So today was the first official day of class. I had four hours of grammar in the morning, and two hours of conversation in the afternoon. My class is small– there are about ten of us altogether. There are several girls from Greece, a boy from Brazil, a girl from Los Angeles, my Ecuadorian housemate, and a Persian girl who lives in Paris. A few of us went out for a beer/coffee after class, and we made instant friends. The boy from Brazil and one of the Grecian girls are particularly nice, but unfortunately many of them are only here for a month. They are all much more comfortable speaking English, which is a bit detrimental for me. However, you can’t really become friends with someone if you cannot communicate very well with them, so for friendship’s sake I submit to my mother tongue. The Grecian girl (Sophie) and I are the only ones who showed up for the conversation class, so we spoke a lot over the course of two hours with the two other Italian teachers. Afterwards, we went for lunch at a little trattoria near our school. I had Ribollita, a typical Tuscan soup dish made of bread, vegetables, and beans. It was quite thick, very filling, and very delicious. Sophie had a salmon pasta with cream sauce, which was equally delectable. Lunch cost me €6.30, and will definitely get me through to dinner. I call that a pretty darn good meal, and anticipate other lunches there in the future.
Our school is located in the center of the city, which is beautiful but touristy. There are not a ton of tourists this time of year, so I am going to visit all the big attractions before they get too congested. I brought along the Lonely Planet Umbria and Tuscany guide book, and am making mental notes of places to visit. I think I will go for a weekend to this little island on the Etruscan coast called Isla d’Elba, which is supposed to be a beautiful mix of mountains and beaches, and some of the best seafood in Italy. There are many bungalows and tents that you can rent on the beach, none of which are expensive and all of which sound dreamy. It gets pretty busy in the summer, but supposedly it is pretty quiet and tranquil in March and April. We will see if I can find someone to come along with me, but if not it is only a 2-hour train ride to the port, and then a 1-hour ferry to the island. The whole trip (not including a place to stay) will cost about €20 one way. I think that is a pretty great deal.
I have not taken any pictures yet, mostly because I have not seen much and because the weather has been pretty bad. It rained on and off again today, and everything is gray, wet, and muddy. I think it will clear up tomorrow, which I am definitely looking forward to. Once I see some sun and can find a better way to connect my own computer to the internet (Andre, the Brazilian boy, told me about a place that sells pre-paid zip drives that allow you to connect to the internet anywhere in Italy… I will check it out on Thursday, I think), I will post some photographs of my house, Paula the cat, and anything else I find meaningful or interesting. I am sure there will be too many pictures to post on this site (I am limited to a certain number of media postings), so I may sign up for an account with a photo-loading website. If and when I do, I will certainly post the link on this site.
I don’t know if anyone will send anything, but I always love getting real mail. The Italian postal service is notoriously bad, but I thought I would post my address here anyway.
Via Domenica Cimarosa 24
At the very least, send an email every now and then, or you can write a comment on this page. It’s nice to be connected with people from home!