Last week the final stretch of classes commenced, and what a relief it has been. To give you an idea of the new velocity we’re learning out, here’s a rundown of the first week:
-Due to the time at which my schedule was given to me, I missed the first lesson. Three hours. In those three hours, I missed approximately five different past tenses, all of which I had expected to be covered over the entire month. On a related note, I am coming to appreciate the simplicity of English verbs.
-The difficulty of discussion has advanced: rather than spending the entirety of three months talking about what we did over the weekend (vocabulary barriers tend to deaden a conversation) we spent one class talking about xenophobia around the world and another discussing euthanasia.
-I feel the need to study! It’s a fantastic thing. The motivation no longer has to be entirely internal.
The biggest difference of all between the classes is the speaking level of everyone in the class. While before we had a wide range (skilled to barely uttering syllables) everyone is much more ahead, with the exception of our Australian friend Tim who is quite a hoot: maybe in his 70’s, speaks as if unaware that an Italian accent exists, but with a reading level far ahead of all of us. He casually dropped once that he’d read a number of books in Italian, and it shows in his eclectic use of massive words.
Metaphor of a moment of introspection
Other things going on in my life: I visited Milano, one of the most modernized cities in the country. It was a fantastic experience, because I got to see what a “modern” city in Italy would be like. Originally I had imagined grey, dark streets and towering skyscrapers that blocked out the sun. In fact, the city managed to combine the beauty of most Italian cities with modernity, transforming it into perhaps one of my favorite cities. Not to mention the fantastic Argentinian burgers I ate there.
First Mall of the World!
Beautiful Stained Glass from Milan's Duomo
I woke up this morning refreshed from a day of relentless traveling, rain soaked socks and backpack wearing shoulders to find myself in the shadows of the Piedmont mountains under a glorious sun on this, the most important day in the Christian world. Easter. Pasqua. This is especially relevant in Italy, a city home to the head of the Catholic church and with a high percentage of Catholics (practicing or otherwise).
To arrive in the north of Italy, I took my first flight with Ryan Air, which was expedient enough to Milan, with the only catch being that I sat through a solid hour or stewardesses pitching sales for all of the things that are apparently necessary for a 40 minute flight (headphones, caffe’, panini, and my favorite: lottery scratch-off cards). Our bus from the airport to the city outpaced the storm clouds sweeping across the region, and we scraped together about an hour of rain-free touring.
In Torino, the city famed for its world class soccer team, we strolled to a local church to celebrate Mass. Like every church in the United States it was packed beyond capacity. After asking, I found that there is no Italian synonym for “Chreasters,” but that the idea is well understood.
After a fantastic morning, involving a walk through the old Fiat factory-turned-mall, we reposed in the apartment of my family friends to a lunch brimming with the most delicious foods: meat balls in tomato sauce, zucchini, carrots, fresh salad, a type of keish made from nettles (it was counter intuitively good), beef filled ravioli and more deserts than my stomach could handle. All of this occurred with the Vatican mass droning on in the background, the soft-spoken words of Pope Benedict XVI blessing the world on this sacred day.
And now, with my eyes drooping as I resist the urge to fall into a blessedly-stuffed nap, I attempt to read a bit of an Italian newspaper, quietly amazed that any of this is happening to me, but careful to avoid questing a good thing.
Tagged: Andrew Erlandson, easter, Juve, lunch, mass, milan, milano, pasqua, ryan air, ryanair, serene, torin, torino, tranquil, travel