Sunday 27 November 2011

A big shout-out to my fabulous roommates!

I can't say enough great things about my truly fabulous friends Jason and Michael, who opened their door to me for the entire month of November -- the stressful interim period after I left my apartment but before my departure for Rome.

Their incredible generosity and support made it much easier for me to shift away from my old life and make room for something new. I have truly been blessed with fantastic friends.

One of the great bonuses of staying with J+M (and their roommate Anthony) was the immense joy I found in living with their two dogs: Baron and Murphy.

Baron is an adult; Murphy is roughly 16 weeks old. The pleasure I felt in coming home from work each night to their furry faces was remarkable.

I'm going to miss them all. (Oh, and to be clear, Baron and Murphy are the fur-covered duo!)

Saturday 19 November 2011

Is it time to panic?

The serious jitters are beginning to set in as the clock ticks down to my move to Rome. 10 days to lift-off.

Friends are pressing me to meet for farewell drinks and dinners, and as lovely as it is to see everyone, I've relocated too many times to enjoy the goodbye ceremonies. Besides, they only add to jitters.

What the hell am I doing?

This is what I keep asking myself, as I watch my bank account shrink, my suitcases swell, and the shorter, colder days make me want to just curl up with a hot drink.

Time, I think, to review what my master plan is. When I take my eye off my goals, I can get very muddled.

1. I want to learn Italian.
2. I want to experience life in another culture, especially the Italian culture.
3. My fiction writing needs some inspiration.
4. I need an adventure; I've become very stale and dull and I am bored with myself.
5. I want a life that's a broader and wider; I'm tired of the North American consumer culture.
6. I want to be surrounded by art.

I need to select my thoughts much, much more carefully. Less attention to what might go wrong and all the things that will happen to me and for me.

Fortunately, I have done most of the major preparations for this move. I have an apartment rented in Rome and have enrolled in a language school. I’ve already set-up Internet banking; I’ve ordered several refills on prescriptions; I’m avoiding sharp objects. I have dinner plans in Rome my first full day there.

I even intend to reduce my wine consumption. Some day. I’m sincere about this.

But beyond that, I’m incapable of imagining. What will I do my first weekend in Rome? I don’t know. Buy groceries? Go to Vatican museums? Wander the streets, dazed? Sit in the Forum? Go for a coffee?


Sunday 6 November 2011

It's back to school Rome!

The most successful language training experience I've had was a couple of French immersion programs in northern Quebec. I advanced so quickly those summers when I lived with a francophone family, in a francophone community; talking with people in the gym, or buying gasoline, or drugstore items -- always in French.

Years and years of classroom studies in French helped; but until I forced to use the language day in and day out for everything, I didn't make much progress.

I'm hoping my next experience will be as rewarding, as I partner Italian language studies next month with plenty of practice on the streets of Rome.

A few days after I arrive in Rome on December 1, I'll begin classes Monday to Friday mornings at the Scuola Leonardo da Vinci in central Rome.

There will be four hours of classroom work each morning, which might not sound like a lot. However, it's enough -- a full day of language classes is absolutely exhausting. Believe me, I've done it. Three years ago, my employer sent me for 10 weeks of daily, 9-5, one-on-one French instruction. It was exhausting.

I'll have other demands on my time in Rome, too. While I'm studying, I also intend to look for employment. I assume I'll spend the mornings at school and the afternoons doing homework, practising Italian, going to job interviews, writing application letters, forms, schmoozing -- whatever it takes to get a gig.

Porca miseria! It sounds hectic!

Actually, my whining aside I'm quite excited about the prospect of studying Italian on a daily basis. For me, it's the best way to learn. Grammar, grammar, grammar!