Friday, March 05, 2004

So I Decided to Start School (by Doreen)

SIENA (#34)

So I decided to start school. The kids, now well ensconced in their schools and Steve, with his website to manage, no longer had a great need for me between the hours of 9 and 1:30. So I re-started the search for a school (which I had started in Lexington).

There are 3 “big” programs –the University for Stranieri (University for Strangers—not so sure I wanted to be a “strange one”), Scuola Lingua Leonardo Davinci and Scuola Lingua Dante Alighieri. (These can all be found when doing a google search.) In addition, on the web, I saw ”Saena Iulia” which boasted small classes and student –appropriate placement/help. It is also the closest to our house - just off the Baptistry (the other end of the Duomo). Steve took Sarah to school that day – it was sleeting/raining/snowing – one of his days therefore to take her, and I had the computer/web to myself. When he arrived home, it was surprised to see me thus engaged and said, “Classes start today, let’s go check them out.” So, instead of the long shower I had planned, I dressed and we took off.

When arriving Georgia, asked my name and got one of the directors to speak to me. After asking me if she could use the familiar form to speak with me (in Italian – due both to my age and unfamiliarity to her), she asked why I’d like to study and what I had been learning. (I said that I really wanted to be able to speak with our friends in Siena that we have visited often, but with whom I could use only nouns and to be able to speak with their 4 1/2 year old.) She said they had a beginner group (though everyone knew some Italian for one reason or another) which had started earlier that morning.

I entered class and found 3 women sitting - one middle aged, another mid to late 20’s and the other in her younger 20’s. The teacher was soft-spoken and was working at making herself easily understood. The students had a bit of a deer-in-headlights look. I understood what was being taught didn’t know some of the vocabulary. Therefore, I decided to stay.

On Tuesday, March 2, we had a break during class (which runs 9:20-1:20 5 days/week, with a cultural program on Wednesday afternoon and a trip on Thursday afternoons -extra), we established that 3 of us are physicians – Esther, the 50+woman from Toronto, Emma, the mid-20’s woman from Perth, Australia and me. The other, Stefi, is a 24-ish year old opera singer/diva-wanna-be from SF (who grew up in Chicago).

On Wednesday, we established that 3 of us 4 are Jews –Esther, Stefi, and I. We were talking about Purim and Passover and the possibility of meeting the elusive Jewish community of Siena.

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