Learning Italian and making friends

Published by javierandbriana on

After Briana was confirmed for residence in Firenze we knew that she would soon be able to obtain her ID card, and we were continuing to build some positive momentum. The fact that Briana and I don’t speak Italian has been the greatest obstacle when dealing with all the government offices. Although it wasn’t something that could immediately be remedied, it was time for us to get serious about learning Italian.

Lucky for me Briana is great at research and usually takes the lead when finding offices, accommodations, or any general services. After due diligence on her part we found a language school (there are a ton in Florence) that suited our needs. We purchased 3 weeks of classes from La Parola, 4 hours a day 5 days a week.

We began class and were happy to find that most of our classmates were at our same learning level as we were. The teachers were friendly and the curriculum was intensive. Class was a great way to make new friends with common goals. The first ones we spent time with outside of class were Rob and Lindzi Drummond.

Our two new friends were a married couple from the UK and we hit it off immediately. Our first evening out with them was a blast, so we continued to join forces during their time here.  Befriending the Drummond’s reminded us that in spite of all the paperwork and errands to run, we needed to make more of an effort to make some new friends.

We decided to host a lunch at our home and invite the whole class over to try some of my food that everyone was curious about. These days it seems the easiest way to win people over is to feed them something delicious, which of course is my forte. A few days before the lunch we made another friend, Rebecca. She overheard us speaking English on the bus and struck up a conversation with us. It turned out Rebecca is an English language teacher and lives down the street from us. She and her coworkers are all from the states and live in the same house. We invited her and one of her colleges over along with our classmates.

I prepared some Thai food for everyone and to my pleasant surprise, it was the first time some of them had ever experienced the flavors of Thailand.  We decided to host our classmates outside thanks to some lovely spring weather. Our home sits on an enormous plot of land and just outside of our doorstep there is an area roughly the size of two football fields, which provides plenty of room to entertain. The food turned out great and we all had a blast.

By our third week of class, we were well past the time that Briana should have received a confirmation to pick up her ID. At this point, having dealt with so much miscommunication, Briana decided to call the Anagrafe office to learn the status of her confirmation. Unfortunately, 2 weeks of school had not taught us nearly enough to explain our issue over the phone in Italian. Briana decided to miss a day of class in order to go to the office in person. To our astonishment she left the office with her brand new Italian ID (carta d’ identita).  I could not begin to express just how momentous this was for the both of us, we were overjoyed.

Now that Briana was in possession of her ID, one huge priority was to pick up our car in Bologna since it had been sitting there collecting dust for two months. Briana’s ID meant we were now able to secure car insurance and head to Bologna to collect our little Polo.

Picking up our car required missing another day of class so we decided to contact the school to see our options. Luckily they were very flexible and told us we could return at a time of our choosing to complete our final full week of classes. Months after purchasing it, we now had our car. It may not seem like a huge accomplishment but it meant a lot to us. Mostly it meant we could now purchase groceries without having to carry a ton of bags on the bus and we could now explore new markets. It also brought us a new sense of freedom because we could now start exploring the nearby countryside on day trips.

New interesting friends and the completion of some big goals have left us feeling accomplished and reinvigorated. We are grateful for everything that has brought us to this point and are excited for what lies ahead.


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