Friday, March 30, 2007

Italian class in the City

Io spendo molto quando viaggio perche mi piace comprare molti cose stragneiri. I answered this time with a stern face. In the Beginning Conversational Italian class ITAL10A, I tend to fictionalize some of my answers, which are entirely rehearsed, to make them more interestingly funny, more vibrant. This often creates a cluster of laughter from my classmates which in return feeds my ego. But when I was asked to use perdere in a sentence, I got mixed reviews judging from the faces that were looking at me. Forse io sono stanco? Perhaps I was just tired? Or maybe I’m getting bored of this class for not getting what I think I should be getting out of it?

Two, three, four. I actually lost track how many students have dropped out since the midterm exam. These folks appear to be the serious, studious types but they disappeared from the class one by one. I ran into a couple of them the past weeks so I got the scoop why they stopped coming to class. Somehow the Italian class kept coming up no matter how much I tried to evade the subject.

Maybe folks are getting fed up because of the class schedule? We get a 15 minute break after an hour and a half of lesson and then we do another hour and a half working on our listening comprehension by watching short video clips in Italian. Some of our classmates do what la profesoresa calls ‘italian break’ which means skipping the second half of the class. Like my first teacher in Italian, la profesoresa is from the old country but she’s more Americanized in thinking and in the way she acts - and she sticks to the timetable and prefers the 'american break'. We don’t get out of the building until 10pm, long after the rest of the students from the other evening language classes have long gone. I am extremely thankful I only get to do this one evening a week.

Stories about a black cat, about a city called Lucca or her back problems get recycled almost excessively. This is somehow considered
cultura italiana. Accounts of her childhood, travels, and family stories also get thrown in the mix. I must admit they are great stories to hear the first time but I'd rather have more time in class speaking my modest Italian. This is a conversational italian class after all.

After last night’s class, I may be heading on the same direction as the others who stopped going to the class. The Salvadoran already missed two meetings. Maybe I’ll skip next week’s? This is like SPAN10C all over again.


( One of my favorite cafes in the City, Cafe Trieste. Taken around the North Beach neighborhood of San Francisco.)

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