Today, it is a sunny 24 degrees in the Chianti Classico region of Tuscany. I am sitting at my kitchen table having my “Fresca” (fresh) pecorino cheese, “prosciutto” (cured ham) slices, “Pera” (Pear) juice and consistently dry Italian bread. My favourite “colazione” (breakfast) in Italy, however you definitely need a good espresso or two to wash down the bread!
Through the kitchen window I see the silver green leaves of olive trees swaying in the soft breeze, pink geraniums flourishing in terra-cotta pots, irises on a second bloom by the chestnut gate and two pink Mandeville vines lying elegantly against the stone wall. This like all days in Tuscany is beautiful.
My wonderful sense of calm was broken by the “farfalle” (butterflies) fluttering in my stomach as I thought of my upcoming Italian language lessons in Siena.
I am taking an “intenso” (intense) beginners course for one week. Yesterday on day one, I was in a class with two other students, thus there was no crowd – no place to hide. The class was entirely in Italian from start to finish, “no” English was to be spoken not even the course instructions. Talk about being disoriented and confused. I likened it to having your brain thrown into a blender with a finger on the high-speed button that would just not let up. Eventually the 3.5 hour class was “finito’ (finished) and I lived another day. I believe the “insegnante” (understood) the traumatic encounter which had occurred, all students were gifted with a glass of “prossecco” (Italian dry white sparkling wine) following the class. As I sipped my prossecco and gave my weary head a rub, I thought “how civilized” education in Italy was going to be.