04 June 2007

What did you say?!

Ya...that's pretty much how I have felt all day long!!!

Vic and I woke up early this morning for our first day of official class!! We were so excited and got there kind of early but we didn't really know how long it would take us to walk there. We are living in what would be the equivilant of a downtown area...near al the 'hot spots' if you will....so we take all the main streets. And let me just tell you....so we walked out of our flat this morning to the busy streets; much more busy than usual because it's monday and everyone is on their way to work. These streets and not two way highway style streets (just look at the pix) so there is room enough for one small Italian car and a few people...but there are lots of cars an tons of people!! And these cars stop for nothing!! You better get out of the way or be run over!! It's pretty crazy and I had to save Vicki's life at least 6 times before we made it to the school!! The walk up Siena to the school took us about half and hour and I was really feeling the walk from yesterday in my calves!! I felt like I had bricks for calves!! It's all this walking everywhere on stones thing! AND....you would think that since I am walking everywhere all day everyday, the food that I eat wouldn't really affect me, right?? NOT TRUE!!! After all is said and done I will be back in America weighing at least ten pound more!! But it't totally worth it!! YA!! The food is delicous!! Roberta packed us a pasta lunch and fresh cherries. BENE BENE!!!

Anyways...so we walked all the way to school which only took about half an hour, maybe less and this is pretty girly but let me just say: So Vic and I got ready as usual, curled our hair and bla bla bla...literlly, not a second later, but literaly when we stepped out side, the moisture from the air made our hair pretty much like a board!! Bummer!! It's nice but we sure did learn not to spend anymore time doing out hair...there is no use!! The weather is amazing though!! Ok, I digress...So the first day of school.......................

Italian was our first class; and first of all it's just the five of us students and the room is pretty small, only about 15 desks, which are also small. Our Italian teacher walks in and introduces herself, in Italian of course, and her name is Maria. She speaks just a hint of English but not enough to teach us Italian via English!! Ya, it was stinkin hard. We used a lot of huh, what, que, again, eh????? But when it was all said in done, somehow, and I don't know how, we understood her. We learned alot of little words in Italian...which I only remember when I refer to my notes....also learned some formalities as far as introductions. What phrases you use with what person and so on...That was all we had time for because of the language barrier and by now, my brain is on overload, partly from the language hangover!! :)

Due to the language hangover I really needed a pick me up so Vicki, Errol, Sherman (our UNM prof) and I headed down to a nearby bar...which is for coffee in Italy. Starbucks has nothing on the delicious coffee that the Italiano's brew up. None of it is flavored or has any added nonsense like the Bucks does. It's straight delicous coffee that will really kick you out of any tired funk!! So I had my fix for the day...and a yummy apple pastrey somethin somethin...LOVE IT!

Next we had LIS (Italian Sign Language). This class I was more scared of since I don't know Italian in the first place, how will I ever understand what he is saying in LIS!!! HOWEVER...LIS is so much easier to understand than Italiano!! And this is why, I think....So since I already know ASL, I can kind of gather what he is saying. If we don't undestand a word, we do a little gesture dance until it is figured out. We aren't allowed to use any ASL to clarify words. We have to figure it out and he will tell stories are add gestures till the bulb comes on!! It's really cool how it works out that way. We learned how to sign all the numbers from 1-30, which a completely different than ASL; we learned all the colors...most of which are different so some distinct differences. He would point to a color and then show us the sign...this was pretty easy as you can imagine. And by he, I am meaning our teacher, Luigi...a very neat man who knows ASL but won't let us use it!! :) But that's ok...that's the whole point of a language emmersion program, right??!!! After he showed us the signs for every object in our little room, which wasn't much at all, it's very small...he signed us a story using all the words he had just taught us. These stories actually used more classifiers than actual sings, which was the point. We then had to copy his story and sign it to someone else in the room...And he watched...He would call you out if you used any ASL!!! He is very quick to catch any non-italian sign!!!

It's so interesting to me that I can easily understand what is being said in LIS than the spoken or written Italian. Even though he is teaching us in LIS via Italian, I totally understand what he is saying. An I have found that my brain is quickly latching on to all of the signs and so far, 12 hours later...I still remember them all!!! Language is a really interesting thing.... After these two hours of LIS, I really needed a break!

We took a lunch and ate Roberta's amazing pasta creating! We sat out on the roof of the School and took in the scenery around the school! It's cool to look out around you and see nothing but lucious rolling green hills!! It's awesome...I'm never leaving...but if I do , I will for sure come back!

After lunch we had a Italian Deaf History and Culture class. The woman who teaches this is named Rita Sala. She is an Italian interpreter. She is an outstanding interpreter! She knows Italian, LIS, english and some ASL. Really awesome!! She starts talking so fast in english, that with her accent, she may as well be speaking in Italian!! This class is pretty cool so far, considering we were only in it for an hour. We realy just covered the introductions part of the class and then moved into a topic of Sign writing. This is a very complex topic that always is accompanied with a debate! It's fun though. A CODA and a girl fro Gallaudet had a little this and that spat with eachother on their views of Sign writing and argued their points with eachother. I think it really just depends. The debate was fun, I'm no gonna lie, I was pretty tired at this point so I didn't chime in . Vicky and I stil couldn't really sleep at the right times so we ended up staying up until almost three in the morning!! We weren't really tired this morning but by the end of this class, we were beat.

But that wasn't the end! O NO!!! A woman named Virginia Voltera had writtena book about LIS. She is the Dennis Coakley of LIS. (you can google that name if you don't know who he is) So she just wrote her second book and we all headed over to her book 'inaguration' if you will. The room that it was in was called the red room...but no one really knows why...the room is green. Weird. But anyway...we all sat down in the chairs and waited for it to start. Now this was a language barrier of all time!! It was really very cool to watch. The speakers only spoke Italian. So they would speak in Italiano, the interpreter would interpret the Italian into LIS, then another person, which happened to be Luigi, would 'mirror' the interpreter from the back of the room, and another person up from would interpret the LIS into ASL!! It was a feat for sure and it made my head spin!! There was no spoken english so it was kind of like playing telephone with the message...I think it came out ok though!! Me and Vicki were so tired and we had to keep poking eachother to stay awake!! I'm not entirely sure what was all talked about, I may have missed a few things, but in general, the book, it's significance, and about LIS.

When it was finally over we headed back to our flat, which fortunately was only a couple minutes away. Roberta told us that dinner was at 8:30 so we were plenty on time...it was only 7. When we got home I fell right asleep...I needed a little siesta!!! Vicki fell asleep too and we were serenaded by the loudest thunder I have ever heard!! In NM the storms will only be around for a few minutes and then they are gone, but here, it thundered and light up our room for a couple of hours!! It was amazing!! The thunder was so loud it shook the beds!! Ok, maybe not our beds, but I haven't ever heard it that loud in NM!!!

The thunder is not what woke us up however!! Roberta cam e into our rooms yelling our names! She though maybe something had happened to us because of the storm!! It was already 9 and she had gotten stuck in the storm!! We were so tired we didn't even realize how late it was!! She felt bad that she had missed dinner, but we didn't care at all...we were so tired!! She made us some pasta and pizza for dinner..yummy...and we chased it with some gelati! Which is pretty much the best ice cream of all time!! Gotta try it!

That's the sum up of the day...I'm getting a cold so I may have left out some details. I will add them later. Hope you are enjoying the blog!!

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