I think every language course includes this sentence: the cat is on the table. No?
Luckily and unexpectedly, the school got back to me on Sunday night, just as I was planing my delicious day trip to Positano on a sunny day (finally no more torrential rain!!), so I dutifully changed my fun plans, and instead set the alarm for 7am to catch the first bus to Salerno for Italian classes.
Where I want to be v Where I am. So close but so far!!
Naturally, there were road works and traffic, so I sprinted down Via Roma (all roads seem to be called a derivative of this) and after a quick espresso I hopped across the road through a small door within a big door ( whilst taking delight in the fact that I had a real reason to burst through this ancient door!) and up the stairs two at a time – harking back to Law School days of running late for lectures after running from St Georges College!!
I was greeted by Tiziana who got me signed up, paid and i quickly sat the assessment to determine my level – zero – since the only answer I knew was “how old are you” thanks to Luca.
Then, in a surreal moment, my teacher Alessia took me down a hallway in the school to my class where the whole class was waiting for me – ciao! They all smiled and I took the only seat left at the very front. It felt like a movie.
Then, the class began at full pelt and I tried to keep up. Prepositions of verbs. Great for a Monday! Arghh.
During the break, we al went over to Bar Rosa for a coffee, and I got to know my classmates. Three Swiss, one Swede, one Mexican and one Californian. The Swedish girl and I became buddies, and we sat together during the extravagant director Francesca’s introduction which was terrifying because one by one she went around asking for our name, where we are from, was it out first time in Italy? Did we like Amalfi coast? All to be answered before the whole school in Italian!!!! I’ve never been so nervous to say such simple things!!!
Anika and I afterwards went for a walk and ended up at a bar having spritz, wine and buffalo mozzarella followed by a gelato! Then we went on the historical walking tour run by the school but as it was in Italian, I managed to understand some but not all : along the lines of “Fascist style…blue marble.. Red marble…”.
I reached the point of wanting to simultaneously cry, eat pasta and stamp my foot out of my head being saturated and frustrated…so excused myself and went back to the school to use the wifi to find the bus timetable and location of departure to go home. I took refuge in the cool, dark stairwell alone and breathed a sigh of relief. Hopefully tomorrow will be ok. I’m worried I won’t be able to keep up.
I walked back towards the bus station and bought some flat ankle boots to console myself (needed them anyway because my one pair of shoes that I have here got drenched in the rain and now smell), buffalo mozzarella – my favorite, and this is apparently where it is a specialty for the region!! Then I ran after the bus and learned where it really stops (not where I was waiting – I guess there’s only one way to learn), and then attempted to do my homework on the bus while clinging to my cheese.
When I got to Fisciano, I delighted in finding my way back to my apartment without google maps, and found a little market open nearby selling tea, milk, pasta and pesto. Hooray!! Then I purchased a little notebook and sticky notes to put on objects around the house of Italian names. Mauricio will love it I just know…
As I opened the front door, I was greeted by 3 extra guests who happily helped with my homework which was prepositions to verbs. To them it was hilarious to consider anything other than the correct answer, and said it was as simple as going with what sounded good. Riiiiight.
I would say making a new friend and having small victories throughout the day like finding the bus and bus stop, finding cheese and finding tea were far more rewarding than gawking at the beautiful sights of Positano and Sorrento. Positano will always be there…and perhaps I’ll be able to go there with my new friends instead of alone!