View Italy Photography
I am molto happy…for many reasons. But the primary reason is that I’m on ‘Pause’. I arrived in Sorrento last week, drug my bag down the cobblestone narrow streets and arrived at my home for the next 4 weeks. Sure, it was fun to meet Signor and Signora Bandi, my hosts, but the real fun was getting to fully unpack all of my bags in my little room. Seriously, unpacking was practically orgasmic. I have a closet that is all mine – with hangers! I have drawers, I have a vanity, I have a desk. Never in my life would I have thought that I could get this excited about simple accommodations and a room that is probably about 100 square feet. I cleared out every item from my suitcase, every pocket, every bag, giving each item a new little proper home.
I love traveling…love it…I have grown to hate my suitcase about as much as I hated going to work on a Monday, or getting up at 5:45 AM to run in the rain after 5 hours of sleep. It actually makes me wonder why in the world I’m planning on extending my travel through October when I’m already sick of living out of a suitcase. My only answer is that I love traveling so much that I’m willing to make the sacrifice I guess. Plus if I plan little stops like a month in Sorrento, it kind of revitalizes me. When I put away the empty suitcase in the corner of my room, all I could think about was that I wouldn’t have to look at it again until 4 weeks had passed – Happy, Happy, Joy, Joy.
Cooking and language schools in Sorrento
Many of you might be wondering why I’m staying in Sorrento for 4 weeks. I have always had some dream to live in Italy. I’m not sure why, maybe it’s the food, the countryside, the ‘la dolce vita’ (living the sweet life), or the sexy sounding language and accompanying hand gestures. The fact that as an American I’m lazy and do not know how to speak any other languages has always bothered me. I don’t regret too many things in my life…except for the fact that I never learned another language. It has always seemed like some mystical thing to me – on par with the performers in Cirque de Soliel. I have the utmost respect for people who can speak multiple languages – as well as an equal amount of jealousy. However, learning a new language at 37 years old…well…it’s molto difficile! I walked around the first day I arrived and became familiar with Sorrento. I was elated as I explored…what a beautiful town I was able to live in for a month….I must really be the luckiest person in the world. My new daily schedule would be to attend 2 hrs of grammar classes a day, 2 hrs of conversation classes a day, and 4 hrs of cooking classes plus dinner afterward on Mon-Wed-Fri.
I was also pleased to find out that my ‘cooking school package’ that I signed up for also included an additional 3 nights of dinner at the cooking school. Therefore, I practically lived at the language school every morning, and at the cooking school every night. I had a schedule…places to be, things to do, people to see…responsibilities for the first time in 8 months! I was rather excited about having a schedule again…about as excited as I was about having a closet! By putting my travel on ‘pause’ for a month, this also meant that I would be able to get some semblance of a running schedule again. This was absolutely necessary since I was to be eating a 4 course Italian meal 6 nights a week…Mama Mia!
I was placed in a beginning language class and we started from step one. My fellow classmates were great. It was mainly Americans, and one Australian as we were all English speakers and all equally struggled with the idea of masculine and feminine words. By the end of the week my brain was full – I really could not save away another new word to my brain…it was impossible. It is exhausting trying to constantly concentrate and translate every word that someone says. The moment your brain starts to wander, you are history. However, I love my fellow classmates – we laugh and commiserate together quite often.
Living local for a month in Sorrento, Italy
After one week of being back on a schedule, I realized…you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. I thought that maybe after traveling in a laid back lifestyle for 8 months I would be less prone to the old traps that I used to fall into…lack of sleep, too much drinking, always being 10 minutes late to everything, and too much partying in general. I can now safely say…people really don’t change…they just don’t. All of a sudden I’m back to getting 6 hrs of sleep a night, going out way too late, and drinking 3 glasses of wine every night. I have had to self proclaim Sunday as my dry day…’no-booze-Sunday’ (as this is the only day that I don’t go eat at the cooking school where the wine seems to flow like tap water). Waking up to an alarm at 6:40 to run is painful…just as painful as it was in NYC. I hate alarms…they are evil.
I have also managed to create a weekly schedule that leaves me no too little free time to relax. Somehow I have planned away all of my free time. I met some Italian guy the other night that wanted to take me out for a coffee date (more on that later), and I found myself saying…”well, I’d love to go but I’m busy Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday – so the only free time I have is on Thursday between 5 and 7:30PM…can we fit it in then?” How is it that after 8 months of being unemployed, living in another country, having no real responsibilities – I still can’t find time to date. My Freudian answer would be…deep down, I must not want to date therefore I fill all of my free time with other activities….but enough about my psychological issues…this is supposed to be a short post.
After one week, I have made friends, I learned how to make home-made pasta, I can conjugate regular verbs, I have a local bar with my new friends Massimo and Luigi, I have been asked out on a date by an Italian man named Mario, and I know the Italian word for ‘drunk’ – ubriachi. All in all, it’s been pretty successful…very successful. I have no idea where the time goes, it just disappears into the beautiful, blue Almalfi sky. The ‘pause’ is good, very good. However, it still doesn’t make me want to come back to real life…I’m not quite ready for that yet – I still have plenty of exploring to do. Instead, I plan to soak up every bit of this experience that I can as it may the one and only time that I get to really live in Italy…la dolce vita.