Hello Internet world!
This post finds me in the inferno that is Bologna – the highest temperature predicted for today is 41 degrees Celsius a.k.a. 105 degrees Fahrenheit. While I love this city, I have never experienced the full force of its summer, which is the month of August. It’s certainly a wake up call – I never realized how spoiled I was, but now I realize air conditioning is really one of the best inventions ever. My boyfriend’s apartment supposedly has air conditioning, but it’s really fussy and decides to shut off halfway through the night, so you wake up strangled by your sweat. Apart from that lovely aspect, so far my two days in Bologna have been fun – saw some old friends made during my six months abroad and also just walked around the city, which never gets old for me. Of course, these walks happen after dinner when it’s a few (literally one or two) degrees cooler. In my attempt to stay cool, I decided to stay in and make cookies yesterday – I immediately regretted my decision when I realized the oven was merely making the apartment more sweltering (yes, it took me that long to think it through. I’m a genius). From now on I will only be tackling cold plate/salad recipes.
My work with ACLE is officially over for the summer. It’s a bittersweet feeling – while I love sleeping in past 7:30 in the mornings, I do already miss all my host families and the connections I’ve made. While I worked for six weeks straight, it certainly didn’t feel that long. I met up with a fellow tutor last night in Bologna as she was also vacationing after ACLE, and we reflected on how the experience is like no other in that you meet so many different people, you make these great connections with the students which in turn get them excited about English and you are sent to many beautiful and different Italian cities that you would’ve normally passed right by with TrenItalia. This summer I was fortunate enough to see Crema, Pandino, Trieste and Fiumicello, as well as a myriad of other cities thanks to my generous host families. I even wound up in Slovenia for an afternoon! The point is, before I get too nostalgic, that because of these opportunities, my desire to continue working with TEFL and non-native speakers is even stronger.
While I might complain at the end of a single day, the whole experience is one of the most gratifying things in the world; when a 6-year-old who has minimum English asks me (in perfect English) “Can I go to the bathroom please?” because they remember the vocabulary from camp, it makes me indescribably happy. When I have conversations in English with the older kids on Facebook after camp ends, I know it is because they want to practice their English and they are actually interested in other cultures. They all figure out I can speak Italian by the end of camp but they still try to speak English and it gives me hope that, in this technologic age, not everyone will settle with seeing the world through their computer screen – there will still be those who will step outside of the comfort zone and feel the satisfaction that comes with surpassing a moment of total fear, like immersing yourself in a foreign country.
That said, time for an Italian breakfast (and the first of many showers today). I’ve got a lot planned for this month in Bologna and I’ll be sure to keep you updated! For now, enjoy our a/c if you have it and alla prossima!