Friday, 21 November 2008

Random Smatterings of Update

Since I am sitting here without a specific theme in mind, I thought I might enlighten you all to the events of the past week.

First of all, the reason for my absence is that I have been as sick as a dog. Not once. But twice within the course of a week and a half. It is one of those colds that rears its ugly head for a day or two, decides to take a break during the subsequent two days to gather strength, and comes back with a vengeance to incapacitate its victim. Okay, so maybe I sound like I am describing an unreleased Harry Potter sequel, but the yearly routine of coming down with bronchitis-type symptoms is really starting to become a bore. It doesn't help that all three kids have the same infliction, and we can only pray that Ludovica and Emanuele's habit of "tocca ferra" (knocking on metal instead of wood) will keep them safe.

This dreadful cold, however, has not stopped me from going out and enjoying myself. This past weekend, I had a wonderful dinner at a pizzeria with some friends of Marco and Mathieu, during which I spoke more Italian than I had ever spoken previously. I give thanks in particular to one of Mat's female friends who is not a native Italian, but speaks the language better than most. ("She can EVEN use the conjunctive!" is the line that was admirably used to describe her!) Being foreign herself, she could empathize with the feelings of a foreigner in a strange land, and as such, patiently listened to everything I tried to say, and corrected me whenever necessary, without once switching over to English.

I also had my first "aperitivo" experience in Italy. An "aperitivo" is the equivalent of "happy hour" in Canada. You basically pay seven euros up front, and with that payment you receive one alcoholic beverage and all you can eat at the buffet table. Not a bad deal if you are hungry, but unfortunately, I had eaten beforehand being under the impression that the seven euros included "all you can drink" as well. (My, I am an optimistic soul, am I not?) So, after chugging back the first drink, I sat there twiddling my thumbs wondering whether I should invest in another. After all, I assumed, it couldn't be THAT expensive. (Scratch the last bracketed comment. I am optimistic AND naive!) Unfortunately, the beer I ultimately decided to purchase was the same price as the "all you can eat" deal, and while my sunken and shrivelled expression gained me a two euro discount from the owner, I was still five euros out of pocket for a drink I could have bought at the supermarket for a quarter of the price. Yes, aperitivo bars are great social meeting places, but if you plan to drink, take your time and money elsewhere.

As for news regarding the children and their English, I am sensing great improvement all three. Yesterday, when Pietro and Marta stayed home from school to recover from their colds, we reenacted a number of the scenes from Sesame Street - specifically the skit between Grover as a waiter at a restaurant, and Big Blue, the customer. I was shocked at their ability to recall much of what was said between the two characters, despite not really knowing where word boundaries begin and end in English. In Pietro's case, in particular, he tends to interpret phrases such as "Just a moment sir!" as single words, and runs the words together as a result. However, he has associated meaning with these clumps of words, and that is what is most important for progression. I have also noticed that the children will now willingly answer me in English, demonstrating to me an interest and a confidence in their own ability to communicate that wasn't present before. It also helps that all three children have, as Ludovica puts it, "fallen in love with me" and will do anything in their power to impress. And what better way to impress than to speak the language of the person they love! This being said, they still have their moments of stubborn pride. For instance, if you ask them outright if they like English , they will completely deny having an interest and will adamantly insist that anything English related is "brutta" (horrible). It seems that even children have a reputation to maintain!

Last but not least, I have decided to go and see a Zucchero concert on December 16th! I still don't know if I will be accompanied by anyone, but at the end of the day, it doesn't matter if I am alone or with ten people. All I know is that I must take this bull by the horns, and continue to experience as much as I can of this beautiful city!

2 comments:

michelle of bleeding espresso said...

Hope you're feeling much better now; I think I'm just starting to get something nasty. Not looking forward to it.

But hey, enjoy Zucchero! Love him!!!

heather-in-italia said...

Thanks Michelle! I am sure something is circulating around Italy...and it isn't friendly. Have you ever seen a Zucchero concert? My friends have told me he is amazing to see live!

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