Sunday, July 3, 2011

Summer in Milan

Summer in Milan comes with a few challenges. Number one: the weather, with high  humidity (some days an average of 56) and temperature soaring up to 32 degrees  one really  starts to wish for a bedroom that does not face the late afternoon sun. I now wear tiny sun dresses for the most part and sit around in my underwear where possible.

Second challenge which comes along with the heat and the humidity is that of the mosquitoes. These bloodsucking parasites of Milan are super creatures; high level buildings and clothes are not a challenge to them. You will get bitten, and the bite stings. It also leaves very prominent pink bumps which if you scratch it looks like you have some skin disease.  And they will bite you several times, and they choose the places which are most uncomfortable for you like on your fingers, toes and the inside of you thigh, with the placement just right so that it would be inappropriate to scratch yourself in public. I have now counted 3 on each foot (of which 2 are on my toes), 2 on my one thigh, and one on the other, one on my finger, one on my knee, one behind my knee and one of my calf.  

Then there is the third challenge: EXAMS! Now the exams here in Italy are a completely different process than South Africa and if you are  not used to it the process can be compared to Chinese torture.

First of all, they refer to this exam often as an interrogation. Exams are done orally. One has 10 minutes to discus all you know with the teacher. In the most part it doesn’t start by them asking you question but it starts by them looking at you with eager empty faces and then them saying: “Start!” So there I sit in front of them and I hardly know where to start! So here I discovered my weakness, I am really good at preparing for written exams, and it requires you to prepare the minimum and you usually then have an hour to formulate your thoughts around the knowledge base.  It is not so easy to formulate something in 10 minutes that sounds like something, also I realised that I have a tendency to be distracted easily when I talk. I go from one point to a completely random point.  I felt at most part like I said nothing.

The worst part of the exam however was the way it is organised. Your timetable states the exam is on a specific date and starting at a specific time. You then show up at that time, and they circulate a paper on which you list your name, and then you wait for your turn according to that list –taking in consideration that some lectures needs coffee and smoke breaks. For example my first exam start at 9:30 but I only did my exam at 14:00. For the waiting part everyone else sits in the same class where you are being interrogated. So if the build up in the wait and listening to everyone else doing their exams (wondering if you are able to say as much as they just did) didn’t make you nervous enough, you have the entire class listening to you when you do yours. Exams in general I find painful, but these are a slow torture.

However I made it through and passed all of them with good marks, and now I still have four more to do in September which will end my first year of my masters.  Between the heat, the mosquitoes and exams however there are the great things:  Gelato, watermelons,  cappucio freddo (coffee and milk on ice), green parks, summer storms (which reminds me of home), summer holiday coming soon and then starting the first weekend in July the SUMMER SALE!! So if you excuse me I have to work some so that I can go do some shopping tomorrow.

--- To come: 
I still need to write about the Venice Biennial ---


Anonymous said...

I have only had bad watermelon here:(

Anonymous said...

Actually, I lie. Bad watermelon form the supermarket. Had good watermelon at a trattoria with the parents:D

Edna said...

No I've found some good ones, the other day I found an entire watermelon in a Carefour for 29 cents and it was amazingly sweet. Yesterday I bought a melon here at my Billa and it was also very sweet.

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