La Tela di Carlotta
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If only the dots were numbered

Nov 17, 2014

The other day a friend of mine wrote these words,

Some crisis come unexpectedly, without being asked. They don't knock. They storm in. Sometimes I look back and wonder, Why?We stress so much in this life. And for what? Every day it's a fight between us—small dots—and the world above us that is and will always be bigger than us. Too big of a fight. Yet, every day, against every logic and statistics, we step into the ring.And maybe we wonder where we're going. What we're doing. And why.

I think these words belong to each and every one of us at some point in our lives. Because at the end of the day, we’re all the same, with the same struggles, the same fears, the same doubts, the same fights and even the same weaknesses.

When I graduated from university, I thought I was going to translate literature. I wanted to become the next Fernanda Pivano. After one and a half years of tiptoeing into what I discovered being the niche of literal translation, I finally got my first real project.

For six months, I translated Passport to Enclavia: travels in search of European identity by Vitali Vitaliev. I enjoyed every single word of it while creating my Italian version of that gorgeous travelog. It was never gonna be a best-seller—probably not even a seller—but I loved it.

I wanted it so much that I signed a contract agreeing to be paid the whole amount after I delivered the translation—how naive! The book did get published, probably even sold a few copies in Italy, but I never saw my money. Maybe, in retrospect, I should have kept at it and eventually I would have had my place into that elite world of literary translation, but for me that was the tipping point.

I needed a change

A few months before, I had started teaching English classes to a friend’s daughter. It was new, challenging, motivating and I loved it. So I decided to give it my best shot.

I had my lovely husband make a one-page website for me, I bought some Google ads, and before I knew it, I was teaching languages full-time.

It was perfect. I spent all my time talking about what I’ve always loved the most—languages—and my days were filled with people, which reminded me of just how much I needed human interaction in my job (something that translators don’t usually get). Translation was on my mind every step of the way, until it wasn’t anymore.

Nowadays, I teach English to Spaniards, and Italian to who’s crazy enough to want to learn my native language. I teach adults in the morning in my gorgeous classroom, and kids in the afternoon on their bedroom carpets surrounded by their toys. I love it.

Over the years, I met beautiful people, including a family that’s become my very own Spanish family. I spent a lot of time with kids, who taught me just how important it is to find the little Peter Pan hidden in everyone of us. I learnt so much about languages, people, business and relationships. It’s been a very rewarding journey and I feel extremely lucky.

Yet, I can’t help but wonder, ‘Where is this going?’

Am I going to teach one-on-one classes all my life? And what happens when I have kids—will I still want to spend my afternoons with other people’s kids? But most importantly, do I want to teach languages for the rest of my life?

Most days, I think the answer is yes—why not? And then there are days or even weeks when I’m not so sure, when I have to force myself to open the door to my first student in the morning or I’m secretly counting the minutes to the end of the class.

Steve Jobs said in what it’s always been my favourite motivational speech:

For the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” And whenever the answer has been “No” for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.

I’ve always been fascinated by these words. However, I doubt I’ll ever love my job so much as to want to spend my last day—or even half of it—doing it. I know people who would spend a few minutes of their last day and my husband is one of them. But I also know that those people are never fulfilled, they’re always striving for better skills, better results, better designs, better selves. And they love and live for it.

So I might not feel fulfilled, but then again, who does?

Maybe I don’t need to love my job so much as to want to spend my last day doing it. Maybe it’s enough to choose it day in and day out, knowing that there will be ups and downs, victories and defeats, but that, at the end of the day, looking back, we’ll have done the best we could in what we chose.

Because after all, life can only be understood backwards. Or as Steve jobs said,

You can never connect the dots looking forward; You can only connect them looking backwards.

If only the dots were numbered…

Tell me what you think

Did you like it? Do you agree or disagree? I'd love to hear from you.

The blog

I write mainly about Montessori, parenthood, and multilingualism. Here are some recent posts.

Montessori
One day a few years ago my husband came home and said, "Why don't we put a mattress on the floor in the baby room? It'd be much more natural". "Never" was my reply. That's how our Montessori journey started. Since then we've been living, breathing and applying the philosophy at home day in and day out, starting from ourselves. Because educating children starts from the parents.
Bean and seed mosaic
I'm not perfect. I'm aware
DIY yoga cards for kids
Children at the restaurant: let's recalibrate expectations
Don't ask your children to share their toys
Those "good job" that erode our children's confidence
Our Montessori birthday
Two alternatives to screens that my kids love
Using fear and threats to control children is never right!
"Stop crying!" doesn't work
Living sustainably
Living sustainably for me doesn’t only mean to have a more eco-friendly lifestyle. It means to make decisions that are sustainable for our planet, the people on it, but also for our life, our lifestyle, and our happiness. It means to take any daily chance to evolve and be happier, healthier, kinder, more responsible and more caring human beings—the only sustainable way for a meaningful future.
Face yoga is an act of self love
Why you should wear the same outfit twice on Instagram
The power of creating habits (and why you should do it, even if you then break them!)
Responsible eating is the diet of the future (Would you like to teach it to your kids?)
The power of NOT complaining: can you do it for a whole month?
Clean up your planet, please!
Infographic: 8 steps to switch to cloth nappies (a guide for reluctant parents)
A personal note on happiness
A personal note on social media
A change of life always widens your horizons
New to La Tela?
I’ve prepared collections on various topics that I’ve written over the years. Perhaps you’ll find one that interests you.

Travel

We sold everything to travel the world for two years. We're currently in New Zealand.

Books

In 2020 I wrote 4 books for the Italian collection “Gioca and Impara con il metodo Montessori” curated by Grazia Honegger Fresco. The collection is a project by Il Corriere della Sera and La Gazzetta dello Sport.

We also implemented the workshops of the last 15 volumes of the collection with Oliver and Emily.

Podcast

On my podcast, “Educare con calma”, I talk about various topics, from Montessori to sustainability. Only in Italian!

Oct 16, 2020 • 19m
La nostra routine con i bimbi
Mi chiedete spessissimo quale sia la nostra routine a casa con i bimbi e in questo episodio vi svelo che noi, una routine vera e propria, non ce l'abbiamo. Abbiamo una routine minima e indispensabile, che è un concetto che mi sono totalmente inventata su due piedi mentre parlavo a briglia sciolta in questo episodio, ma che credo funzioni davvero. Almeno per noi. La routine minima e indispensabile, secondo me, risponde anche a un altro "problema": trovo che ci bombardino spesso con l'idea del...
11
Oct 9, 2020 • 24m
Sostenibilità: come sensibilizzare i bambini e i giovani adulti | Con Cristiana Cerri Gambarelli
In questa puntata a due voci di Educare con Calma – divisa a metà perché amo gli episodi corti - parliamo di sostenibilità e per farlo ho invitato mia sorella, Cristiana Cerri Gambarelli, project manager della Federazione dei Giovani Verdi Europei e un esempio per chiunque voglia intraprendere un viaggio nella sostenibilità: negli ultimi ha cambiato tutta la sua vita per ridurre la sua impronta di carbonio e per prendere ogni giorno decisioni più sostenibili per il nostro pianeta e in questa ...
10
Oct 2, 2020 • 24m
Intraprendere un viaggio nella sostenibilità | Con Cristiana Cerri Gambarelli
In questa puntata a due voci di Educare con Calma – divisa a metà perché amo gli episodi corti - parliamo di sostenibilità e per farlo ho invitato mia sorella, Cristiana Cerri Gambarelli, project manager della Federazione dei Giovani Verdi Europei e un esempio per chiunque voglia intraprendere un viaggio nella sostenibilità: negli ultimi ha cambiato tutta la sua vita per ridurre la sua impronta di carbonio e per prendere ogni giorno decisioni più sostenibili per il nostro pianeta e in questa ...
9

Instagram

I update Instagram almost every day to be "close" to my family far away.

Why La Tela di Carlotta?
I dreamed of the name La Tela di Carlotta. One morning I woke up and in my dreams I had created a blog named just like the American novel (Charlotte's Web). Many years and endless ups and downs later, this web of thoughts and stories is my work. It took me a long time to understand what kind of online presence I wanted and today I know: I'm transparent, I show real life, I don't advertise, I only recommend sustainable brands (and not only because they pay me) and I believe in the value of my blog and my courses—because if we don't believe in the value of our work, no one will believe in it for us.
Carlotta
Carlotta dreaming of La Tela
I know! I don't want it to be over yet either.