I am now near to the end of my stay in Italy. I have achieved my basic objectives of delivering some teaching and of learning basic Italian. I've also spent some good times with friends here of long standing and made some new ones. While here I attended language school and right now I feel like a schoolboy anticipating the end of term

It has been an interesting adventure internally. Not so much externally, as I have not ventured far nor done anything extraordinary. Weekdays I have attended language school in the mornings and in the afternoon there has been a good deal of homework to tackle. I've also done some teaching of Buddhist psychology, seen a few clients for psychotherapy, explored the city (and its bookshops - Milan has some very good ones) made or joined a few cultural, touristic visits and otherwise led a rather sedentary existence.

Internally, however, it has proved more turbulent than I expected. The experience of "going back to school" stirred up a host of emotions and memories, especially from my rather troubled adolescence, and I have found myself doing a good deal more "emotional work" than I anticipated. Also, being in a class full of people in their twenties and thirties, highlights one's stage of life and its impermanence, not least that whereas I have more life experience than they, their minds fizz along at a much faster rate of knots than mine does. 

Furthermore, learning a language involves a lot of talking about life situations, and such courses are inevitably predicated upon an assumption of a manner of life that is considered socially "normal". One film that featured a carnivorous diet was too much for me and I absented myself. Other discussions sometimes held my attention and at other times felt irrelevant to my typical activities. This highlights the fact that my own life has been and continues to be far from such.  Nonetheless, one learns a good deal, not just linguistic, but also sociologically. All this makes for a lot of reflection.

Some people have told me that I am very bold to have embarked upon such a venture at my age and I know what they mean. It has been a challenge. I'm glad to have done it. I'll be pleased to get home. I am invited to teach in Italy again early next year. Until then I shall have to see if it is possible to keep up my Italian. My new little library of volumes in the language will help. And, when the time comes, I shall have to decide whether to "go back to school" again.

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Comment by Nati on March 2, 2018 at 19:39

Thank you Dharmavidya :)

Comment by David Brazier on March 2, 2018 at 19:17

Thank you Kaspa and Massimo. Language study in Europe accords with a grading system that goes A1, A2, B1, B2, C1, C2. Most ordinary Italians are probably at about B2 or C1, which is also the sort of level foreigners would have to demonstrate to get a job here. I have passed the exam for A1 and studied well into A2. I hope to keep it up so that next year I can go up a grade.

Yes, it is interesting exploring other walks of life, other roles, other life stages and so on. It does help one to develop empathy and understanding even if, at times, it makes one feel like a visitor from planet Pluto! It was my last day at school today and a group of us went for an "apperativo" afterwards (which here in Milan means a snack meal) to celebrate.

Comment by Kaspalita on March 2, 2018 at 11:26

Thank you for sharing some of your experience here. Interesting reflections on the process. My training this year has been a similarly rich experience - although most of us there are already on the edge of society in some way, so not the same kind of feeling of being out of the mainstream. It's often a surprise when I do find myself in more "normal" settings!

Hope that La Ville Au Roi isn't too cold for you, when you return.

Love

Comment by Massimo Tomassini on February 28, 2018 at 22:53

caro Davide,

 congratulations. I suppose you're going to brilliantly pass your finals :). In my view you already got the highest grades in disciplines such as irony, self-confidence, empathy, tolerance, curiosity and challenge. The same disciplines that you applied in your staying in Milan and also in the two-day workshop I attended. Really great. Getting back to those days, it comes to my mind your ability in representing the reciprocal positioning of therapist and client, even spatially through appropriate movements of the seats following the relational dynamics. It has very much to do, in my opinion, with the ability you showed (during the Milan experience, and not only) in playing different roles, in living different environments, in investigating different mental states, in accepting what comes and what goes. Congratulations. Great lessons... from a student :).

warmly

Massimo

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