Ahhh … la bella lingua Italiana. Don’t you just love the way the romance rolls off of your tongue and how even the taxi driver sounds sexy when he’s giving directions and over-estimating your cab fare?
Italian is one of the most beautiful languages in the world and I’m not the first woman to fall in love with a man who spurt its potion. Lucky for me, that man also gushes his sweet nothings in English … so he is a keeper.
I’ve come a long way in the three years since I’ve lived in Calabria. I’ve gone from exaggerated hand gestures and speaking entirely in the infinitive, for example “io andare a supermercato,” and can even throw in an advanced grammar structure and use “voi” in group situations.
But I’m not *that* fluent.
That is why I was eager to register for a free advanced Italian course paid for by the EU and given through a local school in Catanzaro Lido. I signed up for the course in March, and like some of my English-speaking comrades here in Catanzaro, was told the class would start in 10 days and they’d give me a call.
So, I waited. And waited.
Last Friday I got the call.
“The class will start Tuesday at 4:30,” she told me.
“Benissimo!” I replied. “Will the class be every Tuesday at this time?”
So I rephrased my question. “Will the class be at the same time each Tuesday?”
Again-a brief silence, then, “I’m just giving you this information now, Ma’am. They’ll have to tell you the rest.”
I should have expected no less!
A few minutes later one of my American friends called. “Did you get your call?” She asked excitedly.
“Yes!” I told her. “Next Tuesday at 4:30.”
“4:30?” She sounded surprised. “They told me 3:30!”
So Tuesday rolled around and being the ever-efficient American student I am, I called to confirm the time. After all, these conversations were in Italian and it is possible one of us misunderstood. I called the number and a young man answered, “Pronto?”
“Is this the number for the Italian class?” I asked.
“Uhm … Si.”
“What time does the class start today?” I asked.
“Uhm … 3:30.”
We headed the three kilometers to the school, notebooks in hand and were met near the entrance by a group of school employees who bombarded us with questions.
“Ohh …,” one man finally said. “You are here for the Italian class? It doesn’t start until 4:30!”
Our Italian teachers Francesca, Amalia and Paola
We finally made it to class, met with our teachers and new classmates and after several rounds of answering questions such as “Where are you from?” “How old are you?” and “What is your highest degree?” we were put in groups.
The three Americans with our shining Bachelors degrees were grouped with a retired doctor from Russia. The other four students, immigrants from Morocco and Nigeria were grouped together. In defense of this grouping system, I must add that there was a noticeable communications gap among the students-we were writing in Italian; they were learning basic vocabulary words.
So-for the next eight weeks of Tuesdays and Thursdays, yours truly will be in a classroom in Catanzaro Lido from 3:00-7:00 (Gah!) polishing her Italian skills.
Me, with California Girl, Yavette and Arizona native, Laura
So don’t try to pull any quick ones on me, Mr. Taxi Driver … I’ll be ready for you!
This is the first Italian language class I’ve ever taken. Have you taken an Italian-or any foreign language-class? What should I expect? Don’t you think four hours is torturous?