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The adventures of the Mel

Sicilian musings...

ITALY | Tuesday, 25 November 2008 | Views [668] | Comments [1]

Greetings my hungry little readers,

The year really is winding down. I have 3 weeks left and not a lot to report bar a growing desire to be home in the warmth. I’m still living in Catania, still at the B&B and still enjoying it. I’ve spent a lot of time working and hurting my brain in Italian lessons, and I also finally managed to go to Mt. Etna.

I’m a little disappointed to say that it wasn’t as exciting as I had expected – not that I was expecting spewing lava, but more that we spent most of our time in a 4WD rather than trekking as I would have liked. The area was beautiful in a semi-barren kind of way, and interesting to see the paths of past lava flows, encrusted with varying levels of lichen and plant life depending on the value of the 4th dimension. The guide was absolutely stunning – I could have just taken him home and propped him on the mantle to look at all day, that is, if I had a bloody mantle. If I had a bloody house! Have I mentioned how much I hate househunting? I haven’t even gotten home and I’m already sick of it.

Anyway…I think what has been interesting for me is the continual process of learning we are in – learning facts, processes and applications in the world around us and, importantly, about ourselves. If there’s one thing that matches the amount of Italian I’ve learnt, it’s what I’ve been learning about myself. I’ve always considered myself an addicted learner: I love learning, the taste of knowledge and the ever growing realisation that you indeed know nothing – the more you learn, the less you realise you know. However I am beginning to realise that I don’t tackle all challenges with the hunger that I thought I did. Being in this Italian class has been overwhelming – the two other people in the class are at a much more advanced level, which has been fantastic – I am running flat out to try to catch up, rather than being bored and waiting for others as is usually the case. This in itself I don’t mind, but I have found it emotionally challenging when I’ve come across things that I just haven’t understood and the other two have been quite comfortable with. As the teacher only explains things in Italian it is difficult to get a solid grasp on some concepts (however, she thankfully sat down with me for a few minutes after class today). It has been a remarkable insight into the helplessness and frustration that many of my students must experience on a daily basis, and it’s horrible. I’m not sure if it’s partly because I’m homesick – usually when I don’t understand something (like half the time Anna talks about something) I’m comfortable with clearly stating I don’t understand and wait patiently for the explanation so that I can continue on having a clear understanding of each step of the process. However, I haven’t been able to do this – the teacher speaks rapidly and I have to concentrate hard to discern the general gist of what she is saying and if I focus on a word that I don’t remember the conversation proceeds without me and I am completely lost. Feeling stupid isn’t something I’m really familiar with, and I tell you it’s quite humbling. It makes me sad for so many of my students – I understand why they just give up. It’s awfully tempting, but I’m too damn stubborn for it (well, I like to call it determined).

I have also discovered that I’m not exactly as independent as I tenaciously tell the world. I really miss my Snuffy Pig. Sure, he’s only been away 2 weeks, but it will be another 3 before I see him and I just want a freaking cuddle!! Sigh.

I’m also starting to think about the completely disgusting jetlag I’m going to be suffering from when I return. Whose idea was it to have a flight straight from London to Sydney? Actually, it wasn’t mine, it was the only one BA had. Bigger sigh.

Anyway I have nothing more to report. Still don’t know when I’ll leave Catania – still have another week booked….I plan to visit a small town called Taormina in the next few days, but who knows when that will actually happen?

Love and kisses to you all – just three weeks to go!!!


Mt. Etna photos



Hey Mel, you should email danielle, they were looking for a third person for their house...not sure if they have someone yet.

  Sally Nov 26, 2008 6:50 PM

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