(More than…) Two Years in Torino

"Le cose belle sono lente." –Pane e Tulipani

Category: conservatory

A moment for music

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I haven’t taken photos of Sarie practicing in a long time, but I did last night. For years I had a habit of taking practice photos much the way some people take photos of their children every year next to their front door.  It’s her own thing, and very her.  She’s grown up with a violin in hand.

Lately life has made inroads into music, and she doesn’t practice as much as she used to.  But last night around 9 p.m., she did warm ups in front of the mirror (for position) and then started Sibelius third movement*, which invokes all things Nordic and mythological. Then she sight-read the first movement of the Prokofiev concerto. None of this has been assigned, and I think she’s playing only the first movement of Sibelius for her exit exam in late-June.  I don’t think she gets a great deal of  instruction these days, or has a lot of dedicated peers against whom to sharpen her skills. That’s one reason I’m glad she’s going to a three-week camp in the US this summer. She just got her chamber music assignments for the camp, and they look invigorating.

Her old friends from the US are posting their college choices on Facebook now. I’m pleasantly surprised at how many of her fellow students from the Manhattan School of Music Pre-college program are actually going to study music at the college level. A whole group of them are going to follow their favorite teacher Grigory Kalinovsky (the one with whom she’ll be studying this summer) to Indiana, alma mater of Joshua Bell.  I’m glad they didn’t all go the Ivy route, study business or medicine, and just use their music as a resumé enhancement. To be an excellent musician is a labor of love.

Sarie still has a year of high school left here in Italy, but she’s going to start the conservatory here at the college level anyway. She could have even done it this year, but we were awfully confused about whether she could graduate at the time we made the decision. In the end, this year seemed to be mostly a holding pattern, musically speaking. But she did perform a solo with an orchestra**, tour with her self-organized Baroque group Aurea Armonia, and sit first chair in the orchestra last Friday for a performance of Wagner, Prokofiev, and Rossini-and-Purcell-inspired Britten. She’s going to write her extended essay for the IB on Monteverdi and the development of Baroque music via opera, in Italian. And she’s playing her all-time favorite concerto, the Sibelius.

So, while it’s not what her former peers are doing, it’s interesting in its own way. I hope she will have many more opportunities in the future to live a life of music.

*I hope these Spotify links are useful, and I only wish they had the Hilary Hahn version of Sibelius, which has what I consider to be the high level of energy required for the third movement, and not so many slides as Mintz!

**A shaky video which loses the sound, but I’m grateful to have it!

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From foreign to familiar

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A gathering of young adults from our church, representing in various proportions and length of residency and with some margin for error: Nigeria, Ghana, the US, the UK, Australia, Swedish Finland, Indonesia, Brazil, and both northern and southern Italy.

My pastor’s wife recently lent me a fascinating book about navigating cultural differences, From Foreign to Familiar by Sarah Lanier.  Lanier is a consultant to foreign missionaries who has lived in many different parts of the world. Upon taking the book from the shelf, I immediately flipped it over, scanned the blurb, and exclaimed, “Sarah Lanier.  Well of course she would be from Georgia!  That’s a very Georgian name.” It gave me a funny feeling to immediately sense that familiar context in a foreign country.

As a matter of fact, I had just confirmed myself as a member of what Lanier herself calls a “hot culture.”  Hot cultures tend to have a strong sense of context, maintain a friendlier environment, value relationships over tasks, feel obligated to invite you if they mention an event in public, feel obligated to share food if they eat it in public, talk delicately around problems instead of addressing them directly and accurately, show deference to authority, have a strong sense of what dress and manners are appropriate for a given occasion, have a stronger group identity, and have a more relaxed sense of time.  The Southern US, at least when and where I grew up, was a fairly typical example of a hot culture, with the possible exception of the group identity.  (Southerners tolerate certain types of eccentricity quite readily, as long as the eccentric has good manners.)

I lost a little bit of this strong cultural identity as I grew up and moved on to larger cities within the South during the 70s and 80s.  I learned to tone down my accent and deal with sarcasm, because it was absolutely necessary in order to attend a big, suburban high school along with transplants from Chicago and New Jersey. But I’ve never quite lost these initial Southern habits and preferences, and in fact, often felt a bit flabbergasted in New York City when I’d try to arrange spontaneous get-togethers for other moms and kids. And I never quite got over my need to chat to sales clerks using colorful idioms, even though I knew better.  Even after fifteen years, I always felt a little too warm and sensitive in the context of that highly structured, achievement-oriented culture.  But I learned a different, more direct and efficient way of dealing with people, for sure.

Then we moved to Italy.

Obviously, not everyone in Italy, or even in Piemonte, is the same. Some people are much more formal and have a more developed sense of organization than others.  Some are warmer and kiss-ier than others.  Some are dressier than others, more extroverted than others.  But still, you don’t know where the assumptions lie until you’ve observed for a while.

Remember my initial frustrations with bureaucracy? I’m now convinced that the reason that, for example, it took me five months to enroll Sarie in the conservatory was that I made a couple of initial and egregious mistakes in dealing with Italian bureaucratic culture. And how could I have known better, since I was in (and from) the United States? Italian bureaucracy is a very high context procedure.  You really don’t know what it’s going to take until you’re right in front of the bureaucrat–perhaps for the third time.

Perhaps my principal mistake was trying to obtain a clear-cut enrollment procedure at all, and especially via e-mail.  Even though I didn’t have the option of meeting people in person, I needed it!  For another thing, there is a definite protocol for writing business correspondence in Italy.  By NYC standards, it seems incredibly formal: using the titles dott. and dott.ssa for just about everyone, using “illustrious” in the greeting, adding lots of flowery adjectives, and ending in “Porgo i miei più distinti saluti,” which the literal translation of “I send my most distinguished greetings,” just doesn’t seem to convey properly.  And furthermore, no one does anything until the last minute.  So no wonder I wasn’t getting anywhere!

But of course, I had no way of knowing this, and to this day don’t really know what the proper solution would have been.  The actual procedure not only required a passable knowledge of the Italian language and bureaucratic conventions, but also of Italian commercial procedures, such as filling out a postal check and having the proper identity information (which isn’t even used in the US). And furthermore, the same procedure that finally worked for us may not have worked for the next person. Sarie is still, to my knowledge, the first full-blooded American to have enrolled in the Torino conservatory.

But bureaucracy was only the initial and most aggravating problem.  I realized after some time here that I would require a different sort of wardrobe, a different sense of time and hospitality, and that I was likely offending people regularly by not following the proper greeting procedures when I entered stores. I’m slowly learning how to do these things, but I’m pretty sure I still step on toes.  Now I try to ask: Do I need to bring something to dinner?  Do I need to pay for that gift, or will that offend the giver?  And I understand, for instance, that even the most professional businesspeople will likely not return my e-mail until they have an answer, even if it takes weeks. Or plan any event more than a few days in advance.

I personally find the Piemontese to be about right on the hot/cold culture spectrum. They have a reputation in Italy for being cold and reserved, but aside from a few apathetic bureaucrats, I usually find them to be not unlike myself, at least in their comfort with emotion.  As I’ve learned how to address them, I find that they can be almost conspiratorially friendly. The nicer manners, the sense of proper dress, the family connections, the indirect way of getting information, respect of elders, and the greetings in stores, all remind me of the culture of the Southern US. But a culture as group-oriented as Naples or Sicily might have overwhelmed me completely.  So, I feel like I’ve landed in the right part of Italy.

I may list more of these “foreign to familiar” differences as I run into them. I certainly don’t have a handle on them yet, but I’m starting to get a little more comfortable, at least. And at our international, English-speaking church we have plenty of Africans and Filipinos, and smaller numbers from many other cultures, who provide yet other perspectives and greater variety along the hot and cold culture spectrum.  Interesting!

A moment in the spotlight

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This has been such a full couple of weeks that I can’t possibly tell it all.  But here’s the short version.

All violinists want to play solo with an orchestra.  Sarie finally got her chance this weekend when she and another conservatory student performed Bach’s Concerto in D Minor for Two Violins in two venues.  On Friday night they performed at their conservatory, and on Saturday night in Vercelli, a small town about halfway between Torino and Milan.  And then on Sunday afternoon Sarie was also in a small Mozart performance.

Sarie and Brice were placed together after an audition last year.  There were three other soloists (a cellist, flautist and clarinetist) performing the same night, all accompanied by a professional orchestra conducted by the conservatory’s conductor, Mario Lamberto.

On Saturday night in Vercelli, the organization that sponsored the performances was present with photographers and a very official, Italian-style ceremony at the end.  One of the photographers kindly sent me the photos in this post.  The performers even got a nice review.

Sarie’s comments on the photos: 2. “We were warming up backstage with the second movement, and the photographers kept clicking away.  We started to get amused, so when we got to the end of the second movement, we glanced at each other, grinned, and spontaneously launched into the third, for their sake.” 3. “That’s Lamberto’s happy face!”  3. The presentation at the end of the performance. Each performer received an art book from the Venice Guggenheim.

Update: Forgot to add that if we get a video eventually, I’ll try to post that, too.

Conservatory redux

Conservatory starts again next week.  Thankfully, it’s close to the school and Sarie is able to use her three-hour break on Wednesdays to practice there.

Yesterday when Sarie found her assigned practice room at the conservatory, she noticed that there was a faculty meeting going on in the room next door. There were even some distinguished-looking guests. She decided that she needed to practice extra carefully, making sure her mind didn’t wander for any of the two hours.  Once or twice she even looked up to see an adult face peeking in at the door, but she didn’t waver.

Towards the end of the practice session, there was a knock. The American violin teacher, Christine Anderson, poked her head in the door. After forty years in Italy, she still has a casual Midwestern manner.

“We all think you sound great,” began Ms. Anderson, “But we’ve been hearing nothing but Mendelssohn for two hours!  Do you think you could play something else?”

A little while earlier in the session, a conductor had knocked on the door as well.  “I’m looking for one more second violin for my orchestra,” he told Sarie.  “Would you be interested?”

A paying gig, with professionals, for a production of La Traviata.  Of course she was interested!

***

After dinner, Sarie sat down to write the conductor for more details about the performance.  She wanted to say, “My parents think this is a fantastic opportunity,” in Italian.  (We do?  Well, we think at least an adult will make sure there’s a way to get to the concert.)

“I don’t think this is right,”  I said. “For family members, you don’t use an article with the possessive.

“It’s right.  I just know,” insisted Sarie.  She also used to argue that Handel messed up when composing Judas Maccabaeus.  And that “disappointed” had five syllables.  So I started typing search terms into Google to settle the matter.

Sarie watched over my shoulder as I typed.  Then she started to laugh. “I think you need some different search terms, or you may find out way more than you wanted to know.”

I looked at the screen.  I had written, “Possessive Italian relatives.”

And she was right about the article.

Rovigo

Last week Sarie and I went to the small town of Rovigo in the Veneto region. It’s almost all the way to Venice. The buildings were brighter than in Torino, the accent was a little different, most of the menus had seafood with bigoli (thick spaghetti), and there were unlocked bicycles everywhere.

We went for a violin competition, the Premio Nazionale delle Arti.  We went in order to see and meet some good Italian violinists, and that’s exactly what happened.  Sarie made friends with the other girl who went from the Conservatorio G. Verdi Torino and now they’re scheming to do concerts together.  That alone was worth the trip.

And we had a little time to walk around and take some photos.

***

In other news today, we had our appointment at the questura and everything went well.  I felt like a child feels after getting out of one of those doctor appointments in which they have to get vaccines. That wasn’t so terrible!  I think going to the patronato helped.

A quick update

Just for fun, here’s something I saw in a shop window this morning.  It’s a Lego Palazzo Madama!  (That’s the Queen Mother’s Palace, which is a major city landmark.)

I’ve been meaning to do an update for a while now, but I think it’s symptomatic that I’m having trouble posting one.  I wanted to write about school, but I felt it was only fair for Sarie to read what I had to say first, and she’s busy.

So I’ll just say for now that school is generally going fine, and I’m particularly proud of her attitude in the Theory of Knowledge, or TOK, class.  The teacher likes argumentation, and she supplies it.  I’ve always known that she had a bit of her logical lawyer dad in her, but until now she mostly used it on us.  Now I think she’s finally harnessing that force for good.  Enough said!

She has also been going to Milan for lessons with a talented violin teacher who was associated with her old conservatory in New York.  She has been to both Florence and Milan by herself (on the train) since school started.  Today when she got on the train, there was an announcement in English: “Those seated in first class will be welcomed with an explosive welcome drink.”

Sarie’s biology teacher speaks this sort of English, which makes for some interesting science.

She got together with some college-level conservatory students, formed a Baroque group, and they got a gig playing at a castle this Sunday in Cuneo, about an hour south of here.  So we get to go listen to Monteverdi in a castle, and then take a tour!

And next week Sarie and I travel to Rovigo, near Venice, so she can participate in the Premio Nazionale delle Arti.  This is a national level competition sponsored by Italy’s conservatories.  Students up to age 25 are eligible, so we have no idea what to expect, but we’re just going to see.  We want to meet the best string players in Italy!  Sarie will be playing the first two movements of the Mendelssohn concerto.  Considering that she doesn’t even have a teacher at the conservatory right now, I think it’s particularly plucky of her.

Bob still likes his job, travels a lot, and is trying to get in some hill climbs on his bike before it gets too cold.  He rides with a friend from work.  One of his next big challenges is getting an Italian driver’s license.

And me?  I’m playing secretary, reading, and cooking.  The seasons have definitely shifted towards fall here, and though Italy doesn’t have the colorful leaf displays of the Eastern US, I’m noticing such differences as a greater number of cloudy days, more use for scarves and sweaters, and needing to turn the lights on earlier.  I even had to use the dryer one day this week!

At the market, the fruit frenzy of late summer is giving way to fall vegetables: Belgian endives, broccoli rabe, and oven-roasted beets (never raw ones).  Yesterday I made a soup that required hot peppers, but since Italian markets don’t have jalapenos, poblanos or serranos, I took the only hot peppers they did have.  They were thin-walled, but cute, and the vendor pointed out that they made a nice decoration:

And finally, it seems to me that I’m understanding more Italian now.  True, on any given day I might get totally tongue-tied, but it does seem like I’m understanding a greater percentage of what is being said.  And to be able to understand what’s being said around me, I must say, would be very, very handy!

I hope your fall days are going well, and leave a note if you feel inspired!

In which we admit that our situation has changed

“But in your case, Article 18, letter Z on the regulations on fishing for indigenous shrimp doesn’t apply, but rather Article 105b, CPV.6, letter C of the ordinance…”

I don’t know where this cartoon came from, but it seemed to fit the spirit of this post. Amazingly, the law exists!

***

Before we left, I mentioned that we had some decisions coming up.  As you might guess, they had to do with bureaucracy.  In order to be considered for universities in Europe, Sarie will be going to school.

When we first looked into the European diploma hurdle, it looked surmountable.  European high schools have five years as compared to the US’s four, but the Italian Ministry of Education’s (MIUR’s) website says you can enter an Italian university with one year of college and 4 APs.  Some Italians had told me that online college was okay.

Other European countries’ requirements don’t have the year of college requirement, only a diploma and some decent AP scores.  Admittedly, Germany doesn’t accept the GED, but there might be other options, like an online diploma certification program.  We figured that once we settled in, we’d figure out the details.

But by the end of last year, we still had no solid information. Finally, we were able to set up a series of meetings with educational bodies in Italy.  One was with the conservatory Sarie attends. Everyone thought that the conservatory had discretion in admitting and graduating students to/from their university-level program. The conservatory’s director had said, “Bring us what you have. We’ll see what we can do.”  The Italian Consulate in New York thought the GED was fine.  The only problem was that we couldn’t get anyone to tell us exactly what it was we needed to do to get Sarie’s education certified. Instead, they’d pass the buck.

The meeting with the conservatory director, which started over an hour late and was in Italian, followed a protocol that, to an American, would seem like a ceremony.  It adhered to a formula: a long and polite preamble, the petition, and the response.  When we finally got to the response after another hour of talking, I got three points only:  The conservatory could do nothing without a certain stamped piece of paper, it had to come from the Ministry of Education, and the director didn’t recommend going there.

Why?  That was the one part which, having looked for information all year, I understood: If you went to MIUR, you’d get four different contradictory answers. Besides which, I’d already had a friend make a clandestine call to someone she knew there, who had told her that Italian high school was the only option. So, at the end of the meeting, the director made us an appointment with some officials at a local high school.  I was told we were very lucky to get this appointment.  We thanked the director profusely.

At the high school, we were told cheerfully that the Ministry didn’t care what sort of diploma you had. But then they saw a clause:  Oh, that’s just for Italian citizens who live in other countries.  After that, there was much tapping of keyboards and back and forth in Italian.  I could follow it well enough to know that they were simply exploring, in quick succession, all the options I’d explored myself during the year, including the MIUR website. Finally they looked up. “Do you think you could become an Italian citizen?” they asked Sarie.  “It’s really the best way.”

For non-Italians, citizenship takes ten years.

That’s when I had one of those, “Wow, it’s really fundamentally different here,” moments. The rules mean nothing if you can’t find anyone who will admit that they are valid, and who knows how to implement them. This is hard for Americans to understand. Many Americans don’t like dealing with the IRS, the DoE, the DMV or the USPS–not to mention FAFSA. But these bodies have websites with published, comprehensible procedures, and if you follow them, it may be time-consuming and expensive, but generally it works–eventually. In Italy, at least in my experience so far, it’s completely different. You ask a question, and you get a shrug. You get four different answers. Eventually you realize, “I’m at the mercy of the person behind that desk.” Only in this case, we couldn’t even get anyone to tell us what desk we were looking for.

Now truth be told, Sarie didn’t have her heart set on going to conservatory in Italy anyway.  But I wasn’t finding out anything more about schools in other countries–Germany, Finland, the Netherlands, France–than I was in Italy.  I knew we’d have some version of this problem wherever we went, except in Great Britain and the US, whose conservatories are very expensive.  And we were running out of time.

As it happens, the same week as these meetings, we’d gone to a private British school for Sarie to meet with a new math tutor.  And as a courtesy to the tutor, I talked to the school’s director.  Before that, I had never seen a viable option for attending high school in Italy, because the English-speaking school I knew about was far away and very expensive.  And our Italian friends agreed that starting high school over in Italian wasn’t the best idea.

But here I saw something doable:  The school was small, two years old, in the center of town, and in some subjects (those for native English speakers learning Italian) Sarie would be in a class of two.  She would get subjects she needed, like chemistry, higher math, and Italian, which I found difficult to provide at this level. (I couldn’t find a supplier for chemistry equipment in Italy.) And it was an IB, or International Baccalaureate program.  The diploma would be accepted in every country.

I’d always said that if it turned out to be better for Sarie to go to school, that’s what we’d do.  And when I looked back on the past year, I had to admit that what we’d done didn’t feel much like homeschooling as we’d known it.  Sarie was always busy studying or practicing.  We hardly had time for any discussion, rabbit trails, or practical skills.  And in a new city, we hadn’t even gone to one museum together.  Trying to meet so many requirements simultaneously had squeezed all the fun and intimacy out of our homeschooling.

Regardless, I mourned at first.  I loved homeschooling, and so did Sarie.  And I didn’t mind working hard and researching the law to continue homeschooling.  But given her choice of field, and our circumstances, she now needed a more structured, more certified approach.

When we got back from our trip to the US, we did get one last piece of validation for our homeschooling years: An excellent score on Sarie’s first AP test.  We don’t need it now, but it was nice to know she could pull it off.

So, Monday after next, Bob will go back in the US again on business, while Sarie will go off to her first day of school with a class of 20 Italians who want to improve their English, and one South African.  Not exactly what I’d imagined, or would have asked for, but I trust that it will be good enough.

On not knowing

I hesitated about writing this post, but it’s time. Because European countries are profoundly different from one another, and also profoundly different from New York City. That’s the main lesson I’ve learned here, and it’s time to tell something about how I’ve learned it.

I could start anywhere, but I’ll start with the conservatory that Sarie attends. It took over five months just to figure out how to enroll. When we asked from New York about procedures and deadlines, the secretary (a sweet girl, in person) kept sending us curt, uninformative e-mails saying that we needed to talk to the Italian consulate. The consulate, meanwhile, said that this was the school’s responsibility. And we couldn’t find Sarie’s teacher at all. So from January until May of last year, we went round and round and got nowhere until a New York friend introduced us to a young man from Torino. He took a look at the website, found the appropriate deadline buried in some document, and walked me though filling out the forms  (not intuitive), which I then overnighted to the conservatory.  By the time we found the deadline, it was four days away.

Even after we sent in the application, the secretary continued to insist that we’d have to go through the consulate.  Until one day in mid-June we got an e-mail saying Sarie was scheduled to take language and entrance exams in September.  So she did.

Now Sarie attends the conservatory Mondays and Thursdays–depending on what’s changed this week.  It’s not uncommon for her to show up for a lesson or class and wait for the teacher thirty minutes, or even even find out that the lesson has been cancelled altogether. If we’d known that her piano lessons, in particular, were going to be so spotty, we might have kept records for the fun of it. But my hunch is that she gets about 60% of the lesson time she’s scheduled for.

For chamber music, she was finally placed with a coach in about mid-December. The teacher then told the self-formed group that he didn’t have time for them, so they could meet every other week.  The first few weeks they showed up, the class either got cancelled or they’d have to wait so long for it to start that they only got to play for a few minutes.  Then the coach told the girls they couldn’t do the piece they’d chosen, so they hemmed and hawed about that for a while.  There was also some confusion as to whether Sarie had to take a chamber music exam at the end of the year, which apparently limited the number or type of pieces they could prepare.  Finally, Sarie went to the other coach, who said that yes, she had an exam, and put her with a different group to prepare a piece for it. This was in March.

Last week Sarie attended a masterclass with Vadim Brodsky. She had heard about the class, was excited about it, and requested to sign up to audition for it, but was told that she was too young and the places would go to college students. Then one day last week, her accompanist was looking for some info on the bulletin board at the school and found Sarie’s name on the masterclass list with a time next to it.  So she went, and enjoyed the class thoroughly. Brodsky even asked her to come back for the next session in May. At the end of the class, another young man came in and requested to be allowed a session, because he had been out of town at the sign up time. He was told no.

Sarie and her accompanist preparing for a performance of Beethoven’s “Spring” Sonata at the conservatory Friday before last.

But the most baffling situation of all concerns the maturità. The maturità is the exit exam Italian students take to graduate from high school. It’s a three-day exam, with an oral component, covering a five-year high school syllabus. Subjects include Italian literature and composition (graded very strictly for grammar, I’m told), Italian history, similar science and math subjects to those we take in the US, philosophy, religion, and in some schools, Greek and Latin. And naturally, classes are in Italian. It’s an intriguing syllabus, and perhaps if we’d moved to Italy when Sarie was in eighth grade, I might have considered it, despite what I’m told is the rote nature of it. But she’s a junior.

Why is this important?  Because you need it to graduate from the college-level conservatory. When we arrived last fall, they faculty were pleased with Sarie’s audition and said that once she had piano and European-style solfege, she could audition for the college level and easily get in.  When I asked the staff what they would accept as proof of graduation from an American, they’d just shrug. Finally, two weeks ago, and because it was time to make a decision about next year, I had a friend call the Ministry of Education to get to the bottom of this. The man there told my friend they accepted no substitutes at all.  The next week, Sarie and her teacher visited the school’s director, and she said the same thing.  Across the board, they all say that Sarie should just get started studying for for it, though maybe she’d want to just do a vocational school version of the test.  Either way, it means at least a year in an Italian high school, or attending a cram school where they do two years at once. Never mind that she couldn’t attend the conservatory at all if she did this.

We’d originally liked this dual attendance scheme because it gave Sarie time to finish high school while getting used to life in Italy, learning Italian fluently, and preparing for an eventual conservatory audition somewhere else. We even thought that it might be possible to do all of undergrad this way, which would make it lots more affordable to eventually attend graduate school in the US.  It might take an extra year, but she would be able to study both music and English literature, her other favorite subject, at a high level, while learning Italian language, history, and culture by immersion. Knowing that some schools in Europe will accept four APs as a substitute for that fifth year of high school, we were planning those out, too. But now the government is saying it won’t accept that.

What’s in the back of my mind, of course, is that this is Italy.  I have a strong suspicion that there’s some way, regardless, to make it work. As I learned from the five-month enrollment process, much depends on whom you ask, or perhaps even on what you assert. And there are exceptions, like that Brodsky masterclass. Yet, not being Italian, I don’t know the workaround for this one. And I confess to being a little exasperated, and wanting to be a not-so-gracious guest in my host country. I confess to wanting to point out that if they’re so serious about requirements and rigor, why don’t they hold half the classes they schedule?  And a few other things, which I will keep to myself. But none of this surprises or even seems to bother Italians, who are remarkably patient, if a bit obstructive.

So instead, I shrug, and we plan the best year we can for Sarie next year under the circumstances. She’ll stay in the high school-level conservatory. She’ll keep studying at home.  And eventually, we’ll figure out a solution for her college education. I don’t know what it is yet, but what I’ve learned from seven months of living in Italy is that I don’t have to. We’re not in New York.