When you have a chance to learn a foreign language by interacting mostly with its native speakers (especially in their own country), you start to have those days, when you hear one particular word over and over again. And, of course, you don’t know or don’t remember what this word means. Also, if you’re lucky to be learning a more complex language than English, you hear all the possible versions of the word. You go through your day, maybe sitting in meetings, talking with people, listening to them and you keep forgetting to check this word’s meaning. Maybe you’re also too embarrassed to ask the people who use it. And it bugs you, oh it bugs you a lot.
It’s a bit like seeing the driving course cars all over the city when you’re in the driving course yourself. You keep hearing this word, it suddenly becomes the main one of every conversation, the key to understanding everything. And then, at the end of the day, you come back home and in your mind you repeat this word, cause you don’t want to forget it before checking in the dictionairy. Or, like me, after hearing the word one too many times, you finally decide to ask and only then you learn (like me) that:
sviluppare = to develop, to grow
I thought things are going to slightly change since that last post, but actually I have been literally flooded by work for almost two weeks now. During the day I work at BUCO or Camere d’Aria and during the afternoons/evenings I’m doing other projects. Hence, there was no real time to just sit back and write something on the blog for your entertainment.
In these last days I’m learning more and more Italian, mostly because I really have to. At work we rarely speak English, even we, the volunteers, to each other. It’s rather hilarious when you discover that you, a Polish girl to the core, with a lightness of a native speaker (yeah, I wish…) tell your co-volunteer, a French-speaking girl: Ci vediamo domani, ciao!
And then, through the art of observing people, I’m starting to unintentionally repeat gestures, manners of speech and those not exactly translatable half-words which seem to have a separate cult here. It’s not really possible to give examples of the last ones mentioned here, maybe I will make a video sometime, although I can already see with the eyes of my imagination all my Italian friends rolling on the floor watching it. Guys, for now you can only hope, I’ll get braver about recording myself speaking Italian.
However, as much as I’m inhaling the language, I’m still struggling a little bit with the life approach around here. I mean, I absolutely love the fact, that usually I start my workday at 10.00, but having a 2-hour long lunch break (at least) in the middle of the day, finishing everything at 17.00 or 18.00 and talking A LOT continues to confuse my mind. I guess it’s something one can get used to over time, but a person designed in Finland and made in Poland has all the rights to subconsciously resist.
It has been a little bit crazy after my arrival yesterday morning, but now I’m starting to settle in and organize things. To my pleasant surprise, my bus from Poland wasn’t late at all and moreover I had the best place of all on it, cause I was sitting on the higher deck in the very first front row with only the window before me. But don’t think I had awesome views or something. I took a camera with me, yes, but I crossed the border with Czech Republic at 20.30, when it was already dark and the whole journey it was raining. I was at least hoping for nice landscapes closer to Italy, but I had to have some sleep after all and when the sun started to rise around 7.00, there were no mountains around anymore, cause we were in Veneto. And what is even funnier, when we crossed the “border” between Veneto and Emilia-Romagna, the only thing you could see outside of the window was… a very thick fog. In the end: no views for me.
Yesterday was all about trying to realize I’m seriously going to live in this country for 10 months. I mean, 5 months in Finland were crazy, but this is another dimension. Not all people will just speak English to me. Actually, most of them won’t. But since I already understand some things when spoken to me and can express myself in Italian in a very simple way, there shouldn’t be much problem in taking it a step further. Being thrown into a situation where the only option is to adjust yourself and be forced to try as hard as you can may work some miracles.
The next days will still be mostly about working things out with everyone, organizing our plans for the next weeks and introducing us (me and the other volunteer, Laure) to all the activities and events. But, so far so good. I will consider it already a success if I don’t die tragically while riding a bike in the Italian traffic. Just in case, today I signed a document stating that in case of my death (sic!) my parents will share the insurance money 50/50, so if there’s anyone that wanted to have their share here too, you’re late.
Here we are, at the beginning of a new adventure. I’m leaving to Bologna in a couple of hours. After all the craziness (believe me, there was a lot!) happening in the past weeks, I have made it to this point.
Writing tones of mails, running millions of errands, arranging things in advance just to be ready for any circumstance — this is all in the past right now. Well, more or less at least, cause you know how it usually goes: you can’t be prepared for everything and I’m going to Italy in the end, so probably the motto of my trip should be Expect the unexpected. Or maybe better: Don’t expect.
Being a control freak that I am, this EVS will probably be a big test for my and my abilities to adapt and be patient. And anyway, I can always take a yoga class.