Friday, 3 October 2008

The Italian Narrative Officially Begins

Dear readers,

If I ever had any reservations about coming to Italy, I take them back now. After nine long hours on the Eurostar and a dreamless sleep, only now, on the following afternoon, I am starting to realize what a stunning country I have chosen to visit. Sitting here gazing out of my bedroom's massive bay windows, I can see the famous Monte del Cappuccini church sitting purposefully on top of the tallest and most distant hill. It is the centrepiece of Torino with its large white base and dome shaped top, and appears on many postcards from the area. Fanning downward from the church's base are a mixture of autumn tinted trees and little houses with ruddy red roofs, and at the very bottom runs a road piled with cars driving too fast for the well-being of the average Italian pedestrain. Along the road, people walk and talk, greeting even complete strangers with a joyous "bonjourno!" before going about their daily business. Flower vans full of roses decorate the corner of the street. The sun, too, is brilliant in the sky, and all of Torino seems to shine white in response.

But I am getting ahead of myself, so let us return to my arrival. It was as I stood on the Torino platform pondering how I should approach lifting my 25 kilogram suitcase down a 50 step flight of stairs that I first met Ludovica, my new host mother. She came sweeping down the platform to my rescue -- a small lady not much older than me, but bursting with a kind energy found only in Italian people. To my surprise, she had brought the entire family with her - her husband Emmanuel, and my three little proteges, Marta, Pietro, and Anna, who were excitedly waiting in the car.

In the evening, after the children had gone to bed, Ludovica and her husband made me a dish of pasta slathered in olive oil, basil, cheese, and nuts. It is a family speciality which I have sworn to make my own, though Emmanuel jokes about Ludovica's tendency to overcook the pasta. At the dinner table, we decide, as a project from this point on, that we will label absolutely everything in the house with both the English and Italian equivalent, just to increase our knowledge of each other's languages. We also agreed that no matter how much Italian the children speak to me, I must always respond to them in English. That way, their English ability will grow by leaps and bounds, and I too, out of linguistic interest, will be able to keep track of their progress. As for my Italian, Ludovica promised to speak with me in Italian whenever I wish, and I plan on finding a school for lessons as soon as possible.

I will write again soon, but first, I must get back to the kitchen - I smell pizza and I cannot resist!


P.S. My camera conveniently decided to pop its clogs while I was on the train to Torino, so I may not be able to post pictures for a short while! (Or at least until I get the money for a new camera...)

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