Ciao from Siena,
After another 4 great days in Roma, I have made it to Siena for my 2 week Italian Language Course. I arrived on Sunday (yesterday) by bus. The countryside was so gorgeous driving out here; I actually stayed awake for the 3 hour trip. The constant chattering of the middle aged lady across the aisle was perhaps another reason I stayed awake. I swear she did not take one breath during her conversation in the entire 2 hour trip to her destination. When she got off the bus, I looked at the young girl who had been seated beside her and she just looked back at me and said, “Mamma Mia!!!” and nursed her ears. I did wonder whether sometimes the people seated beside me do the same thing?? When I have been on my own for a few days and then find someone who can understand English, I have been known to get a little excited and maybe talk for a short while without stopping…okay long while…but I am sure they are interested in everything I say??
Siena is more beautiful than I remembered (I was here for one day, two years ago). I know I am going to love exploring this amazing city. It has a maze of narrow streets and, as the Eyewitness Travel book says, it has one of Europe’s greatest medieval squares, the Piazza del Campo. I sat in the middle of the Piazza square this afternoon having a gelati with my new room-mate, Magdalena. As I devoured my 22nd (?) gelati since arriving in Italy, I couldn’t help but reflect on how incredible it is that only 4 weeks ago I was having a gelati with my friend Anita after my last Italian lesson in Cairns and here I was in Siena having a gelati after my first Italian lesson in Italy!! Oh, apparently gelati consumption helps you to remember what you have learnt. I’m sure I read that somewhere (quite possibly when I was reading back my own email, but it does work..True God??).
The language school arranged an apartment for me and the location is just perfect. It is just a 10 minute walk to the language school and another 5 minutes to the piazza. I am staying with a 33 year old lady from Macedonia. She is so lovely and friendly; and like me, enjoys a good chat. Plus she appears to be a clean freak, so we are going to get along brilliantly!!! Come to think of it, maybe she has a tad more OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder) than I do. She started a three sponge system for washing up the dishes. One sponge for glasses, one for dishes and one for pots!!! I know for a fact that when some of my friends just read that, they were thinking that she was soon to be my next best friend!!! (yes Heidi, you were the first to think that J)
When I arrived at my apartment on Sunday, I was met by the landlord, who graciously tried to carry my bag up the skinny flight of stairs for me. However, he was struggling so much I thought he was going to burst a heart valve. I quickly helped by lifting one end of the suitcase up, as I didn’t want to be responsible for killing my first Italian landlord!!!
Oh, Oh, Oh, there are so many shops here. They just never seem to end. Every corner you turn around has more and more temptations!!!! I am so trying to be good. Will need to remind myself that I am here to learn Italian not to personally support the Siena economy. Plus, I keep thinking of those apartment stairs that I have to carry my bag down. Hhhmm, it is of course always much easier to carry the bag down a set of stairs than up…so will focus on that should the temptation to bring home a Siena souvenier become too much to resist!!! Plus I am sure by the end of the two weeks, I will have found an item of clothing that I am happy to part with so that I can purchase a new one….if not only for the reason that I should at least try to practice the special advice that Melinda provided J.
As I said earlier, today was my very first Italian lesson here in Siena. It was great as there were only two of us in the class (beginner’s class), myself and Lucy. Lucy is from Tasmania and knows less Italian than I do, so I actually feel like I need to help her. However, I got caught out whispering the answer to her today. A bit hard to do it discreetly when there are only two of you in the class!! I have two female tutors who run a session each. They are both lovely and fortunately very patient with us. I feel quite confident that by the end of the two weeks I will be able to ask more than just “Where is the toilet?” in fluent Italian.
And then there is the delightful and very handsome Mauro!!! I had been emailing Mauro from Australia when I was first signing up for the course. I think Mauro feels responsible that as I have come all the way from Australia to learn Italian that he needs to ensure that I do actually learn something while here. We caught up this afternoon for a walking tour of the City during which we spoke Italian as he showed me the sights. Again he showed much patience as he politely corrected my pronunciation. Now, wandering around a beautiful city whilst chatting to a hot Italian Casanova is surely the way Italian is to be learnt!!!!
On that note, it is way past my bed-time, so it is Ciao for now.
Oh, hang on, forgot to tell you - one fabulous thing that happened on my last day in Rome. I was walking around Rome and accidently bumped into the lovely photographer Carlo (from my first Rome email). We have now made arrangements that the next time I am in Rome we are going to catch up for a little photography shoot! How exciting is that!!! This guy has the most amazing website (Carlodegori.jimdo.com) and has become my latest Facebook friend!!