Yesterday, after our first pausa, we walked over to the market with our class. Eleanora and I chatted in Italian on the way over. At the market, she put Lisa and me in a pair. We had to take photos of certain clothing items and match them with an adjective, such as un paio de calze + strano as in strange socks. It was so fun, and Lisa and I agreed we loved “experiential learning” after spending so much time in the classroom. The “five hours a day” is really not so bad. For one thing, I could listen to my teachers speak Italian all day. My listening skills have improved, but speaking is still a challenge for me. Okay, basta! I must stop the negative self-talk (today I woke up convinced I have a learning disability) and tell myself I’m having fun, there are no tests, and that I will improve, piano, piano (which means level by level or step by step). I keep hoping for that breakthrough, when it will suddenly get easier. I had a moment like that when I took Chinese landscape painting with a woman from Hong Kong. I was terrible until one day something clicked. “Effort creates ability,” we always say at O. Henry. So now I am applying it to myself.
Just got back from my morning cappuccino at Caffe Poliziano. I did my homework at the coffee bar, and it was fun. Italians approached and asked me if it was hard to learn Italian. I said, “Si, perche ho una menta vecchia.” I have an old mind. I said it was easier for the raggazzi, kids, and he said, “Tutto e facile per ragazzi!” Everything is easy for the young. : ) The older barista pretended to grade my homework and gave me a 10, and then I showed him how to connect Google Translate to his phone so that it translates the words, changes them, before your eyes to the other language. He loved it. We agreed it was un miracolo! Although it’s often wrong. For instance, portare is a verb, but porta is also a door, so it translates the noun form when it should have done the verb (to carry). Still, it helps with vocabulary.
Just a little more text. Yesterday after school Kurt and I went to the piscina publicca, the public pool. I swam laps, but since most of the Italians hung out on the perimeter, I mainly just had to dodge to find a place at the wall to turn around. We also toured a nearby organic farm with Maria, our hostess at Politian, and enjoyed a tasting of local products.