Ciao again from Siena,
Well, considering today is my First Anniversary (celebrating my first Month in Italy) I thought it fitting to send another email. Gosh, it seems unbelievable that a month could go by so quickly.
Today was the start of week two of my Italian lessons and I am now in a class of four students. Lucy left on Saturday and I am now with a New Zealand couple (Roger and Julie) and a young German girl (Stefanie). We are more on the same level, so today’s session was great. Our teachers are insisting that we speak only Italian in the class, so there are many pauses as we all try and think of what to say. Or more importantly, how to say it? There are many laughs along the way and much praise when we all say something remotely intelligent!
Last week, for some reason, my Italian conversations in class always seemed to involve food and photos!! Last Thursday our homework was to write 10 sentences using variations of the verb, “Devere” (Must) and Potere (Can).
Examples of four I wrote were:
1. Io Devo mangiare sempre (I must always eat).
2. Noi dobbiamo andare in qualche posto per mangiare (We need to go somewhere to eat).
3. Io posso fare tante cose con photoshop (I can do lots of things with photoshop).
4. Noi possiamo andare insieme per fare foto, si vuoi (We can go together to take photos if you like)
Okay, to be completely truthful, I wrote out sentences that I thought meant the above, and needed a little (?) refinement by the teacher to get them to actually look like the above. But in the end, the teacher was well aware that the two current priorities in my life are food and photography (considering all 10 sentences were written about both!!!)
Now, the food part is hardly my fault. When we have a morning tea break, all the students currently at the school head down to the bar (small café) for a coffee and/or treats for about half an hour. It is the perfect way to mingle with others at the school, and of course to eat!!
The school also organizes an excursion to a small village once a week. So on Thursday afternoon we went to a town called Volterra. The drive out to Volterra was just beautiful. The landscape of gorgeous green hills was all too much for me. I had to ask that we stop for a photo!! Okay, many photos!! And then before I knew it, I started taking portrait photos of everyone against the backdrop of gorgeous patchwork-like hills. I could live there…..aaahhhhh……ooooohhhhhhhh….hang on……hhhhmmmm…. I don’t recall seeing too many shops in-between the farm houses….okay, it was a nice country drive!!!
However, my Saturday excursion was very exceptional!!! Two other ladies from the school and I decided we should reward ourselves with a day trip to Florence!!!!!! One hour and 15 minutes on the bus and we were in Florence!!! Am I in Heaven??? One hour and 15 minutes from Cairns and I find myself in Tully!!!!!!!! The only similarity I can find is that Tully probably has as many Italians living there as Florence!!
Oh, the markets of Florence… where I was of course forced by my shopping companions to purchase a black leather handbag J. It was just so functional and lightweight and suited to travelling…and just perfect! It also fits many things…like the very cute scarf that found its way in there as well. Again, not my fault. I am simply trying to keep up with the fashion over here. I saw a lady walking by with the very same scarf on and it looked so amazing on her, that I just knew it would also look wonderful on me. I marvel at how similar it was to just looking at myself in the mirror???
Oh Oh Oh, let’s not mention the heart palpitations I felt when we reached the jewellery markets!!! Don’t faint Mum…I actually resisted this time. I did have to wipe some dribble off the store window that I leant up against though. To console myself I made a little promise that I will revisit Florence again closer to the time that I return home to Australia. That will give me time to work out in what manner I should reward myself for being so patient?? Shall I require ‘bling’ to hang from my ear lobes; or adorn my neckline; or caress my slender long fingers??? Oh, decisions, decisions!!!
Now, in my usual fashion, I started chatting to the other passenger s that were seated on the bus next to me (both on the way to Florence and the return). I took note of the lady who was on the previous bus trip (last email) and ensured that I took many breaths between sentences to give the other person a chance to speak! The first lady was from Siena and could speak English, so that was easy enough. The other lady spoke only Italian. I managed to tell her that I was doing an Italian language course in Siena and to my delight; she used to be a teacher (for 40 years)!! So, I scored myself an hour’s free personal tuition! She kept correcting my grammar as we spoke and was most encouraging with my progress.
My luck with locating professional photographers for personal tuition is also overwhelming! My flat mate Magdalena was doing a course at the University and another student was a professional photographer (John) from Melbourne. So we all went out for dinner last Friday night and then on Sunday, I spent 4 hours wandering around Siena with John while he pointed out all the best photography locations in the city centre. It was great!!! I also found two gorgeous Argentinean male models (dressed as tourists) that welcomed posing for a photo for me (after I told them how simply adorable they looked and my young female friends in Cairns would be most appreciative of a photo). I am including this photo on the email!!! Note the word ‘love’ on my T-shirt. I was truly feeling the love!!! Enjoy.
My personal Italian tuition has also continued with Mauro. We have enjoyed many more walks around the city centre while I practice my Italian. I seriously feel like I am living the ‘Eat, Pray, Love” movie!!! Can life get any better than this!!!!
I am also building up the “new” friend count. I got along fabulously with a lovely German lady Tamara who was here for the week. We spent a couple of evenings having drinks/dinner together and she came to Florence with me. She spoke about her husband and daughter and wanting to find a new job. I spoke about my passion for photography and search for love?? She then provided me with the Italian term for “the man of your dreams”….she said the term was … “il principe azzuro”. Hhmmm, I just checked that on google translation and it came up as “Prince Blue”??? I will ask my teacher tomorrow! It’s best that I am not running around telling everyone I am searching for a blue Prince!!
Anyway, that’s about it for now.
Even though I am living a dream, I still think of you all very often and miss you dearly.
Love Joy xx