Wednesday, October 31, 2012


Alright folks. I had all these grand ideas about how when I got to Milan I would have all of these fabulous blog and vlog posts about my teaching experience and all the fabulous places in the city I've been. And eventually, all the fabulous places I've been in Milan and all of Europe and then the world.

While I still plan to make it to Morocco, the U.K., Ireland, Bulgaria, France, and any other place I can get to on Ryan Air, I've been in Milan for almost a month now and this is my first blog post. I've had a month of observing the goings on of my host family, my students, the teachers I work with, the inhabitants of this city, and I've been itching to write it all down in some pithy manner, or to at least blabber it out on youtube.

I'll summarize most of what's happened so far, but some things still deserve their own blog post.
Wait, let me introduce the host family to you. I am unsure of how honest I should be here, but whatevs. Here they are!

Father- Dennis Merlini: a rather self absorbed but well-intentioned man (who is sitting across from me now singing his heart out with X-factor karaoke.) he adores theatre and music etc.
Mother- Diana Cicconi: a soft spoken woman, until she gets pissed off, and then the whole city can hear her. A lovely cook, a lovely person, and possibly my only kindred spirit in the household. I consider myself lucky to have found even one. She plays a little piano.
Son- Nicolas Merlini, 13: previously thought of as demon child, but on closer consideration I have decided to peg him as rebel with a slight cause, and as perhaps a bit spoiled. Incredibly intelligent.
Daughter- Hilary Merlini, 15: an artistic marvel, a fabulously creative mind complete with artsy moodiness. I admit I locked myself in my room today to avoid the moody vibes. Also slightly spoiled (and more than slightly vain, but hey, she's a cute kid), a cute soft spot for her little brother, a fairly good cook, a fabulous baker.

On the ride from the airport the first thing I noticed was the conspicuous lack of deodorant in the vicinity. I was saddened to note this was not an anomaly. Walking into classrooms full of non-deodorized hormonal teens all day can be a real treat. Yup.

I have been to see the Museo Novecento, the Castello Sforzesco, the Duomo, a theatre I don't remember the name of, Iseo Lake (by far my favorite of all the trips), an architecture museum, the church of San Maurizio, one wine bar, and one super chic night club (Just Cavalli) where I met a possible romantic interest (friend of the colleague who invited me). Trust that should this possible romance go well or not go well, I'll want to write about it.

I even got to hear a Stradivarius played live at a free concert at the Duomo, and on November 23rd I will play my first ever gig in Milan! Not paid of course, but beggars can't be choosers. The drinks are free and mama is thirsty, so I'll get my money's worth out of the night ;).
As you can see, I'm working up a reserve of stories for my grandchildren. I envision myself as the hip, slightly eccentric afro-artsy-grandmother type.

During this month I've likely found every way to do something without paying for it. Free museum hours, no cover charges, and careful usage of the trams has allowed me to survive for weeks on 1 euro and 31 euro cents, which I am safeguarding for possible emergency expenditures. Naturally I've lost a bit of weight and gained an appreciation for sucking up my pride and begging my mother for help.

Final bit and I'll wrap this post up. For those of you who are wondering what I'm actually doing in Milan, I am taking part in the SITE Program supported by ITS Pacioli. I give supplementary lessons in English classes and teach afternoon conversation classes. I also tutor to earn some side cash. For reasons all too obvious to me I have been pegged as the perfect person to lead a Gospel Choir. I occasionally teach step dance to those classes that are interested.