Saturday, October 06, 2007

Basketball in Italy?

Talk about being the last one to know. I was at home having a nice Saturday afternoon--going out for a run, finishing up my Harry Potter book in Italian, watching Chi Vuol Essere Millionario...and then my husband called me in from the computer and said, "So, do you want to know any basketball scores?"

Basketball scores? That's weird. I said, "No no, NBA basketball hasn't started yet." But I got up just the same and, once I got to the office, I looked over his shoulder, and come across this news: NBA Europe is back! And it's here in Italy! Wow! Last year's games were so successful (the Suns played in Rome last year, and I never knew how to get tickets!), that they decided to bring two teams over to Rome for the NBA European series (which includes games in Spain, England, and Turkey as well): The Boston Celtics and the Toronto Raptors.

My heart beat fast. Did I come on this news in time? Maybe there would still be a chance to get tickets (I've suddenly become a Celtics fan after they traded for one of my favorite players: Kevin Garnett)! I did some quick searching.

And guess what? In your opinion, does this post end happily? What could make a good Saturday afternoon go bad? You guessed it--it's too late to get tickets for this game, since the teams are playing RIGHT now (as in, at 10 pm on a Saturday, they are in the 3rd quarter...Boston is up, by the way). Um, any way I could get a helicopter ride to Rome in time for the final seconds of the game? Didn't think so.

Ugh. I hate to say this for two years in a row, but NEXT YEAR I'm going to an NBA game here in Italy!


PS If anyone is in Rome tomorrow (October 7th) and wants to see one of the games, the Toronto Raptors will be playing against Rome, which will be an interesting move for the Italian star of the Raptors, Andrea Bargnani.

And, don't miss the article about the Celtics touring Rome. Despite the writer's bad form in comparing Rome's sites to those of Disneyland, you gotta love the photo of the Celtics in Gladiator gear!

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

The answer, my friend...

My thoughts are elsewhere lately, and I haven't been blogging much over here at Allora Aspetta. There has been a lot going on these past few days, in all sorts of areas of my life, but one area that has been keeping my mind on work is the Intensive English Course that I've been teaching. I'm sure you've noticed that I keep posting about the blog we're working on together: Blowin' in the Wind, which is actually the second blog that I've started during one of these ten day sessions (the first blog, The Surviving Fleas, is from July's course). Each of the ten days of the course consists of 8 hours of lessons, which my co-worker Claudia and I divide in half, her teaching grammar and exercises in a 4-hour session, and me continuing with conversation and activities during the other 4 hours. 8 hours is a lot, and with just an hour for a lunch break, it can be a bit exhausting for the students. Still, it's not as tough as it sounds--we do a lot of games and fun conversation activities (we've even watchecd movies!)--and the students are all around my age group--we talk about things that have to do with people our age, and we laugh. A lot. Actually, for me it's a little bit like play. It's rare that I get to say that about a job, so I feel kind of like it's been a bit of a blessing. Especially lately.

A mix of photos from the 10-day intensive English course. This group is dubbed Blowin' in the Wind based on the blog that they have created. From top left: Sandro, Ombretta and Irene, Svetlana and Flavio

Yesterday was the last day of the course, and, as expected, it was kind of hard to say goodbye to everyone. When I was younger, I used to work as a camp counselor, and the feeling you get when everyone says goodbye on the last day of camp is a bit like the way it feels to say goodbye to a good group of students: there are a lot of emails and cell phone numbers exchanged, promises to keep in touch, and some people say goodbye with tears in their eyes. Also, the blog has been more MINE than theirs lately, since this group hasn't been quite as blog oriented as the last one, so I find that, even when I'm home from work, I'm still updating their blog (there's a new calendar, polls, etc.! I've gone crazy) like it's my own baby. The group has promised to take that back into their own hands, but letting go of it for me is hard, too. As groups like this normally do, we've already said that we'll plan to get together to speak English over dinner, or that we'll meet up at various events, but, also like groups of this nature, that bond and strength that holds everyone together for 10 days sometimes dissolves once life is back to normal. Anyway, we'll see.

I don't know exactly what I'm trying to say with this post, except to pay tribute to my last 10 days of lessons, my fun and friendly students, and the way that they've helped me get through some rough spots that have been going on in my life lately, outside of work and Italy. These days I've needed someone there for me, and, in a way, this group was it, more than I expected. In the future, there will probably be more courses like this (there's actually one scheduled for mid-October already), if I can fit them into my schedule with the rest of my private lessons, teaching gigs etc. (I feel like I'm always trying to fit pieces of my work puzzle together in such a way that I'm working all hours of the day), and if that is so, I look forward to them. Each group is different--you never know what to expect. But I think, overall, if you put a group of people together to learn English for 10 days straight, something good and positive is definitely going to emerge from the experience. So far, that's how things have been--better than expected every time. Thank you, Blowin' in the Wind folks, for that.

Now I might just have to lug out the guitar and start strumming Bob Dylan tunes. Not such a bad fate, is it? :)