It occurred to me this weekend that it's been a while since I posted anything about what I've actually been doing when I'm not falling out with Italian customer services staff or musing about their communicative habits. Then I realised that there wasn't actually that much to say. Life is very normal and that's a good thing.
I came to Italy with a mission to learn to speak Italian and to experience as much as possible of the country and the culture in the nine months that followed. I felt claustrophobic spending too much time with my colleagues outside of work. I started going to conversation classes and joined a hillwalking club. I bought lots of newspapers and made a point of watching the news every evening I was at home. I was really happy, but life was also hard work.
Now I feel like I've relaxed a lot. I've made some good friends among the people I work with and met my English speaking boyfriend. I'm still learning Italian but I've accepted that it's not going to happen as quickly as it would if I were working in an Italian company or had hundreds of Italian friends. I need to motivate myself to actually study it, but I speak it pretty much every day and I hear it all around me, so something must be going in.
Part of the reason for this, I think, is that I've realised that I can stay here as long as I want. I like my job and I can probably stay on next year, so I have plenty of time to explore Italy. Not being totally immersed in the langauge and culture might make my learning curve a bit slower but it also makes life a lot easier.
So what have I actually been doing? Working hard. Spending time with Mr A. Planning a skiing holiday for February. Meeting up with friends. Going to conversation classes. Teaching English conversation classes. Reading the free newspaper in the metro. Watching the weather forecast in the hope that it's going to snow again.
My life might not be 100% Italian, but it's good.