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December 4th, 2008

FAQ

Q: How is the Italian going?

Well enough. I have now accepted that I will not be immediately fluent to the point I hoped for, after merely a month of study. In fact, it's turned out to be quite a different experience than I expected. I am not being "immersed" in Italian; I spend a lot of time, as always, working on my computer in English. And even my tutorial sessions are mostly in English. But, surprisingly, I think that this is really what I needed: having gotten to a workable level in the language (in my earlier classes, nearly 15 years ago, which did do the immersion method) now I am finally getting the details of the grammar explained in a way I can comprehend. It will just take a while for this knowledge to become "automatic" in the way I speak.

Q: Any interesting adventures living in Florence?

Not per se. It is fascinating to actually spend time in a real Italian city; Castel Gandolfo is about as unreal a place as I can imagine, and when I am there I am too far from Rome to get into the rhythm of that city.

A family of American friends (my old apartment mate from my post-doc days, his wife, and their adult daughter) are visiting Italy right now and I went up to Venice to see them last Sunday. "Gee, the water looks high," commented Jeri. I told her, "Oh, I think it is always like that..." On the train back to Florence I noticed a lot of rain. The next morning my friends were trapped in their hotel room by the floodwaters. 

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