Saturday, December 01, 2007

Advanced Italian...ready or not here I come.

I haven't taken classes since Spring. My Italian feels very rusty to me. I was going to repeat Intermediate Level 2. While I was not looking forward to dealing with Passato Remoto or the dreaded Congiuntivo, my professor and friends from class strongly recommended I take the next level.

Now that Advance is broken up into Levels 1 or 2 I will try. When I read out loud at home I feel fine but in front of people I clam up. I know the only way to learn is to get in there and keep talking. It's okay if I make mistakes.

I was reading a great article in Vogue (seriously) about how our brain ages and learning a new language or playing an instrument is one of the best ways to keep your mind sharp, esp. after 40.

Speaking of over 40, I went to the eye doctor the other day and he said in couple of years I will start to have problems reading materials that are close up. Yes! Another thing along with peri-menopause to look forward to. Now I only need my glasses to read things far away/driving and my prescription is still pretty low. I went to the eyeglasses store and broke down and got a pair of very nice frames. I wear glasses part of every day, I might as well make an investment.

My boss was with me. Later she said she doesn't know why I complain about money. I went to Italy twice this year and just bought the glasses. First, I used miles for my first trip and I went to Venice during off season so my hotel was very reasonable. I was under budget on both trips.

True this year for the first time in my professional life I have some extra money because of the bonus from the movie. BUT I am moving overseas and that money with the exchange rate will not go very far. I worry about money because I am not 22. At this age I should own property, have savings/retirement funds. etc. I work in an unstable, creative field. Two years ago I decided since I have no job security what so ever I would rather use my money to travel than on eating out here all the time or clothes, etc. My apartment's rent at just over $1000 is low. My landlord can't wait for me to leave so she can jack it up to $1600 (which I think is crazy for a place with no character). My car is a used (oh my God! that is a mortal sin in Hollywood) Saab so I don't have a $500 lease payment on a Mercedes or Jag.

While the exchange rate is bad, there will be certain costs that will be lower in Rome. I won't have a car so no more car insurance, gas, repairs and valets. That will save me close to $250 a month. My gym is $120 a month, of course I will cancel that once I leave. That is almost $400 savings from those two items alone.

I am really watching my spending on non-essential items. Yesterday I went to get Chrismas/birthday presents. I didn't go off and buy things not on my list despite the tempations. ha.


J.Doe said...

Good luck with the Italian class and don't worry about what your boss says about money. She IS your boss and will always think you have enough because she pays you enough and you don't need more. It's your money and you decide if it's enough or not.

DMB said...

I admire your resolve to live your life according to your true nature and desires. I think it is courageous. I am sure it will be easier to save money in Rome, based on what you mentioned alone.

Rose in Cali said...

I am in almost the exact situation as yours. My class crammed in the passato prossimo, imperfetto, gerundo, and futuro all in one chapter! It's hard, but keep going. You'll be thankful once you're in Italy and want to say more than, "C'e una farmacia qui vicino?" And I feel everything you say about post-40! The big advantage, in addition to ones you've already mentioned, is that you will be responsible for no one but yourself! So if you mess up (which I highly doubt) you can always come back or start again somewhere else. Freedom!

modelbehavior said...

If you worry about money check out this awesome budget worksheet at
I used it and love it!
I'm so jealous you're moving to Italy.

Texas Espresso said...

ah well, we're going to be living in Italy on not alot of money too. lol at least we will have good food to eat and interesting things to see.

you won't be broke alone!

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

j. doe- haha. I didn't think about that angle.

dmb - thanks!

rose in cali - Now that I know I am moving sooner rather than later, I am going to try and practice speaking more with my friends. I have one friend from class (she is way more advanced than me) who insists on emailing me in Italian. She is American. Ha. Half the time I have no idea what the heck she has written but I know the challenge is good for me.

model - thank you for the link. Didn't you live in Milan for a while?

texas - haha. That is so true. I said to one of my friends I'd rather be broke in Italy than in L.A. Here being broke is probably against the law along with with being bigger than a size 2, older than 28, not a blonde, having small boobs or wrinkles.

Kataroma said...

Don't worry about your Italian - you'll just pick it up once you're here. I haven't really studied Italian but I speak it ok just because I live here. No one really uses the remote past anyway and the congiuntivo - well, you can just pick it up in dribs and drabs as you hear people use it (actually in Rome most people don't use it much.)

Rome is definitely an expensive city - and it's hard living here with little money. But one advantage over places with better economies is that hardly anyone has any money/career prospects so you don't have that "career" thing. In some ways that's nice. I actually feel pretty prosperous because we can afford our own apartment, however crappy (without help from our parents!) and the occasional holiday.

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

kataroma - ha. Your comment made my day. I am not having a good one and I finally cracked a smile after I read it.

Jen of A2eatwrite said...

All I can keep saying is "enjoy". I'm sure this will be an amazing adventure. And if it turns out to be the wrong thing, life is filled with many choices. Your spirit and attitude will carry you. Man, I'm sounding melodramatic, today. And btw... your food will be oh-so-much better than mine was on my adventure.

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

jen - there is nothing wrong with being melodramatic!

Are you trying to tell me the food in Russia circa 1987 was just okay. :)

I am so looking forward to the food when I move. Cannot wait.

Kataroma said...

NYC- glad I made you smile. :) When I first got here and the only work I could find was teaching English -despite being an experienced corporate lawyer - one of my buddies at the English school made me feel better with this insight about career competition and pressure - and how, in some ways the crappy economy/lack of meritocracy in Italy is good (depending on your personality) because it means less pressure to "succeed."