Before starting the report I just want to say that it has been difficult to update the blogs during my staying because the pc room was always full of people and everyone had just 20mins for wrtiting or checking e-mails or just for surfing the web, and then you had to give your pc to an other who needed it as much as you; so taking my time to think and write was not so easy, but now I'm here trying to write down what the last week has represented and what I've learned so far.
Day One, 11th April 2005
The day started with a long walt to reach the school; me and Dali arrived on time for our test, and it was just about grammar, listening and a short interwied to let teachers know our English knowledge level. I have been put in the 11th level on 12...just enough before being a mother tongue speaker! = )
As soon as I went to the class, I realized how funny would have been the week because everyone in the school had a friendly approach, and that was useful not to feeling a complete stranger within lots of other strangers.
I went to my class, after looking for it and climb so many stairs I can't even remember the number, (but trust me...they were lots!), and I met my class mates, 10 totals: me and Roberta from Italy, Eduardo from Brazil, Max, Dominic and Oliver from Deutchland, (right?), Rojin from Sweden and Alex and Svetlana from Russia...different countries, different ages, different backgruonds and last but not least differents " why I'm here to study English?"
Maybe the lessons are not so funny, we just check some grammar, do some listening and work in pair or groups about a topic, but they are fine because we can share experiences just in one language, and we have to it if we want to improve our speaking...but I think that it's not the whole thing...we have the opportunity to meet people from countries maybe far far away from our own and that's a bautiful experience to learn and have a comparison with any other in the same time!
After the morning lessons, we had a short break and I went to Dali to know how was his first impression and then we had to go to the next lesson, which, for me lasts just for one hour. This lessons is totally unuseful, but nevermind...
Before getting back home I decided to go for a short walk, it was the first day and I didn't want to go ack late for dinner...I mean the typical English dinner which starts at 6.30pm...but thinking about it, it's quite good because in Italy would mean eating at 7.30pm...more or less the same time I usually eat when both of my parents get out of job at a reasonable time!
I can spend hours talking about our English dinners...they're so gorgeus you can't ever imagine...oh Gosh I have to talk about that! Anyway...day first came to its end at about 9.30pm because I was so tired and still a bit nervous that as soon as I went to bed I fell asleep!
Day Two, 12th April 2005
I'm thinking about that day...I have to find something I did on that tuesday...I must have done something that day...ok I got it! never too late folks!
Well, after having such a great breakfast...yes I mean a great great breakfast...that's because Anne&Jerome usually leave the kitchen table already ready for the two of us to eat in the morning, here's the Menu':
Orange Juice to start as healthier as possible
Hot coffee, my way of coffee for a caffeine additcted as I am, and tea for the blonde austrian guy, but we have to prepare them by ourselves of course, otherwise they would be cold coffee and cool tea!
Wholewheal bread with Orange Marmelade or Straberry Jam fro him and Weetabix for me...
I do not ever have such a complete breakfast even at home on sundays....and that explains a lot!
Well, (again), after that we went to the school for our lessons, which were quite boring for the contents, but funny for the class itself...There's just one thing that made me angry...the italian girl wanted to speak italian with me all the time, but i told her it was not my point, and I think that her reaction was not so happy, but it was her problem, not mine!
In the afternoon, I went to the central area of London, just to check that everything was still the same as I left it last December! London has such a charme and going around by myself makes me feel an adult person. I'm glad even because I'm not afraid to go and try to face the problems you can have if you don't know how to move in a big city...I started a new philosophy, or a new way of thinking: If you are in London, take with you just the tube map, nothing else...you don' need anything but it because wherever you are, or wherever you need to go, you can go by the tube or taking a bus till the nearest tube station...that's how it goes...and it works!
Day Three, 13th April 2005
Busy day...lessons as usual, and then a beautiful tour for the city...went back to Regent Street, the fashion street for shopping, but I went there to go to Hamley's, one of the biggest toy shops in the world, as I've been told...if you are a bear-addicted as I am, there you can find the Bear Factory...the place to make your own Teddy Bear.
I made one for my sweet hun, Ste...who won't expect anything...it should my surprise.
It took me one hour and a half getting back home in the evening because of the traffic, it's amazing how many cars and buses are on the street at the same time, but what it is really amazing is the courtesy of the bus drivers, well not everybody, but most of them are really kind. Everytime I ask for informations, where to get off, where the bus stops, or whatever, they are always ready to answer and give as much help as they can. I can remember exactly the day, but one day I needed to go to a tube station and I didn't know where to get off, so I asked the driver because the only thing I knew was that near to the tube station there was a big shopping center, and the driver told me not to worry, to go and sit because he would have told me where to get off...then he came to me and told me that was my stop and it seemed that i was worried, I just said thanks...you won't find anything similar back in Italy!
Anyway, after Hamley's I went even to Liberty, which is the eldest shop in London, not far from ours Rinascente, but more sophisticated and fashinating...my mum asked me to go there to look for a piece of a carpet she's doing, I got lost after two minutes I was in, you just can see stairs, and old windows, and lots of shop assissants; you are rejected two centuries back in the past, the floors are still the wooden ones, the atmosphere there is quite unreal.
I finally managed to come back home in time for dinner, and after it I went to the nearest cinema to watch Constantine...bleah! what an horrible movie, bloody and scaring, well that's my problem: I have nightmares after those movies, but I go on watching them!
Day Four, 14th April 2005
Don't mention about lessons...just few words to say that I'm really happy about my class, we get on well together...not only can we talk a lot, but also we have a lot of fun during school time;
Beautiful afternoon...I spent good quality hours with Stefania, a friend of mine who's been living in London since nine years...she knows the city very well so she took me around for those areas not so turistic. We went from Sloan Square to Kensington trhough Hide Park, talking and talking and talking! The day was perfect to walk, just few drops of rain at the beginning, but the sun came out and a tender warmy weather had increased my will to stay "open air". She is very interesting and she taught me a lots because as a writer and a translator she studied in th Uk after her degree in Italy, so she already knows what it means going abroad for a long period, and I had so many questions to ask her about her studies, the life-style in an other country, but above all she's teaching me a lot about London itself, she knows where to go to find quite everything, she knows lot of little shops, kitchen shops, fine delis, organic food shops, you've never tought about.
We arranged to meet again the day after for an other unusual tour to Portobello and Nottin Hill.
As I came back home I called my mum, who started being worried because I told her how happy I am and what a wonderful time I'm having...she asked if I am about to come home somehow, but I don't know...well I know that I have to go back to Milan but thinking about that makes me sad. I am not homesick and I don't even want to become homesick, there's no reason why; I miss my mum, mu hun, and all my friends and belongings, but that does not mean that I have to go back just to show that I miss them all, they all know how much I love them, but I can love them here as well, not less but even more...I am fine now, it's one of those rare moments in which I can say "I AM HAPPY", I don't want anything to riun it, at all. I just want to keep every single instan and save it as a big treasure, that's why when I speak with Ste at the phone I don't wnat to say things like:" you can't imagine how much I miss you, I spend every moment of my daytime thinking about you, and every night dreaming of you"...no no no, I mean I miss him, but this is my life I have to live it before starting a brand new life with someone else. And the same thing values even talking about my family...the only person who's really supporting me is my guide-light, my auntie. She can understand my enthusiasm and my wellness here, and everytime I write her telling what I am doing, she replies telling to go on with this "yellow part" of my life which in Italy I usually got hidden and here it is coming out to shine and bright as the sun.
I spent two hours talking with Dali before sleeping...he changed my role from "shopping trainer" into "love-affair confident", or better into " agony aunt". We had an interesting chat exchanging experiences about our lives, what we usually do, how we face some situations, mostly love situations which usually require a touch of "you-know-how-to-behave". He's a funny guy, you just can joke with hime, but you also have the chance to talk seriously.
Day Five, 15 April 2005
Back to Notting Hill, what can I say? It's one of my faves borough here in London; simply unbelievable how many diffent cultures you can find just round the corner.
Stefania and I had a date out of the Queensway tube station, I can remember the name of the street, and we went to Portobello Road...the famous street known for its market on the saturday mornings, alway overcrowed by tons of italians shouting and getting every other person crazy. She showed me that in the same area you can find the Moroccan street, the Islamic area, the Latin street and whatever you can imagine it comes cocrete. There was a little market, not as big as the Saturday' one, but full of "strange" people who were looking for vintage clothes, or what we call "ninnoli-chincaglierie-paccottaglia", because in London you can;t be just a bit strange, if you are strange youhave to be really strange and not just fo one day.
Then we went to the "Spicy Shop" where I bought some spices to cook chicken and to give flavour to my future dishes; in front of this shop there is the most interesting book store of the whole city: "Books for Cooks"...my ideal store. You enter the shop and it is full of books just about cooking, two little sofas in the middle, and in theback a small cafeteria where the kitchen is open-air so you can see and taste the smell of the cakes the chefs are making in front of you while you are reading a book or your magazine. Oh Gosh! what a wonderful world! I took the planning for the summer cooking course....everything could happen, it's just April!
Unfortunately the afternoon was too short, I could spend hours talking with Stefania and getting around with her. The more I learn about London, the more I want to learn!
Too tired to go out in the evening, I was sorry to decline Dali's asking out but being out of home from 8.00am 'till 6.00pm is a bit stresfull, even if I do exactly want I want to do!
To be honest I have to say that I like spending time with Anne&Jerome instead of going to a pub sit down and drink something...I dont' even drink any alchool or cokes!!!!!!! = )
Having the chance to talk with them while they're cooking, and after dinner is the most beautiful way to know something new, we had a chat about the english school system, which is different from ours and I wanted to know a little bit more, because their son is going at University in Manchester, and I asked for informations about the degree, and things like that; an other time we talked about the difference between our immigration policy and the English one; I can have their opinion and Dali's one which is different again because he's from Austria and his life has many points in common with me but lots of differences.
Day Six, 16th April 2005
Saturday, no school...free time to spend...all day to enjoy London!
Yesterday evening Jerome asked me about the Tiramisu'...he told me that it is his daughter's favourite cake so we decided to cook it together because they often buy it at the store, but it's not the real italian Tiramisu'. I told him it really easy to make and it doen't take much time, we just have to wait to cool in the fridge for a night befour eating it.
Me and Dali went out of home a bit later than usual to go sightseeing London; we went to Baker Street tube station from where the tours usually start...it's fine because you can "hop up and hop down" the bus whwnever you want, you just have to get you ticket and you can jump off the bus if there is something you want to see, as the Tower of London or any other attractions, and then you can get on the bus again at any stop. We reached the London Eye, but we didn't go on it, there was a long long quew waiting, we decided to cruise on the Thames, because it was include in the price of the ticket; we went to the Tower Bridge and from there, back 'till Hyde Park corner, and then we walked till Knightsbridge.
We tried the "Yo! Sushi" restaurant, which is a sort of Sushi fast food, because you are sit at a bar, and you have a tapis-roulant between you and the chefs who are cooking sushi and who put the dishes on it; so you have all these dishes "running" in front of you, and you just have to choose the one you want to eat, take it and eat it! every dish has a different colour on its board, and every colour stays for a different price, for instance: the blue is for £ 1.50; the purple for £ 2.00, the green for £ 1.00, so you know befour taking any dishes how much you are going to spend. It was all really good, and even funny; I was looking at all those maki rolls running below my eyes and was to interested in what the chef were doing to eat anything, but after few minutes I started taking dishes, watching the colours to know the prices...amazing what they invent to satisfy people!
I had to take Dali to Harrod's, he though he was going shopping there, but as soon as he realized how expensive it was, for everything going from a simple gadget to a T-shirt, we went out; I' m sorry, he couldn't buy anything there!
No, questa e' troppo bella, devo scriverla in italiano perche' rende meglio...due giorni prima di andare da Harrod's ero tornata a casa con un sacchetto verde e Anne, vedendolo mi ha chiesto se ero anadata a fare compere li', ma le ho risposto di no perche' non e' un posto che mi interessa, visto una volta e' piu' che sufficente! l'austrico sentendo la parola compere e' andato in visibilio e ha chiesto che cosa fosse H. cosi' gli abbiamo spiegato che era il negozio piu' famoso del mondo, dove puoi davvero comperare quello che vuoi, dal pezzo di formaggio all'elicottero; ovviamente dalla luce dei suoi occhi abbiamo dedotto che voleva andarci, e ovviamente mi ha chiesto di portarlo, al che l'ho guardato ho acconsentito ma gli ho detto che era peggio di una donna nel periodo dei saldi...pero' giusto per fare un po' le "strozette" io e anne, gli abbiamo raccontato che per entrare serve essere vestiti bene, eleganti e almeno in giacca e cravatta, credo che siamo tanto convincenti dal tono e dall'espressione che lui e' rimasto basito e per due giorni ha creduto a questa balla. tremendo! mai vista una persona tanto credulona!!!! va beh quando gli abbiamo detto che era uno scherzo l'ha presa bene!
lots of things to say...just give me time,please!