Published: February 12th 2010February 9th 2010
The following pictures are all from my recent trip to Venice with Rotary for Carnival.... yes, I am one of the luckiest people alive.
I apologize once again for the long interval that has pasted since my last blog, particularly since the last blog was severely lacking in written/intellectual content. This one will hopefully have a little more to offer, both in the way of pictures and writing:
The other day I stammered out loud for the first time in my life. Why? What was I saying? Well, my actual sentence was "P-posso fare l'altro?", meaning, "can I do the other one?" It was in math class, and the general way math class goes here is that a student comes to the board and does one of the problems from the homework that others had trouble with. I had never done one of these problems. I figured that since I was capable of solving the next one, it was a good idea to do it on the board, who knows why. Once I managed to stammer out those words, the next step was going to the board and doing the problem... in front of the whole class... explaining my strange American method in Italian... It was quite an experience. There was total Chaos when I explained that in fact, no, I hadn't messed up
I can't say exactly why, but I absolutely LOVED all these watery stair cases.
in the calculations, that 3/2 is equal to 1 1/2. Apparently, they don't use mixed numbers here. I think there was a general shock in the class when I finished and the answer was actually right. That was a moment of true satisfaction.
One thing I feel I have gained from my experience here so far is a new way of listening to languages. I can now think of American English in a more general sense of how it sounds, the noises that dominate it, which are very different from those of British English and so on. The same goes for Castilian Spanish (which they teach here) and Mexican Spanish. I have a new sensibility to languages in general. Even with languages I don't understand at all, I can pick out a general sense of what language it is far better than before. If its French I can tell almost immediately, sometimes even if I can't hear them I can recognize it by the tell tale way people sort of pinch their cheeks when they say certain words in French (something I realized from 5 hours of French class a week). Something I am even more proud of is
I took many cliche pictures of these streets, but I just couldn't help it!
that sometimes, though not always, I can pick out accents from different regions in Italy. It's a sort of awareness of just the sounds that make up a language, rather than the words. It's something I think is very common here in Europe obviously because of the far higher level of exposure to languages that they receive in comparison to you average American. Its something that, while not uncommon here, I can't help but feel a little proud of.
For a little mention of food, I would like to share something I found rather hilarious. There is a type of Pizza here that you can get just about anywhere called "Pizza Americana". This pizza consists of a normal cheese pizza topped with... drum-roll please....FRENCH fries! Enough said.
I have added a very large number of pictures taken in Venice, many of which have short descriptions. Therefore, it seems that describing the trip would be somewhat pointless, particularly since a picture is worth a thousand words. However, my camera died unfortunately soon, which means I didn't take pictures of the Vaporetti. Vaporetti are the buses of Venice, and as such are boats. It is one of my favorite things
about Venice. They are similar to barges, but with roofs and interiors very similar to that of a city bus. The bus stations are floating platforms attached to the docks. They have the knot system for quickly tying and untying down to an art, the efficiency of it being truly beautiful. It's amazing how humans will adapt to their environments, bringing a thing like public transportation to a city of water.
As a sit writing this it is just growing dark and the view from the large window on my right is quite amazing. The City sprawls out from the bottom of the hill that this house sits on, yellow lights twinkling over the flat horizon as far as the eye can see. Bergamo sits right on the edge of the last foothills of the Alps before the terrain levels out.This means that to my left the view would be basically the opposite, tall snow covered mountains, practically uninhabited, sitting calmly through the millions of years as they watch the lights multiply and the haze darken.
I have tried to proof read this blog, but I find that even though many sentences make sense to me when I
Me and Kayla
Kayla is one of the other Americans, she is a bit hilarious if I do say so myself.
write them, they seem extremely strange after I go back and read them. I think this is because of my lack of practice with writing in English. Please forgive any strangely phrased sentences. I feel somewhat frustrated be this lack of ability in my mother language, but I also feel a little happy, because I feel it signifies a new level of my Italian, or at least I hope so.
There are more photos below