28 June 2006

First few days of language school

We started our Italian language class in Ascoli Piceno on Monday which will be two weeks of intensive instruction for four hours Monday thru Friday. “Intensive” classes mean that the classes are taught in Italian, no English is allowed and it is four continuous hours of Italian only. Needless to say my brain hurts by the end of the class each day from trying to conjugate regular and irregular verbs, learn genders of nouns (all nouns in Italian have a gender) as well as various useful phrases.

On Monday Valerie and I went to the school in the morning as instructed for a quick assessment of our language skills. This first meeting consisted of the two of us as well as three other students. After two quick questions in Italian by the school director, Valerie was asked to leave the room as she was the only one who knew how to respond and I found myself with my new classmates for the next two weeks. They are Ben and Jacoba, a young couple from Sidney Australia and Michael, a student from London. Ben and Michael have relatives in the area with whom they are staying with. Obviously we all speak English but we are only allowed to speak Italian in ear-shot of our teachers. We are all at a similar level in our lack of language skills and each has some strengths that the others do not.

Valerie’s class is a more advanced group and her classmates are a woman from Poland and a man from Mexico. She definitely has the harder class to comprehend as there is no common language for her or the instructor to fall back on, except for Italian.

Our classes take place from 3 to 7 PM and it has been close to 90 degrees each day with high humidity. Being from New Mexico the heat alone would not be an issue for us but the humidity has us constantly sweating. Fortunately our classes are held in the lower level of a stone building in the medieval town center so it tends to be cool during class.

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