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Report 472: Back to Uni to Learn Italian - A Month in Perugia

By Pamela R from Sydney, Australia, Fall 1998

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Page 2 of 31: Wednesday 2nd September

After a hasty coffee and panino with prosciutto at Milano, the café/bar just around the corner from the apartments, the four Secondo Grado girls were off at 8 o’clock for the first class of about fifteen students, with teacher Elena Guerrieri. A delightful person, she nonetheless spoke rather quickly and the shared feeling was one of bewilderment and some doubt about keeping up with the pace.

Peter was waiting at the University entrance at 10 o’clock to offer welcome support and encouragement.

After establishing an account at the Internet Centre nearby on Via Pinturicchio, we walked up into il centro and found Perugia’s wonderful covered market building, where we bought the makings of lunch to take home. Great prosciutto, pecorino, olives and bread on the top level which contained all such providores, then, from a lovely lady at a vegie shop on the lower level, tomatoes, nectarines and basil, including a complimentary bunch which was going to seed but looked really nice in an empty beer bottle vase and helped cheer up our otherwise rather spartan apartment.

Just as we were about to start, in true Italian fashion, our post-prandial siesta, there was a knock on the door which announced Jason, Andrea and Sarah (the only ones not living in our apartment building) who had walked right across town to say hullo and see how we were settling in. They stayed for an hour or so, leaving only when the maid arrived to collect a whopping L.100.000 deposit on the key to the apartment. After great difficulty we managed to extract a second key (in fact the master key off her bunch, which she was most reluctant to relinquish).

Suddenly there was no time for the much-needed rest as Pamela’s group had its next class – esercitazione with Giuseppe Pauselli at Palazzina Prosciutti – from 5 o’clock till 7. Giuseppe was a charming young man and it became a joy to attend his lessons as he spoke clearly and was quite easy to understand, and also very encouraging in his teaching style.

We’d decided to meet in the Corso Vannucci after the 7 o’clock finish of classes, and Peter and Roland (already with a beer under their belts) were easily spotted sitting at a table under a red market umbrella outside Sandri, the oldest and most famous of Perugia’s many café/bars where the waiters also wore distinctive red waistcoats – it made a very colourful scene. Another round of drinks was ordered, arriving with another small plate of Sandri’s traditional savoury snacks on toothpicks. It was hard to take! This was where we learned to ask for bitter Campari con acqua tonica rather than just Campari e tonica. (The locals actually drink Campari and soda, which comes pre-mixed.)

We had planned to eat out together but Debbie was too tired and was resting, so Roland returned home and we did una passeggiata, as one does, phoned Margaret, then returned for a home-prepared strangozzi semplice (using our lovely tomatoes and basil from the markets), followed by an early night.

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