And now for something completely different

22 Jan

Did you miss me?

Gold star to anyone who can tell me where the title of this post originally came from. Also note the slight name change (don’t worry, for anyone who bothered to google what it meant, it still means exactly the same thing but in Italian).

I arrived in Spoleto, Italy on Saturday, here’s my attempt at abridging the last 3 days. So for me that means something like 2000 words instead of 5000. Happy reading!

Given that it snowed shitloads on Friday (I spent the day wondering through pristine fields listening to Tycho instead of packing of course) I was slightly concerned my flight wouldn’t set off, but thankfully Gatwick got their act together. After landing at Rome Fiumicino I had a slight ‘oh shit, I don’t actually speak Italian’ moment when I had to try and find my way to Spoleto by public transport having neglected to really look into it in England, but thankfully the people who work at the airport and Roma Termini station speak English, and sent me off on in the right direction. It took 2 trains and a couple of hours but eventually I arrived, having spent the journey next to an elderly gentleman who alternated between staring at my Kindle like it was witchcraft and snoring while still awake, which is quite a skill really.

At the station I met Tina, a teacher at the school who has been my lifeline for the past 3 days. She is the one who organised my whole teaching assistantship, my apartment, my internet…essentially she has created a life for me here, I can’t thank her enough.

We went straight to my apartment, where I will be living alone (not as scary as you’d think) until June. It’s a steal at only €280 a month and has been decked out by the landlord so it has pretty much everything I could ever need, including a lot of stuff which I can’t really identify and probably will never need. However, no complaints about the provided hoover, real oven as well as a convection oven (pimped-out microwave), mahussive non-cabin bed, TV (!!!), and a collection of all the classics but in Italian. I’m planning on tackling ‘Il Grande Gatsby’ and ‘La Fattoria degli Animali ‘ at some point.

That evening Tina took me to a dinner party held by one of the teachers from one of the schools I will be helping out at. There were about 10 of us in total, mostly invited because they spoke some English as I was definitely struggling to string a sentence together at that point. The meal was amazing, and although I already knew Italian’s loved their food, I didn’t realise how many courses there are! (Conclusion: more than a little person like me can handle). The menu went something like this:

  1. Antipasti
  2. Lasagne
  3. Chicken
  4. Gorgonzola + pear pizza – definitely worth a try
  5. Tiramisu with frappe, the pastry not the coffee-based drink
  6. Pineapple, separate from the…
  7. Fruit Salad
  8. Coffee

At the host’s house everyone’s children had collaborated to make a welcome sign for me, and after the meal they performed a little song and dance in English, which was lovely and completely unexpected, and I was then given a sort of welcome pack full of proper Italian olive oil and pasta by the adults. As I have found out even more in the past few days, the Italians are incredibly generous, especially when it comes to food! I was also lucky enough to be invited to a belly dance class with one of the women, which will make up for me completely neglecting it last term.

On Sunday I headed to a big supermarket with Tina to stock up, and she treated me to a very Italian breakfast of coffee and a pastry. I have to say I much prefer the European breakfast as it tends to include more chocolate and less muesli, which is a poor attempt at food if ever I saw one. Tina even suggested that I buy a fruit pie or some castagnole for breakfast, which I happily agreed to.

Foreign supermarkets are always full of surprises, and in Italy that includes aisles full of bags of cookies, biscuits and pastries which look fancy enough to give as a thankyou present but cost less than €2. I think the Italian’s are generally just a bit better at designing packaging than us, even my crisps look all artisanal and handmade.

I then went out for lunch with Tina and her husband at a restaurant on a hillside which overlooks the whole town, and apparently on a clear day you can see all the way to Perugia. Inevitably the revenge of the multi-course meal got to me and I couldn’t finish everything, but Tina kindly asked for the waiter to ‘american-style’ what was left so I could take it home for dinner.

As per, it was followed by coffee. Now anyone who knows me well, especially my dear friend John who has had to deal with this many a time, will probably have experienced me walking into their room after forgetting to ask for decaf at Starbucks and going ‘Oh no…I did it again…’ This is usually followed by me curling up in a ball on the floor for a few hours while I wait for the caffeine shakes to pass.

Italy is known for its love of coffee, and being the overly-polite English girl that I am I have been unable to refuse any so far, meaning that by Sunday morning I was feeling decidedly unstable. I think now may be the best time for me to try building up a tolerance, and I’m sure you’ll all enjoy hearing about my attempts!

That afternoon I went back to Tina’s to try and organise my timetable, which seems pretty complicated as Il Secondo Circolo Spoleto is made up of 5 different primary schools spread out around the town. This week will be spent visiting the schools and meeting all the teachers and classes, generally getting a feel for what things are like.

I’ve changed my mind and have decided it will be far too long and boring for me to try and talk about Monday and Tuesday in this same post, so that’s it for now!

Sights of the day

This is actually leftover from Bordeaux, but I never got round to posting it even though I had been meaning to since about September.

Based on the image provided by Bordeaux tram services, you’d be forgiven for thinking ‘strapontins’ means strap-ons. I’m not going to correct your assumptions.

Strapontins

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2 Responses to “And now for something completely different”

  1. Rachel B January 22, 2013 at 23:09 #

    So glad everyone is generous. fedex me some italian food? xx miss you miss sellars

  2. Emma C. January 24, 2013 at 02:12 #

    Been missing your updates! Sounds amazing in Italy, I have serious food envy xD

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