Bromley College is the kind of educational establishment that's been tarted up into glass-fronted modernity on the outside but becomes grotty the instant you walk beyond the uniformed security guard at Reception. And I bet you don't get notices forbidding hoodies at the City Lit.
This is the first non-work-related education I've had since leaving university (karate is more of a sport) and the first new language I've embarked on since I was twelve. My brain is much less absorbant of New Stuff these days, alas.
Learning is different when you're a grown-up. Nobody makes you sit down and memorise verbs - which is a pity, really, because that's something I've always been rather good at. Instead all the Italian we learned went in by example and nodding and gestures and guesswork and games. I'm not good at games, or at speaking aloud in a foreign language in front of strange people, but I may never forget that 'H' is 'acca'.
I was amused that another student had brought a brand-new but otherwise identical copy of the Penguin phrasebook I purchased remaindered in 1998 for a Roman holiday - still remaindered.
The teacher started us off on numbers by finding objects in the classroom - one waste-paper basket, two remote controls, nine female students - but we soon ran out of convenient amounts of things and it got a bit surreal. Four wheels! Seven dwarves! Five weddings! Eleven horses! When my partner and I got tired of asking each other how many bottles, tables and gnomes were in the room we dredged up further Italian words. The only ones I could think of were 'cats' and 'ravioli'. I have my priorities.
My reason for taking the course is that I'd like to take my bike to Italy some day, but so far all I've really learned to say is that I work as a [female] mechanic, which is not only untrue but will be actively unhelpful in the event of breakdown...