I’m back in Italy.
Actually, I never left. Due to the virus, it’s been more than eighteen months since my last trip.
But, despite writing these articles about learning Italian (and stuff), I mostly live in a more multi-national, multi-lingual space. I listen to the news highlights each day on Radio Sverige, for example, and glance through the headlines of Le Monde. My online conversation parters are Turkish, Mexican, French and Swedish, and after several years some of them have become more friends than teachers.
In short, while actually physically existing in Italy, for a while now it hasn’t felt much like it. Working from home means not interacting with people face to face, either, as I used to do when the school was open.
Of course, I see my neighbours, the familiar staff in the various supermarkets I frequent, and my wife and son, both technically Italians. But, that hasn’t been much like living in a country with fifty or sixty million others.
But anyway, I’m back!
My son’s started a month of ‘scuola-lavoro’ (work experience), which means that, instead of him taking himself quietly off to school by bus, we’re driving him to an industrial zone on the edge of the city, and picking him up nine hours later. Suddenly, I’ve become a commuter, and take my place with all the other commuters, busy people in their cars heading for their workplaces, the coffee machine, their colleagues, their daily lives.
On the way there in the morning, and back in the evening, I chat with the lad, which is nice, a rare chance to interact with an older teenager. And coming back alone, I have the radio on. ITALIAN radio, which is really weird, after all that Turkish, Swedish, Spanish and so on.
It’s Monday morning, the lady DJ is telling me, and here are some ‘antipasti’ (tasters, starters) of what we have for you today. We’ll be talking about the Grammys, and about some companies that help women get on in the music business, and we’ll have classic tunes from….
Today half of Italy is waking up in a red zone, she reminded me. Anything that isn’t necessary is closed, eighty percent of school children are going to be doing DAD (didattica a distanza – online learning), and it’s not due to end until April 6th.
But never mind, we’ll keep each other company, right? We’ll get through it, she reassured me.
Next week is the Spring Sale over at our online shop. There’ll be a twenty percent coupon code, so you can save a fifth on the online lessons and ebooks you need for your language learning.
Until then? We have plenty of FREE STUFF to keep you busy.