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Meghan: my mornings & my trip to Venice

October 10, 2010

The Piazza is a different world in the early morning. The fountain of Neptune is empty, with only pigeons keeping him company instead of the usual students casually leaning against its steps waiting for their friends for a night out. Nor are the cafés overrun with people, leisurely enjoying there cappuccino and brioche with the local paper in hand. I walk by, dodging the occasional business man, his phone glued to his ear, or the those daring rats on wings searching for food, heading towards my early morning classes. Of course, everyday I am early to class, and everyday my professors are late.

I won’t begrudge the lost class time, because frankly two full hours of lecture on Romance Languages and their origins and Italian literature is quite enough for one day. The lecture hall is cold, and packed with 40 or more Italian students from all over Italy—which naturally led to quite an interesting and heated discussion on Italian dialects and their origins both assumed and true. Each day I sit near the front, pen ready to copy every mumbled or slurred word, understood or not, the professor says. My notes are obviously a mess, following the erratic pattern of the professors lecture, with unfinished sentences and random dates scribbled in the margin. I’m trying to convince myself that it will become more clear in a few weeks, but for now, my only hope is to write down as much as possible and to not start daydreaming, for a stray thought on what I will have for lunch will set me back about five minutes.

Aside from the extremely new way of teaching and learning in Italy, I can say that I am absolutely in love with my classes and actually want to do more in the class then just get by with a good grade. I can’t even explain how exhilarating and interesting it was when we began comparing latin based languages to Sanscritt and it’s origins! I just hope that I will stay as interested as I am, and will pass my oral exam a few months from now. The dreaded oral exam, that all foreign students along with most Italians, fear more then anything. After a semester worth of lectures, almost 60 hours worth, our only and final grade is based on our “interview” of sorts with the professor. The prof. can ask us anything and everything about the course, so you truly have to know and be able to explain, not simply regurgitate mindless facts, in order to pass. Yes, I’m scared. But all I can do is take it one step at a time.

* * * * * *

Kylie and I decided to spend our Friday afternoon in Venice, before classes truly started to become difficult and time consuming. To start, the weather was absolutely perfect. A perfectly blue sky with a cold breeze off of the sea made Venice one of the most pleasant trips so far. As we walked out of the train station we were greeted first thing with one of the main canals of the ancient city. With no map, and no desire to find one, we quickly found something to eat (of course, cheap pizza) and started our wandering: an activity I have truly become an expert at. We zigzagged our way over bridge after bridge, through streets only big enough for two people side to side. Best of all, I didn’t see or hear one car!

I’ve heard mix reviews on Venice, but in my opinion, I haven’t been to a more beautiful city. It probably helped that we went in October, where there was almost no tourists and the weather was amazing and the air fresh and exhilarating. It was an extremely relaxing afternoon of sightseeing and window shopping; admiring all of the handmade masks prepared for Carnevale (Italian Mardi Gras). In all, it was a great and cheap day trip. I really can’t wait to go back sometime soon! But for now, classes come first.


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