30th March – 1st April 2017
My last days in Bologna followed a similar trend: lots of food and lots of talking.
An older English woman in my class was growing increasingly frustrated with the school. She had lerned (and then taught) French in the old-school style of studying Latin and Ancient Greek; and although initially impressed with the communicative approach favoured now, she soon started blaming it for her slow progress.
Because – while studious – she did not find opportunities to use the language. And in a very ugly English response to her failure, she began to lash out at the Italians.
I found little to fault two such Italians with whom I ate on the Thursday night. They took me to a large, bare trattoria where I had my first tiramisu in Italy since I was eighteen. (That time, I was on the bank of the Tiber and they served it drenched in liquor).
Our last day of class was marked by a large Japanese man from the beginner class standing up to sing. Thus far, he had been mostly mute. Communication had been a challenge. So it was a shock when his voice filled the school with a clear, ringing Italian aria.
We went for an end-of-course meal the next evening: pizza and plenty of wine. Our intentions were good. But conversation soon moved from Italian to French, where we all felt more comfortable. I made up for it the next day, over a final lunch of spaghetti vongole with my new Italian friends.
They had made me feel very welcome, had helped me learn more Italian in a week than I could have hoped for, and now they made sure I arrived at the airport full of clams and pasta. A fitting end to my time in Bologna.