My trip to Italy is More than half over now, but it's been quite interesting so far. The experience has been rather eye-opening! Things got off to a rather negative start. In fact, for the first few days, I was beginning to question the entire idea.
Upon arrival in Rome, all of my "romanticized" ideas of Italy were shattered. The city is ugly, dirty, covered in graffiti, and crawling with homeless people — of course you won't see any of that in Eat, Pray, Love, but it's an unavoidable reality the moment you board the train from the airport.
But that wasn't to be the worst of my disillusions. Far more concerning to me was the fact the I was having a really hard time understanding people! In Rome, in Pisa, and in Florence, I was having a dreadful time with comprehension... something abysmal, like 40% of what I heard. At times, even less.
At first, I was starting to question myself and everything I had done for the last year. I wondered, "Am I a fraud? Have I been fooling myself, and everyone else?" But every time I started to think that, I would talk to someone and realize it's not as bad as it seems... maybe I just need to get more listening practice.
But then I went north, and everything was different. From the moment I boarded the train in Florence, I seemed to understand everyone around me. Within my first hour in Milan, I had no problem talking to people at the deli, people on the street, and the desk clerk at my hotel. That's when I realized what was happening — all of my practice had been with northerners. With the exception of a few movies, I'd had no exposure at all to other accents!
The last two weeks have been in the north, in Milan, Turin, Genova, Verona, Bologna, and Venice, and my comprehension has been far more satisfactory. I'm no longer questioning the work I did this year.
It's been a valuable lesson. I've really learned a lot from the experience, and I can't wait to get back home and update the ebook with a lot more information that I've learned as a result.
And speaking of the ebook, there are only two days left to get it at the current price. On February 1, the price goes up 40%. Updates will be free for those who have already purchased it, of course, so don't miss your opportunity to get it now, at a great price!
Want to see my favorite language resources and courses?
I listed them here.