Saturday, June 8, 2013

A Friday Afternoon on the way to Summer

Our classmates and Teacher after a great gelato at Pier Bar
We are still attending Italian language school 5 days per week but school will be out soon—a sure sign of summer. Yesterday we left for school at 1530 as normal.  Folks in town were saying that it was finally the first day of summer—quite a coincidence. 

On the way to Scalea for class, we spotted our town’s new ambulance. The village had been taking donations for a couple months but when I went to give our June donation, I was told the collections were complete and an ambulance purchased. It will be managed in partnership with Protezione Civile--the national agency with the Canadair air tanker planes for summer fires. Our ambulance will be staffed by volunteers (which reminds me of my time on ambulance duty many years ago in the state of Colorado--buy me a glass of wine to hear those stories).

With summer in the air, our teacher Carmelina invited us down the street to a bar for gelato and Italian conversation---out in public instead of the classroom. 
Doug is at the top (USA). Next row is Lucia (Romania), Shabana (Pakistan), Carmelina (Italian teacher). Bottom row is Diana (USA), Katheryn (England), Susan (England--husband David is on a trip to England this week), Dennis and Cheryl (USA) have already returned to Florida for the summer to watch grandchildren, but sent a photo from their recent trip to the Island of Ischia off the coast from Napoli.

The gelato at Pier Bar is terrific. The man working was proud of it and mentioned they had gotten training in gelato-making in Bologna. We shared what everyone is doing for the summer. This was much easier to discuss (in Italian) than the favole (fables) that we worked on at previous Friday conversation periods!

A tradition that started this year also includes the Brits and Yanks going for a caffe - or something colder - after school Fridays. In America it would be called TGIF – “thank god it’s Friday”. Soon we will be spending some weekdays on the beach instead of the classroom.

On the way back to our village, the piles of trash in the street reminds us that Scalea is currently having problems with landfill contracts similar to what Rome and Naples experienced 5 years ago—so when we drive to Scalea, the growing piles of refuse is now part of our day. It is slowly being hauled to sites in Tuscany and Puglia, but they are not keeping up with the daily outputs. Hence, we fear what the streets might look like in August when 20,000 more people descend on Scalea! Coming from Oregon, USA with some of the best land use planning around, we shake our heads at the lack of planning here by the government and/or mafia – whoever is in charge of landfills– to plan for replacement sites decades in advance. Italy needs to recycle more—they are trying--but so are these piles…

It's as good to return to our village as it was to get out a few hours ago. This weekend will be a quiet one with the sun shining and our chores still optional--guests are coming so they won't be optional for too much longer!


  1. What a lovely way to finish classes and end the week.

  2. School's out for summer! Do you "think" in Italian yet or are you still translating when you speak? Have you been with the same group of classmates since the beginning or do folks come and go?

    Congrats to the town on getting an ambulance!

  3. Laura!
    I don't think I've ever tried to translate when I speak which is why for the first few years, I was almost completely tongue tied. It's as though my thoughts come in a big implusive blob that is essentially language-less. That's how it seems, anyway. I'd try to write something, and no words would come. It's a lot better now, I can sit down and write a message without a jump start from a translator and when I'm relaxed, things come out of my mouth semi-thoughtlessly--of course that's another problem I've always had. Don't know about Doug, I'm sure he'd be able to describe it.
    Our class has quite a bit of coming and going. We are the most stable right now along with Susan and David who live here permanently too. Good to hear from you, abbraci, Di



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