School’s out

We all have blind spots, right? Ways of being that are comfortable for us, so comfortable in fact that we don’t realise that they’re even there, sometimes stopping us from doing the very thing that we want ( or even need) to do. It’s taken years for me to recognize one of mine. I think of it (fondly) as my “I’ll be right if…..” blindspot. You can fill in the blank with a variety of things such as ” I’ll be right if I just read the manual” or ” I’ll be right if I do this course” or ” I’ll be right if I ask someone who knows this better than I do”. You get the idea. I’m one of those people who does courses, reads manuals, buys the books, and defers to other people when I’m learning something new. I am definitely missing a dollop of the “just do it” attitude.
Learning Italian is a classic example. I’ve bought the books, watched the films and taken the classes. What I haven’t done a lot of is speak Italian. And now I’m here, in Italy, surrounded by endless opportunities to have conversations and where did I find myself last week? Right… at La Scuola di Lingua in Via Santa Anna, just outside the city walls but well within my comfort zone, ready to sign up for another course.

This morning was the start of the class so I got up early, had a cappuccino and set out on a leisurely walk to school. Five minutes before I was due to arrive, I realized that I was in completely the wrong place, and at least 20 minutes away from where I should be. Still determined to get to class, I walked faster, getting more flustered with every step. That was when it hit me.

I don’t need to do this. This is not what you came to Lucca for. Go to a caffè. Order a cappuccino and be in Lucca, not in school. So I did.

And I have been sitting here ever since writing, watching and listening as people come in for their first caffè of the day, meetings are held and cornettos are eaten. I’m sure I would have learned a lot at school but there’s nothing to beat being recognised by the barista and offered my cappuccino before asking for it, or being mistaken for an Italian by two American visitors.

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