to remain active and engaged that he saw in Westminster at Lake Ridge’s residents was another thing that attracted Lucio to the community. It wasn’t long before he was approached to teach the Italian class, which started last year and now is in its second session.
Nineteen residents are enrolled in the class. They are learning common Italian expressions, and Lucio arranges opportunities for them to practice their new language skills. The class visited the Italian Embassy (Ambasciata d’Italia) in D.C., had lunch at an Italian restaurant, listens to Italian opera and watches Italian movies. Lucio is also arranging a tour of some of the Italian classes taught in Prince William County Schools.
“Some of the residents suggested we go and see what it’s like,” he says. “I ask them what they would like to do. The bottom line is to have fun with these folks. If they enjoy it, they come back.”