The last week of classes was definitely a bittersweet one. We, as usual, had a great time in all my classes. We discussed our favorite Italian songs in conversation class and how to use the periodo ipotetico in indirect discourse in grammar. So, pretty awesome. When Tuesday rolled around, we headed off to our extra-didactic classes. I sculpted the hell out of my bowl and it turned out slightly better than half-decent. I was just as surprised as the overly-critical Austrian.
Anecdote, go! So, in our last sculpting class, nearly everyone was seated on the step outside class. We had all finished and we were trying to escape the oppressive heat of the workshop, when who should come along but critical Austrian’s overweight Russian friend. Of course, saying hello would’ve seemed ridiculous so this tubby snow-dweller decided to comment on the fact that we weren’t working; something to the effect of “Oh, I see only Diana [the critical Austrian’s name] is working anymore.” Being decent human beings, we didn’t respond as we should have; something to the effect of “Sorry we set reasonable goals and have finished our projects. Notice how they don’t resemble the left side-view mirror of a Fiat? Also, why are you even here??”
Of course, we later found out that the Russian had fled her cooking class after an incident with our friend Vivian. Each member of the cooking class got to make a pizza. Vivian had gone first. As soon as it was finished, the Russian tried to trundle in and grab a piece. Vivian kindly explained that everyone got to make their own pizza. At this the Russian said, “Oh. It’s too much,” and bolted elsewhere so she could judge someone. What’s the moral of this story? I’m pretty sure I don’t like Eastern Europeans.
On Wednesday and Thursday, we had exams. I was fortunate enough to have Dario proctoring my oral exam. I had never had him as a teacher, but he was a legend among the others. He’s a silly looking readhead with a mane of hair and a beard for the ages. Also, as it turns out, he has one of the most charming personalities I’ve ever encountered. He and Shelby Joy (my classmate), and I had a great conversation about fashion, music, and books and that (and a listening activity) was the extent of our test. Facilissimo! The next day, we had our grammar test which proved to be, more or less, just as easy as our conversation test. I got an Ottimo!! (Direct translation: optimal, useful translation: A)
That night, came the first bitter of the bittersweet. We had a party to celebrate those of our friends who were only staying for one month. Of course, because I have such discerning taste, I was very close to all three of them. Quick descriptions!
Mark was in my class and we bonded over being shocked by the antics of the rude Ukrainian in our class. He’s a 41 year old drummer from Philadelphia. He’s been playing for 35 years and plays with a successful rockabilly band called the Razorbacks. He’s visited Italy 13 times in the last 10 years and loves it more than most things. He’s also extremely youthful and has a way of saying whatever is on his mind, no matter how inappropriate it may be.
Vivian was a 17 year-old from Chicago who came to the program alone and was staying with a couple of Italian girls. She was, as would be expected, mature for her age and we got along famously. It wasn’t long before I thought of her as a little sister. If I ever wanted to go out, I knew she’d be up for it.
Finally, there was Alice, the Brit. She was nineteen and had come to the program because she’s studying Italian and French at Uni (British for university). If you couple our similar interests with her unreasonably strong sense of sarcasm and infinitely charming accent and personality, it’s easy to see how we’d be pretty close.
So. We decided to celebrate the month we’d spent with our amazing new friends. Of course, being mostly American college students, this meant a party. Now, that seems reasonable, but I don’t mean a classy dinner party; I mean thirty Americans knocking back bottle after bottle of wine on a rooftop and then storming centro like a drunken stampede. Being as I knew that time was short with my friends on the cusp of departure; I abstained from the alcohol so I could appreciate their company and so I could be damage control for the American herd.
The next night was even sadder because it was actually Alice’s last night in Italy. Many people had already left for their week-long vacations, but those of us who were still in town spent our evening with our British buddy. Around midnight, I walked Alice home, as had been the norm for several weeks. This time the long walk seemed much shorter. Now, Alice isn’t much for goodbyes, and I had to convince her to even say anything to the others; so her goodbye to me was, more or less, telling me to get lost and pushing me down the stairs. I’m pretty sure she meant well…
Despite how much I already missed Alice, I was determined to make the most of my time with Mark and Vivian. The next night we went to a beer fest. There were about twenty different kinds of beer, live music and about one hundred drunken Italians. I was greatly amused to see that some Italian had snuck a bottle of wine into the beer fest; classic. The music was a sort of reggae mixed with awful. At times it was pretty straight reggae and was quite enjoyable, but then an enormous black man wearing a LeBron James jersey would appear out of nowhere and start angrily yelling nonsense words. It sounded like, “Awakadabakadabakadabaka…” It would last about thirty seconds and I spent most of that time shielding my ears and looking around in bewilderment. This was a great opportunity to bond with some new friends, Chris and Lindsay. They were visiting from Ohio and we were thick as thieves in no time.
After the beer fest, we all returned to centro (some of us by car, some by 45 minute walk). We returned to our old watering hole, Nene and shared a pleasant evening together. I also met some of Mark’s friends. One bought me a drink and I had a great time talking with all of them. One of the guys, Michele lives in northern Italy, Como to be precise. We got to talking about skiing and he offered to take me skiing in the Alps when I move up there this fall. AWESOME!
The next night, we all had dinner together, walked Chris and Lindsay to their train and enjoyed the rest of our night in centro. I said my goodbyes to both Mark and Vivian and headed home.