I never realised that learning Italian was a competitive sport. But around the cottage this is starting to be the case.
We had our first lesson last Friday and were plunged into the realm of verbs – both the regular and the irregular. I must have been away the day they covered all this in school so not only was I learning Italian I was also learning the structure of language – in Italian. Suffice it to say I don’t think I’m going to be a star pupil.
My lovely wife, however, was taking it all in, chipping in with useful comments and questions and making copious notes along the way. After an hour my brain was full and our tutor, Mauro, realising that nothing more was going in asked us to do a little homework for the next lesson. Nothing too taxing but homework none the less.
We adjourned to a bar around the Campo in Siena for a well deserved drink and discussion. We were pleased with the lesson and with our choice of language school. Yes, there was some homework to do but, let’s face it, we didn’t have a lot else to do. It should be easy – no stress.
Yesterday morning I rose at my usual time of 10am, refreshed my cup of tea in the kitchen, and wandered out to the verandah. There, hunched over her notes with cigarette in hand, was my wife furiously scribbling homework notes, completing sentences, scouring the dictionary for nouns, and filling page after page with perfectly executed Italian.
Now to put things in context, I’d spent upwards of 15 minutes the previous day sitting by the pool jotting down some random notes which I thought might cover the homework. I had included a rather good doodle of an Italian villa on a hill with a Cypress tree next to it – not strictly part of the homework but I’m sure I would get extra marks for it.
I could see where this was going and I wasn’t going to stand for it. The last 24 hours has seen a flurry of activity as notes are made about notes, verbs are conjugated and nouns are possessed and repossessed. Conversation has been non-existent and the only sound has been the occasional sentence said aloud in italian to test pronunciation.
Alas I fear it is all to no avail as every time I sneak a look at Jean’s work I see myself drifting further behind the pace. My only hope is that time honoured excuse – the dog ate my homework.
Now, where is Daisy?