Thursday, June 07, 2007

Week Four, in which I find new vocation as a translator

I am now in a work camp near Asti (home of Asti Spumante and many other wonderful wines).

Since this is, after all, Italy, the emphasis is on the "camp," and not so much the "work." For example, I have been assigned to do yardwork, but I was told not to do it today or yesterday, because it was raining.

Instead, my group slept in until noon, and then went on a guided tour of Asti, with lots of gelato. Then we went to our camp director's house and ate a four-course meal, with three flights of wine and tiramis├╣. It's tough living here, tough.

An interesting side-note about the camp...although the language of the camp was described as "basic english," no one who operates the camp speaks english, and two people showed up speaking neither english NOR italian.

Enter moi. I speak (now, really, I do) italian, I speak english, I speak some french and some spanish. From day one, I was conscripted as translator. Intitally, it was very hard switching between languages, but now I think I've gotten used to it, and now my italian has become exponentially better. For example, today I translated for a tour guide giving a lesson in medieval architecture, and then, over dinner, I had a conversation about photovoltaic cells. YAYYYYY

Anyway, the days have been longish and obviously, not very active, so it's given me a lot of time to get some perspective on the last 2 years of my life. In addition, I have met some really nice people. I am one of only two Americans, and there are two south koreans, a spanish guy, a mexican guy, a french guy, and a slovakian girl.

Even though it's only day three, it feels like much longer, and I really would recommend a work camp to anyone interested in exploring the culture of a particular country as well as anyone seeking to prepare for a transition in their life.

It's going to be strange going back to America and seeing all the other Americans. I'm looking forward to it, although I would hate to lose my italian now that I've come this far...

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