Wednesday, July 08, 2009

First Day of School

July 6, 2009

This morning felt almost normal. I managed the intermittent hot water in the shower, lighting the stove, etc. And I am as ready as you ever are to start school. I have the usual feeling of excitement mixed with trepidation, even though there are no reali risks. After all, there are no greades, transcripts, dkplomas, honor, disgraces at the end. Just the hope that you know more Italian than when you started.

I am looking at some yogurt that I bought. It was made in Italy in the area called Alto Adige or Sud Tirol. What is interesting about this container is that it is primarily in German and secondarily in Italian, with an eagle crest that, while not double-headed, does remind you of Hapsburg symbolism. All of this illustrates the continuing cultural and linguistic divisions in that area of Italy.

While school is the most important agenda item, there area a few other things I would like to accomplish today. What we ended up with out of a long list were the grocery and the internet point, contacting Shaul and Laura or at least sending them email, and finding where Susy's hairdresser works, although they were closed. I was indeed placed in the beginner class. I can't speak at the level of most of the group so we have two classes, one with four people and one with two. Peter and I are the only Americans. The others are from France, Ireland, Guatemala, and South Africa.

Our first cultural experience for the class was to meet with an elderly Venetian woman at her apartment near the Accademia for conversation and drinks. Her apartment was wonderful with a lovely terrace and garden. I was not one of the conversationalists but it was interesting to be able to be in a private residence and see another side of Venice.

We came back fairly late but I had stuff I could put together for a quick dinner. Then we did some studying. Tomorrow's outing is the Marciana, which is a very important library in Venice, begun with the donation of the the books of Cardinal Bessarion in the fifteenth century.

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