Hello internet world! Let me first explain the change in blog name: seeing as I’m no longer in Bologna for a long stretch of time (though it will always be my Italian point of reference), I’ve changed the title of the blog to the phrase that most host families have used when describing me. They are always taken aback when I rattle off the short list of food I don’t like, number one and two being Coca-Cola and mayonnaise. Therefore, coincidentally, some families have called me the Americana Atipica – the atypical American girl.
I’m at the 3/4 mark of my 2-week camp in Pandino and, let me be the millionth to testify that time flies when you’re having fun! The age group I have now is close to perfect – they’re 13-15 years old and we play TEFL (teaching english as a foreign language) games all day long. There are no boring grammar lessons where I’m standing at the board making them repeat phrases until their eyes glaze over; we have conversations and we are able to share ideas pretty easily, whether it’s a design for a page in the camp magazine or an idea for the show they will put on Friday night. It’s really amazing to hear them put together these full phrases that are actually coherent. It’s groups like these that affirm my desire to keep doing ACLE and TEFL.
In other news, I spent this past weekend in Bologna visiting my boyfriend – it was a nice change of scenery and pace. My voice had all but disappeared at the previous camp but after having a well-behaved group in Pandino and have a weekend of pure R&R, my voice is back in full swing. Bologna was hot and hectic as the period of sales has begun (in all of Italy, actually. They don’t normally have clearance racks like in the US – every sale is strictly coordinated according to season). Of course one of the weekend’s highlights was this great trattoria in Corticella where I got an amazing radicchio, pancetta, and pine nut salad, dressed with some oil and balsamic vinegar. I wish I had a picture but even photographic proof can’t begin to relay how amazing it was.
This second week of camp has, in the past, been difficult: the kids know you well enough so they stop “respecting” your authority (if you had any in the first place), and they also must get accustomed the new class dynamics as there are usually one or two new students per class who only attend the second week. So far, yesterday was the toughest day. It was a typical Monday in that no one wanted to listen nor participate and I could feel my vocal chords straining, especially during the morning warm-up circle. Tuesday was a little calmer – we fortunately have enlisted another Tutor to take a specialized class of 5 kids who, when in a big group, cause problems because they are either too advanced or don’t understand. This new smaller class was really successful today and I hope it continues to be like that for the next 3 days of camp, especially because some of these kids are only attending camp for the second week, so it’s important they get as much out of this week as possible.
I’ll know where my next location is (either on hold or another camp) around Thursday or Friday. While my host mom refuses to believe this doesn’t give me ansia (anxiety), after having one year of ACLE under my belt I’m much more at ease with the placement system. Che sarà, sarà!