Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Esisto!

It's been too long since I've written anything and I want to maintain some degree of diligence with this blog, so here's a quick summary of the last 30 or so days.

School
Classes have been going very well and very fast, perhaps too fast. We have covered essentially all of the common grammatical sentence structures and forms, verb conjugations and moods, all but 1 or 2 of the tenses, and lots of idiomatic expressions. My head is spinning like you would not believe, but I've been fortunate to have retained most of the information. I find that my general comprehension is much better these days, and I'm able to speak fairly smoothly, although not too descriptively. I'm sure that will continue to improve with time, but there are days where I simply have no patience and feel as if I've learned nothing (overly dramatic, I know). Anyway, school is great and I am sad that we are nearing the end of it.

Friends
We've made a small group of regular friends since we've been here, and that is truly a blessing. It all started with a friend we met in school who had been here for almost a year and was dating a Florentine. We've passed several evenings with them (and with others), spent Capodanno (New Year's Eve) in the Tuscan country side, and went to Venice during Carnevale together.
We've also been fortunate enough to have met another group of friends with which we speak only Italian. One of them is Florentine and the other 2 are Sicilians. Sicily, apart from the Mafia, must be one of the greatest places on the planet. I've never been but everyone tells me it is stunningly beautiful. Aside from our friends I've met a few other Sicilians on trains, and they are simply the nicest, most congenial people I've ever come across.
Last of all, I reconnected with a friend whom I'd lost contact with. I've mentioned him before: he used to work in the bar across the street from our building and then he just disappeared several months ago. A week or 2 ago Erin and I were getting a coffee and someone grabbed me by my shoulder. It was him! He started in English but quickly reverted to Italian (which I always take as an honor). We traded numeri cellulari (cell numbers) and planned to meet soon.

Work
I received a job offer from an Italian company over a month ago, which was both a big surprise and an honor. I haven't accepted it because legally, I can't right now. The EU imposes restrictions on member states that prevent the hiring of non-EU citizens, unless certain conditions are present. Furthermore, Italy imposes its own layer with a similar purpose of protecting Italian citizens, unless certain conditions are met. I'd be resting fine if I could have simply received a Yay or Nay by now, but the infamous Italian bureaucracy has excelled its reputation. The company put in a request on my behalf on December 21st last year, and still we are waiting for a response. I've finally come to a peace about it and will simply wait until I hear news (and badger the Questura, of course). In the meantime I've been blessed with a small contract from an English company for which I had worked for in the past, so for the time being, things are good.


More to come, sooner rather than later.