Friday, July 17, 2009

Last Day in Venice

July 17, 2009

I was going to do individual posts for the last couple of days but I decided to just do a post covering the last couple of days. It is not only faster but less trouble both to the reader and to the writer and takes less time when you are paying for your internet time.

The weather in Venice continues to be hot and humid. I should be used to this since normally it is hot and humid in Champaign in July although they are having cool and wet weather there at the moment as I hear every time I read my e-mail or log onto Facebook. I would probably complain like everyone else if I were there but since air conditioning isn't very common here, hot and humid is really bad so I am complaining about the weather here instead. The fan in our small apartment helps but getting our clothes dry when we wash them is difficult and my mold allergy is acting up.

I am also finding that being allergic to wheat is definitely not a good thing in Italy. For our last day of class, Rosella Mamoli Zorzi, who is the director of La Dante in Venice brought little pizzas and spumante. This was very nice except that of course I couldn't eat the pizza and I had to explain why I couldn't eat the pizza which meant I had listen to an explanation about wheat originating in the Mediterranean (in Italian), which I already knew, and commiseration about not being able to eat pizza, pasta, dolci, etc.

Class was ok except for more exercises on prepositions. I have decided I hate prepositions in Italian! Conversation is fine except for all the mistakes but you just get corrected and go on and hope you get better over time. You can only really internalize the language in conversation by using it in conversation so the more we talk, the more we learn.

We had a busy couple of days. On Wednesday afternoon we went to Palazzo Grimani in Campo Santa Maria Formosa. Since we didn't have time to go home for lunch, we ate at the snack bar there, which was a mistake. We should have known better, having been there last year. Peter's panino was ok but my salad, which they forgot for about half an hour, then brought the wrong one which had to go back for the right one, was unspeakably bad. I have never had grit in an insalata caprese before. Anyway, it was inedible. We went elsewhere for gelato since I refused to give them any more of our money. The palazzo has just been renovated and is very interesting. The Grimani family was particularly interested in Roman antiquities so there are a lot of copies of Roman statutues, etc. from the sixteenth century and some beautiful ceilings that are very like those in Mantova at the Palazzo Ducale. However, since there is no temperature and humidity control, you have to wonder how well the restorations will last.

In the evening it was very hot so we just had salads for dinner and went to bed early. I have been so tired that I have been very crabby and learning has been very difficult. In fact, staying upright has been difficult.

I did feel better on Thursday, partly because I slept better on Wednesday night. Going to bed earlier did make a difference. Class went better as well since we started doing more conversation by that time. On Wednesday it was still more grammar and exercises and less conversation but on Thursday the balance finally shifted in favor of conversation. However, it was so hot in the classrooms that we finally adjourned to the bar down the road and finished class there, having a cool drink while we talked. I had to convince Diego and Will that there were ten good reasons why they should visit Champaign. Will had to give ten reasons to visit Ireland and oddly he had as much trouble as I did. I also I had say why I wanted to visited Dublin.

In the afternoon Peter was too tired to do the cultural activity, which was visiting a private house. I couldn't go because I had made an appointment to have my hair cut. I did a bit of shopping first, buying a dress and a couple of scarves. I then told the hairdresser, who is my friend Susy's hairdresser, that I wanted my hair shorter but not too short. I don't know what he thought I meant but it is now what I consider pretty short. Peter likes it. I am not sure what I think. Anyway, I will have to decide whether or not to let it grow out again. It is cute, but it is really short. Afterwards we decided to have dinner out at the restaurant in Campo San Tomà. We split a salad and then we each had an order of gnocchi with salmon. It was very good. I really like gnocchi and fortunately it is made with potatoes so I can eat it. It was our really nice dinner out in Venice although I would guess that our dinner out the night before we leave will be nice too, just because we are staying at the Marriott at the airport.

Today we had the afternoon free so I decided to buy the other dress that I liked and a book on interesting stories about Venice by Shaul's coauthor on the Shakespeare in Venice book, Alberto Toso Fei. I walked a lot and didn't drink enough water so by the time I met Peter at the internet point, clutching my bottle of water from Billa, I was feeling a bit lightheaded.

At 6 pm we are meeting Paolo, Peter's instructor, for a walk around Cannereggio that ends in San Polo at Campo Santa Margherita for a final prosecco and a goodbye to the class. I think we will all be there except Will. He had to go to Torino to meet a colleague about writing a grant proposal. And then a week of barging and biking--a definite change from going to school!

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