It has always been a long dream of mine to be fluent in Italian. I have been studying off and on for years making little process. When I began researching this trip to find my family history and see where my family came from. I found this Immersion school Dante Alighieri. I signed up for two weeks of immersion. The school will place you with a family if you chose or you may find lodging on your own. I opted for staying with a family. As I hoped it would help me even more, and bonus see what Italian life is really all about. The program consists of 20 language courses. 4 cultural classes, 4 cooking classes, one weekend excursion, and a wine tasting. My kind of school.
I arrived in Siena on Saturday, by train and met my host on Sunday. Marcello and his wife Anna greeted me. Marcello is 75 and Anna is 73. They have been married for 47 years, and have lived in this house for most of it raising their 3 kids. They do not speak any English. They started hosting students since their own kids started moving out. It keeps Anna young she says. She enjoys the company. Like true Italian style, They welcomed me into their warm small but beautiful kitchen, hunter green cabinets, long family style table that takes up the most space in the middle of the room. On the kitchen table was a long white table cloth with dough, I initially thought they were making fresh pasta. As there was a pasta press at the end of the table. “Fame?” She says as I enter the kitchen. Always! She places a plate in front of me and places a few Galani on my plate. Galani, she tells me, is a typical dessert for Carnivale. It is fried dough with powdered sugar on top. It is yummy. It reminded me, when I was younger and the family dinners we used to have and cooking with my mother. The sweets or dolce in Italian were just the first course. She made me lunch, and a few hours later dinner which included two more courses not including dessert. Dinner first course was penne with meat sauce. Second course was, sausage, chicken and cauliflower. I had forgotten the second course was coming. And went for seconds on the pasta and now i was really stuffed. I rolled out of her kitchen and into bed hoping to get some sleep, as jet lag is kicking my butt, that is a whole other story. The next morning as my alarm sounds Ana is knocking on my door that breakfast is ready. She again outdoes herself. There is toast. Toast in Italian is ham cheese toasted, Yogurt, cereal and most important she made me coffee! I love her already.
School started at 910. The school is a five minute walk from my hosts. Some students live outside the downtown and have to take the bus. I feel lucky to have both Anna and Marcello and the short distance. Our class is small, only 3 of us in class. One woman is from Washington DC and the other is from Pakistan. It makes it very intimate and you receive one on one attention. The first day we learned how to say where we are from, some nationalities and then we went into vocabulary, at 1:00pm we were off to lunch to return for an new student orientation of the school and downtown Siena.
Do you have any tips on learning a new language? Leave them in the comments below. :)
Do you want to see some more amazing images from my Italy trip? Check them out here.