Midterms

It’s been so long since I’ve blogged! I’m just about done with midterms (thank goodness) and will be leaving for Spring Break tomorrow night! I just have to get through my Italian midterm first. It shouldn’t be too hard, I feel like I know more than I think I do. We have been reviewing all week but nothing can prepare me for the listening part because the Italians talk so fast and it’s impossible to hear through the little speaker that my teacher plays it through. Oh well. My other three midterms were easier than I thought, and a lot shorter. Basically just 10 short answers. The teachers here really want you to pass because they know everyone is studying abroad and doesn’t care much about schoolwork while we’re here.

Last weekend was my first weekend staying here in Florence for a month, and boy was it relaxing! So nice not to have to wake up really early and get on a bus then a plane then a train etc. and we didn’t have to go out to eat every night and actually made our first “family meal” since we’ve been here! Me, Michelle and Hannah made chicken cutlets, steamed broccoli, and a new pasta dish I found on Pinterest – it was all so good! And we had leftover so we could eat it the next day too. Sunday was St. Patrick’s day and even in Florence it’s crazy! We did a bar crawl during the day and all got green shirts that have The David on them with a clover and wig on they’re cute.

Yesterday in my food & wine midterm my teacher made food for us after we finished the test and it was just this saffron risotto that was amazing!!! I had never had risotto before and I’m glad I got too, because that’s probably not something I would order out at a restaurant. I’m all about the homemade pastas. And pizza. And seafood.

Even though midterms are over tomorrow I’m actually depressed that it means we’re halfway through the semester. Tomorrow I leave for Spring Break and will be gone TEN DAYS and miss Easter 😦 and then it’s APRIL. I’m excited because I have visitors coming in April but it scares me how close this is to over. I refuse to leave! This will probably be my last blog until I come home, unless I have some time to blog from my phone while I’m travelling but I can’t promise anything!

Eastern Europe awaits!

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Volunteering

Today was the start of my volunteering!! I signed up to volunteer back in the beginning of February but it just got started this week. Every Wednesday morning from 8:30-10:30 I get to help out in an elementary class during their English lessons! I woke up early this morning to make sure I was there on time (it’s a 35 minute walk) and was surprised when I showed up that barely any adults at the school spoke English. I finally found a really nice old teacher who knew a little and he brought me to the classroom. As we were walking he told me that he used to get coffee with an American and he would speak English while the American spoke Italian to him (I should look into that). He was really cute saying how he missed those times.

The teacher of my class didn’t speak much English either so I got to use some of the Italian I know. It was surprising that once I was forced to use the language I didn’t realize how much I knew! The third graders came in soon after I got there and they were all so cute! Little kids speaking foreign languages is like the cutest thing ever I think. So then the English teacher came in (beautiful/totally stylish/really nice) and I introduced myself to the students in English. I told them my name, age, what I liked and where I was from and they understood it all! Then each of them stood up and said “My name is ___. I’m (their age). I like ___ (usually pizza).” Then the teacher gave me the textbook and told me I was in charge of the lesson! They were learning activity words and it started with me reading them and then them repeating the word. Then they had to match pictures with sentences that rhymed. For example, “I play tennis with Dennis”. I was amazed at how smart they all were and all very quiet. No one shouted out and they all politely raised their hands to answer. So sweet!

After that the teacher wrote “can” and “can’t” on the board and they had to say if they could or couldn’t dance, ski, play the trumpet or ride a bike. So each would stand up and come to the front of the room and say something. It was adorable because they would say something like, “I can ply thu trumpe” and the teacher would say “ask Rosie how to say it” so then I would repeat the correct order and pronunciation a couple of times until they got it. It was really cute because after two of them went they would just come up and only face me and like whisper to me what they could and couldn’t do. Some of them were really good and would get it on their first try! We’re talking 7-year-olds. I’m 20 and can’t say the majority of things i’m learning in Italian and I have it for an hour and a half 4 times a week…

We finished up with a matching game and after just a couple of hours I really fell in love with the children and just the fact that they were learning another language. Yes, I started learning Spanish in first grade but I couldn’t tell you anything about it now. Here, you’re considered ignorant if you can’t speak English! If only that were the case in America with other languages! So naturally (if you know me you know I want to have every profession ever created and always change my mind on what I want to do) as I left the school I decided I want to get another degree once I graduate in Italian language and be a teacher.

I can’t wait to see the kids next week!!

Classes Started

Two days of classes have already passed! I am obsessed with all my teachers and I can already have a conversation in Italian (an easy one!). Yesterday was Monday and I only had one class – Italian. I was kind of nervous going to it because I heard the professors speak only Italian, but my roommates reassured me that wasn’t true because how else would you know the simple words they were saying. Well they were wrong.

My professor walked into the room the first day and handed out the syllabus, asked “has anyone taken Italian before” and 10 heads shook “no”. Those were the last English words I’ve heard from her. I was absolutely mortified that first class when she just kept speaking Italian and I was so confused it like hurt my brain. I’m not used to being confused in class! But somehow, I got it. And now, two days later I can tell you my name, my age, where I’m from, the months, days of the week, seasons and tell time. WOW. I guess this really is an accelerated class! On Tuesday we had to stand up and talk about ourselves and that was only the second day! I’m so excited to learn so much more. I have this class every day and I’m really glad. Side note – my professor is the trendiest, coolest lady ever! She has the best shoes and makes a funny noise when someone slips and speaks in English and I laugh every time.

I found out today that Tuesdays are my busy busy day. I have class 9-11:30, 3-4:15 then 6-8:30. It’s not too bad because they’re all spaced out, but that many hours of classes in one day, even in Italy, is a loooonggg day. I started the day with Travel Writing, another class I was really looking forward to. It was really early in the morning for me (because I’ve been sleeping in so late…maybe I’m still jet lagged?) and the teacher had a British accent, which I obviously wasn’t expected so I was really thrown off from the start. We didn’t do much in class today, but overall it seems like a class I’ll enjoy and we get to walk around the city a lot and journal. It does have a bit of an “english class” vibe to it and by that I mean we were talking about narratives and themes (dislike) but whatever, I’ll live.

After that class I came back and napped and it was amazing.

Then I went to my Italian class again where we did our little speeches about ourselves and proceeded to not say anything in English. Rough life! Before my final class of the day I finally made it to the grocery store. I picked up eggs, oranges, bananas, grape jelly, turkey, bread and green tea all for 13 euros, which I would consider to be a deal but I’m not really sure.

My food & wine pairing class aka THE BEST CLASS EVER I CAN ALREADY TELL, was at 6. I made a lot of friends in that class right from the start! YAY! One girl was from Newton, MA – small world. The professor was wearing a purple shirt, purple eyeshadow, eyeliner and glitter so I knew I’d like her right from the start. She told us we’d be cooking every class and then eating and pairing wines. Amazing. This first class she prepared for us the poor man’s meal of pasta with onions and chile powder and I don’t like 2 out of those 3 ingredients but surprise, surprise, it was delicioso. She paired it with a rosé which was great too. Then we went on a walking tour around the city, stopping at all the best chocolate, gelato, wine etc places. We also went to the top of a department store (I forget the name but I’m definitely going back since I didn’t have my camera because who woulda thought that is where I’d end up on my first day of the class) where you get a whole view of the city and it looks like you can touch the Duomo it’s so close! We finished the tour early because it was raining but nothing could put a damper on that class (pun intended).

So Tuesdays may be my busiest days, but they’ll certainly be the best! Tomorrow I have Italian Culture & Society to look forward to, along with more Italian. Oh, and it’s the same teacher for both classes who I’m obsessed with so that’s a plus.

CIAO!