Monday, 5 December 2011
My first day of school and already, I'm running with a bad crowd.....
I should have known better. My first day of language school in Rome, and I've already fallen in with a bad crowd.
Women who eat too much and who enjoyed Eat, Pray, Love.
It all seemed so innocent, at first. After my placement test Monday morning, I was assigned to a beginner class that had begun its studies a few weeks before me. Okay, I thought -- I'm not an absolute beginner, but my language skills are erratic: some vocabulary, some verbs, many bad habits. It should be a decent fit.
Right away, there were a few misunderstandings. I could have sworn that our young teacher, Valeria, was referring to the older of the two nuns in my class as "Mother Teresa." I thought it was a little joke between the teacher and the nuns, who are from Ghana. (And yes, I realize Mother Teresa worked in India, not Africa. I thought it was joke, not a geography lesson!)
Thank goodness, my new Russian friend Olga cleared that up quickly. "No, that would be a terrible joke. Her name is Maria Teresa -- no one is calling her Mother Teresa, it's Maria! Open your ears!!!"
Well, Olga didn't say "Open your ears," but she should have. My ears are in terrible shape; it's going to take a lot of careful listening to Italian and concentrating on what's really being said, to get into linguistic shape.
Meanwhile, I'll have to be careful around Olga, who is a stunning young blonde woman, and Katerina, who is also young, blonde, German, and whose butterscotch Tod's tote bag of the creamiest leather should have been a tip-off. These are young women who love to shop, discover wonderful restaurants, and try many different dishes. Too many!
A very bad crowd --during our three-hour lunch with a third student from Azerbaijan, we spoke little Italian, ate way too much (I actually couldn't finish all of the soccer-ball-sized piece of bufala mozzarella that was part of my caprese salad) and then began shopping.
But not before I admitted that I was a writer. "Eat, Pray, Love!" all three women cried out. Eat, Pray, Run, I thought. So, I did.