I pinch myself constantly. Are we really doing this? Living in Canada? Am I actually doing an MA? Is this real? It really is like a dream. Although trying to comprehend the Roman accent of my lecturer is like a nightmare! No, it’s not that bad, but it’s hard work, especially as I’ve not been speaking Italian for over a decade now. I felt it coming back as that first class wore on and I think I’ll manage it after a few weeks, but man, it’s hard going! Luckily it’s really the only class I have that’s totally in Italian. (Just a side note that won’t interest anyone but Italian students: I emailed my professor before the first class to apologise as I would be late and I actually titled the email “la prima classe oggi”. “CLASSE”!! What was I thinking?! That’s not the correct word for “class” in Italian. Urgh. Feeling stupid!)
My other classes are either totally in English or a mixture, which works well. The Italian professor is luckily a super nice, kind guy who is very understanding about my family responsibilities. He even had no issue with my having come late to the very first class. Meanwhile there’s no hint at any assessment and the course outline is all in Italian and I can’t see anything in there about due dates! It looks like we will be expected to do a presentation and an essay at least… scary!!
My week generally looks like this: nightmare day Mondays with 10-12, then some weeks we’ll stay back and watch a film as part of the course. Then at 2pm I have my Book History class in the rare books library which is a good 10 to 15 minute walk from the Italian faculty. That class is meant to go til 5pm but, typically, I have a clash as the foundational pedagogical class for Italian is scheduled between 4pm and 6pm back over in the Italian department! Apparently these clashes shouldn’t happen as the Book History people asked any collaborating department to confirm in writing that they’d leave that time free and not schedule any of their classes during those three hours. In typical fashion, the Italians have ignored that and I’ve been screwed over. It’s too late for them to rearrange things and, frankly, why would they go to all that trouble just for one student? Yes, this confirms that I’m the only person doing the Italian Studies and Book History collaborative program. Quite cool! And to be honest, that third hour looks like it might be just dedicated to faffing about some weeks anyway. The professor spent a significant portion of time at the beginning of the class talking about the best places to get coffee and nice food around campus! Okay, sure, coffee is important, and I’m missing proper espresso like nothing else, but I don’t consider this a good use of the time. Surely there are other places and people we can ask for this sort of info.
As for the final class on Mondays that is apparently so incredibly important, it really reminded me of being back in high school or even first year uni. All this stuff about the dos and don’ts of essay-writing! Seriously?! We’re master’s students here! But I’m beginning to see that the standard of writing is pretty low generally and these professors obviously dedicate a significant portion of their time ironing out issues and wading through shit writing. So at least I’m in front there. Although I haven’t written an essay in over 10 years so it won’t be easy!
Oh, back to my schedule, so Monday is the day from hell as I don’t get home til 7:40! Past the kids’ bedtime. It already sucks with Mr Chewbacca being at home but once he gets a job it’s going to really suck. Dude gets off the bus at 4:10pm and someone has to be there to collect him, plus little Thumper finishes daycare at 5:30pm. And then there’s dinner to cook, entertaining both kids who will no doubt be tired, especially the little one who is still breastfeeding and will no doubt miss it during the day. Although she’s great with food and doesn’t ask to feed, maybe just for nap time if I’m there.
Anyway the rest of the week is early starts again Wed and Fri for my 10am class with Rome accent professor and Thursday is my favourite class, philology. On Tuesday it’s just the afternoon with 2-4pm diaspora class and then a 4-6pm film class, so another late one home to two tired kids at about 7:40pm. A 10am start may not seem early but because we’re so far out of Toronto I have to leave home by 8am to be at uni for 10. My routine so far is to put the little one in the stroller and walk her to daycare which is about 8 minutes’ walk, then the bus stop is just up the road. I catch an 8:15 bus to the train station and catch an 8:56 train to Union station, then the subway takes about 10 minutes. I get off at Museum and it’s five minutes walk to my class which I can be on time for providing I can stick to that schedule and don’t have to line up to get a coffee for too long. The difficult part is leaving the little one at daycare which she started this week. She didn’t want me to hand her over the first few times but on Thursday she reluctantly went and same on Friday, without tears. Phew! I think this means she will be okay.
The good thing is that this difficult class that’s on three mornings a week finishes after about a month as the professor is just visiting so in October I’ll have Wednesdays and Fridays off, which I’ll no doubt need. Because I’m doing this collaborative program plus this term we have to do this pedagogical course in addition to the standard full time course load of four, I am actually doing six courses! It seems unachievable at the moment but I’m determined to do it, somehow…