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Monday, La Finestra/Porta, e Parliamo Italiano

I got up at 6, and after coffee and a shower, tried the window again. I went to my "new cafe" around the corner for a couple cappucini, and bought some pastries to bring to my teacher, Andrea's house. He arrived at my apartment shortly after 9 and immediately solved my door problem. There are 3 positions: down is locked, up makes a window, and left makes it a door. I had tried all of these (and everything in-between), but the mechanism is a little tricky and needed oil. He opened it on the first try! Problem solved. But like a good teacher, he made me practice, and also try it on the bedroom doors. La mia finestra e una porta adesso! (My window is a door now!) It really is so simple, but made me so crazy.

We walked to Via Farini and took bus 11 to another stop beyond the train station, then took bus 25 to a block from Andrea's house.It is a very nice townhouse with front yard and a nice garden and covered terrace.


I was greeted warmly by Andrea's lovely wife, Daniela. I also met Andrea's colleague, Anna, and her student, Kathy, an interpreter from Hungary. After a cup of coffee, the other pair went upstairs for their lesson, and I showed Andrea and Daniela 2 photo books I brought of Brad, Ego, and my life in Palm Desert. He was assessing my skills. Good and bad news: I have a few bad habits, (like saying "tutti", when it should be "tutto", and occasionally throwing in a word of my mom's dialect. Andrea thought I had a good vocabulary and amazing comprehension.

Andrea is a very kind and patient teacher. We talk completely in Italian, and he corrects me in a calm mannor. (I can ask a clarification question if necessary in English.) I am not stressed, and I feel confident that I will learn a LOT in 3 weeks. We began with basic grammar and verbs. We did drills with repetition, read a paragraph in Italian, then he asked me questions about each sentence in the story, then retold the story making it about me, etc. I did some reading as well. My head was swimming after 3 hours. I took lots of notes, he writes things down for me and has handouts. We do not use a book. My homework is to review what we did today, and memorize some verbs in all their forms.

Another student, Lisa, from New York arrived before lunch, and we had a chance to chat. The three students:


Andrea and his colleague, Anna


Soon, lunch was ready.


We all enjoyed Daniela's delicious pranzo: tagliatelle with ragu Bolognese, invotini of veal, stuffed with cheese and prosciutto in a sauce with roasted peppers and cream, roasted veggies, bread and salad.



Afterwards, we had cheeses with fig jam, cactus jelly I brought, and dates from Palm Desert with coffee.

After lunch, Andrea took Kathy and I for an excursion into the hills outside of Bologna.


We visited a small borgo in the Parco Regionale where we saw an beautiful old abbey, Abbazia di Monteveglio.



Inside is a church on two levels, that was very simple, yet moving. A stone staircase goes up to the top level and second altar. Simple arches form small nooks. Behind the church is a cloister, where Franciscan brothers live and work. It was very charming, The borgo has a restaurant, a B&B, an old chapel, and a few small houses.


On the way back, we stopped at a couple of roadside fruit stands for fresh
local strawberries and cherries. Andrea dropped me off a block from my apartment. after 6. It was a long day, and I was exhausted. I stopped in my neighborhood for a few grocery supplies, as I didn't want dinner. I picked up some cheese, salami, proscuitto, wine and crackers.

I was carrying my large Palmabella's Italy bag, my big purse, all my papers and a book, my sweater, and now I had a grocery bag. I didn't want to make a trip with all the various locks and keys (3) up the stairs to the apartment until I stopped at the tabacchi for phone minutes, called Brad, and got gelato-to-go. I asked the salami guy if there was a restroom. He took me in the back, through a wine bar, to his rest room. I THOUGHT he said, "I will close this door, and no one will come in", but apparently he said, "non chuisa la porta, no one will come in". Yes, I used the restroom, and was locked in! The doorknob came off in my hand, screws and all. I knocked, I waited, I chuckled. I yelled, "Scuzi!" He had closed the door from the Enoteca, so he couldn't hear me knocking and yelling for 10 minutes. Finally he came to see if I was ok. I was very calm, and knew he would come looking for me. It was actually kind of funny. What is it with me and doors in Italy?

Comments (14)

Barb Cabot:

I think your teacher and the whole way you are learning italian sounds so natural and non threatening. You are so well equipped with your natural abilities that this experience will be so beneficial. Sounds like a really lovely way to improve your italian. You describe things so well. You and your door stories...could be a movie.

Love the doors - apparently they are conspiring to keep you THERE!


I love the way your language lessons are set up, it sounds fantastic! During the three weeks you are studying, will each day consist of the more formal lessons, followed by lunch and an excursion? I am sorry to read about getting stuck in the bathroom but am glad you could laugh about it and not get too stressed out! Buon proseguimento!

Hehehehe! Love the door story! Hope you have a great time!

OMG! Two door incidents already! Be careful - be very careful!

I'm enjoying traveling with you.

Sounds like you had a wonderful first day of class and it seems like a great way to study.

More beautiful photos as well, I am glad the weather is cooperating for you.


Che avventura! Brava! You look *so* happy!


Funny about the Doors!


Yay the door is working! Glad to hear that. And your classes sound wonderful! What a perfect setup. Is it every day?


I'm with Jerry -- Italy is conspiring to keep you there, Palma!!!

Your class sounds fantastic, very intensive but fun.


I love that, because of the time difference, your blog is up and ready for me to enjoy with my morning coffee!

Do you get lunch and an excursion every day?

Oh, the DOORS!


Thanks PalmaBella for letting me travel "along with you". I just finished laughing out loud after reading your "locked door bathroom" story. Yes, I'd say a movie is definitely in the works! Suggested title: Palma "Unlocked" in Italy!!!


Too too funny about the doors! The countryside around Bologna is so beautiful. You know you're not in Tuscany!

I would love to do a language class! Especially if they feed you amazing meals like the one you photographed!! holy moly that looks beyond fabulous!

Please, photos of the door handles in various positions. It could make for a great "postcard" on Slowtrav!

Your teacher sounds fabulous. Reading your blog posts is making me want to study in Bologna next summer!

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