Sunday, November 14, 2010
24 ore pioggia (24 hour rain)
It's been a wet week! Apparently common for November and December weather in Florence. After lots of sun last week, I believe it rained EVERYDAY this week. I've been rotating my footwear strategically in order to give each time to dry before wearing them again. Thankfully, the heat in my room is on! Whoop whoop! However, there has been a problem with the heat in the other side of the apartment, the kitchen and Rosie's room, it's not working, including no hot water in the kitchen. The landlady keeps coming in to fix it but the next day it stops working again...
An adjustment aside from just the language here (as if that's not hard enough), is the usage of the 24 hour clock. Us 'am/pm' people need to be minusing 12 from all the given times here to figure things out. I often do this erroneously and when I don't, I'm doubting myself. I'm going to try to change my thinking from minusing 12 to counting on my fingers up from 12 noon. Hopefully in doing this, those 13:00+ numbers will start having meaning on their own, without calculations.
Monday morning at 9:00 I showed up for my Italian class and right away the students were given a written test followed by a conversation with the teacher to determine which level each person belonged in. I was proud to achieve level 2 status:) On Tuesday I met my fellow level 2 classmates, a multicultural group of adults and some teenage boys. It was a full classroom of around 20 people. The teacher, Mani`, started us off making our own introductions and taking questions (all in italian) from each other. Then we started the learning activities, involving listening to phone calls and completing Vero o Falso (True or False) questions. Wednesday was more similar learning activities and at the end of class, Mani` announced that there was only 5 people in the level 2 class at 11:00 and asked if anyone wanted to switch. I volunteered as a smaller class size seemed better for learning and plus, despite my initial choice of the 9am class, I do like to have a little extra time in the mornings:)
So Thursday at 11:00 I met my new level 2 classmates and Edouardo, a substitute teacher for Gloria, the regular teacher for the class. Edouardo's technique was a bit unconventional to say the least, however very entertaining. He introduced himself briefly and then patiently waited for us to ask him personal questions in Italian. Then he would respond, speaking really slowly and clearly and emphasizing certain words. He added many jokes as well, mostly sexist! When asked if he had girl or boy children, he pointed to the bags under his eyes and made chattering puppets with his hands....he had 2 girls.
Interestingly, his answers led into the activity in the workbook almost unknowingly, although he, no doubt, had planned it that way. The activity involved filling in a little chart of things you do in different places, eg. a casa (at home), nel tempo libero (in free time)and con gli amici (with friends), according to frequency, eg. sempre (always), raramente (rarely), qualche volta (sometimes)and mai (never). These words Edouardo had emphasized and used often during his Q and A session. There's no class on Fridays so I'm looking forward to meeting the regular teacher, Gloria, tomorrow, although part of me wishes Edouardo was sticking around.
I'm also happy to report that I got a bank account setup this week! The ladies at Banca Toscana beside the Ponte Vecchio were very helpful and explained everything in english for me. Thankfully I didn't need to have official residency in Florence or a Codice Fiscale (the equivalent of the Canadian SIN number, I suppose)to get the bank account, my Italian Passport was sufficient. It's a relief as I'm having some difficulty getting these 2 important things arranged, residency and the codice fiscale, which will allow me to work and to have health care, but at least now I don't need to worry about my dwindling traveller's cheques.
In my efforts to stay on budget, I picked up a coupon from the tourist office for free admission to a couple of museums in Florence. It was expiring this week, so one afternoon I ventured over to the Palazzo Medici Riccardi, one of the many old palaces owned by the rich people in Florence's history. I'm glad it was free, it wasn't super exciting, but I liked the garden:)
Saturday afternoon at 15:30, il mio cugino (my cousin) Martinho invited me to the opening of an art exhibition which he has a painting in. His glorious Jesus painting lit up the gallery in Palazzo Pazzi, and I was proud to tell people that we are related:) Martinho also introduced me to one of his fellow teachers at the Angel Academy who is a graduate of the illustration program at Sheridan College (the same college were I graduated from the animation program)!
UPDATE- behold Martinho's painting:
Today, I put on some music and danced about in the newly abundant space in my bedroom (SPACE!!!). The night before Rosie and I transferred the couch from my room, through the tiny hallway and up the curving stairs, to her room. She wanted to have a little sitting area in her room and I, wanted space! A mutually beneficial arrangement. My bedroom here is seriously the size of my ENTIRE APARTMENT in Toronto. It's nice to be living (mostly) clutter free for a change.
In the afternoon I ventured over to Piazza Santo Spirito, my neighborhood gem, to poke through a market full of vintage clothing, antiques, music, candy, books, herbs, and a load of other stuff. From there I stumbled upon more clothing and craft vendors at Piazza Stozzi and then at Piazza della Repubblica which was all food; the busiest, no surprise!
Just because it's Sunday and most of the stores are closed on this holy day of rest, doesn't mean there isn't anything happening in the city! I forget this sometimes. I found the veggie vendors and brought home an organic cavolfiore (cauliflower) and a jar of organic pomodoro sugo ai funghi porcini (tomato sauce with porcini mushroom) to cook up some deliciousness.
I walked home across the Ponte Vecchio (old bridge).