Gotta be quick today (no, really!) as it’s back to work for the first time since March ninth!
Which means the familiar, but actually now quite unfamiliar, routine of packing my office bag with laptop, cable and lunch, doing the dishes from the evening before, leaving lunch instructions for the kids, choosing something to wear, getting the motorbike out of the garage (hope it’ll start), then commuting into the center of Bologna, where our Italian language school is located.
For the moment, there are no classes, but we’re hoping to confirm some groups within a week or two. Reception will be open, but by appointment only, this because we are supposed to strictly control the entrance of any visitors/students, measuring their temperature (we splashed out on one of those groovy infrared thermometers) and ensuring they are wearing a mask, which is obligatory in closed spaces.
Today we’ll be measuring our classrooms and marking designated seating so as to ensure social distancing of at least a meter between each student and two meters between the teacher and the nearest other person (unless the teacher is wearing a mask too, in which case a meter is OK, apparently.)
From next Monday, I’ll be ‘teaching’ a conversation group each evening – a small group of Italians who come to the school to chat in English. That used to be a friendly, intimate experience, but of course now we’ll be wrapped up like surgeons performing a transplant, and after each group there’ll be the obligatory wipe-down of surfaces with disinfectant spray, and so on.
Other than the odd group here and there, we’re expecting a fairly quiet summer. In Europe, some airlines are programming flights on a selection of their routes, though with only a fraction of the usual capacity. Closed borders and quarantine obligations are still a major obstacle to the resumption of tourism and non-essential travel, but hopefully the world will gradually return to normal.
One positive sign here in Bologna is that, after months of the roads being next to deserted of cars, now traffic is almost back to what it was before, with the usual high-quotient of moronic, suicidal or simply uncaring drivers, overtaking on the inside, driving obliviously through pedestrian crossings (with people actually on them) and the like.
For the moment, the dangers of my morning commute outweigh in my mind the slight chance of viral infection, but we are discouraged from using public transport, leaving the motorbike the only practical option. Unfortunately that means no plugging in my headphones to listen to the Swedish news headlines on the leisurely bus ride into town.
But you could listen to the radio on your motorbike, my wife suggested. ARE YOU MAD? I asked. It’s homicidal chaos out there. I’ll need every sense if I’m to successfully bring you your lunch, rather than end up in the orthopedic ward!
Which reminds me – how come it’s actually been harder to find time to study/learn languages during the lockdown than it was before, in the old normal?
Having gaps in my long working day to squeeze in reading a newspaper or listening to the radio in the languages I’m learning is at least something to look forward to in the coming months.
A venerdì, allora, traffic permitting.
Don’t forget this week’s new, B1 (intermediate) -level ‘easy Italian reader’ ebook, the third in our series of short and simplified versions of selected classics of Italian literature.
This week only, I Malavoglia is selling for the special launch offer price of just £5.99. From next Monday, it’ll retail for the usual ebook easy reader price of £7.99.
Check out the free sample chapter (.pdf) to verify the type and level of the material, and that you know how to open it on your preferred device before you buy it.
But if the level is too easy or too hard for you? Then why not pick out something more suitable from our Catalog, which lists all of our ebooks for learning Italian (and other languages).
Reading ‘I Malavoglia’? Don’t forget the Mini-Book Club!
As with the previous titles in the classic Italian literature series, there’s now a
‘Mini-Book Club’ page for ‘I Malavoglia’, too, the idea being that club members can exchange opinions while reading the story.
It’s completely free to participate, though if you’d like to join the conversation, you’ll need to give your email address (an anti-spam measure). Don’t worry – it won’t be published or used for other purposes.
And here’s the usual reminder to read and listen to Tuesday’s bulletin of ‘easy’ Italian news. It’s free.
Subscribing is also free. Just enter your email address to get each thrice-weekly bulletin sent directly to your email inbox!