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November 20th, 2008

Day Four in Florence

 One of those "can't believe..." I can't believe it has already been four days; I can't believe it has only been four days. I have found a tutor, and so far after three two-hour sessions with him, my Italian is still full of mistakes but now at least I know why they are mistakes.

The idea is to spend an hour on grammar, then an hour in conversation; but the grammar is eating into all of the time. That is partly because I am so interested in it (and he's a techie at heart, fascinated himself with the mechanics of how languages work) so we get delightfully off-track. Part of it is that, though I understand the principles immediately, somehow it still comes out all wrong when I try to say it out loud. Sentences that I could rattle off (slightly wrong) without thinking, I stumble over completely when I try to think and get them right. What makes it of course more frustrating is the feeling I have that this would have all been so easy when I was 21 years old. The old brain isn't as flexible as it used to be. I need a CPU upgrade. (And I could improve some of the I/O devices while I am at it.)

I am living about a mile from tourist central, close enough to walk there but far enough away that I am in the part of the city where regular people actually live and work. As for the tourist parts, I have visited there only twice so far, and yet to visit any of the museums... I have seen them before, which takes some of the urgency off getting in again. It is wonderful to be here off-season, when it is not so blazing hot and the tourist crowds don't push you into the street (and oncoming traffic). 

Meanwhile, I am spending too much time here in my room, at my computer, answering e-mails and writing things that I promised to write back when a November deadline seemed so far into the future that it seemed unthinkably distant.

States I have given talks in...

I have to admit I find these maps people are posting to be fascinating... here's mine, not of the states I have visited but just those where I have given a talk or presentation of some sort...

Maps below the cutCollapse )

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