Monday, 12 October 2009

A week in Sassuolo

A jar of mustardImage via Wikipedia
You can tell that a corner has been turned in technological-interpersonal relations when your mum says she's surprised you haven't updated you blog.

So, a week ago we arrived in Sassuolo, after a train journey of a bit longer than three hours, with the two biggest suitcases we could get our hands on, to sign the paperwork for my tirocinio, essentially low-paid work experience. But, very much on the plus side, they're paying for our accomodation, so it actually works out very generous, especially given that we're essentially staying in a hotel. It seems a bit ridiculous really - we've been very lucky. I forget precisely what we did that day, but it won't have been too much 'cos we were cream-crackered.

The most reasonably-priced supermarket is just over the road, and today Monica informed me that they have HP brown sauce, Colman's mustard, Weetabix and Jordan's cereals, which, sadly, but in all honestly, is a bit mind-blowing.

My first working week started on a Tuesday. It's a 20 minute walk, which I can't really complain about. We are at the edge of town though really, which is a bit of a bore. It took me quite a few efforts to find the quickest route using a map. They're not big on labelling streets in Italy. Monica seems to think it's much of a muchness in England, but I don't think so.

For the first week I was working entirely on one series of documents for one client, to do with cars. It wasn't gripping stuff, but it was useful, because I kept on seeing the same terminology over and over again, and I was revising it, so I saw both versions. The revision seems to be paper-based, which is charmingly low-tech, but I'm not quite sure that the disadvantages don't outweigh the benefits. The work environment seems pretty good - a bit less today I think, but then it's Monday even in Italy. Tomorrow I finally get a computer and another job to do.

On Saturday we had quite a frustrating day really. Monica saw a cheap iron in the publicity for a supermarket. We needed an iron because the hotel doesn't have ironing facilities for the guests, but you can pay for them to do it for you - sod that. We went for a 20 minute walk to buy the iron, among other things, 20 minutes back in order for the iron to break pretty much instantly and Monica to take an extended look on the bleak side of life until we went back to the same place to buy a more expensive iron, and shell out for the adaptor* and extension lead that we needed to buy in any case. And then we walked back. Then we found out that a letter form the Student Loans company dated April had arrived in Offagna (quite a sense of timing that the postal service have, eh?) which seems to indicate that Monica has to cough up a number of hundreds of quids, plus she has to see the doctor about something. Humph.

Sunday we went to mass, obviously. We decided to try S. Antonio because they seem to have loads going on, a choir, two seperate groups for married couples, Rinnovamento nello Spirito and so on. We were a bit disappointed. We had a peek at the church during the week, and Monica isn't keen on the architecture. I think she finds it harder than I do to look beyond these things; I'm not mad keen on it myself, but I don't think it's that horribly modern actually. I don't know if they do this in English Catholic parishes, but here sometimes you get someone popping up at the lectern and giving brief reflections/commentaries on the mass. It's usually pretty trite and you want them to let the priest get on and say mass because the ordinary liturgy is rather more inspiring. They had one of those. It was the music that really let it down though. Perhaps you'll think me unkind, but I would have found it easier to worship without the music group (it wasn't really a choir - I could see that coming in all honestly). The musicians were pretty okay actually, but the mix was all wrong**; you couldn't hear the words of whatever they were singing, and there didn't even seem to be any hymnals - in Italy you're just expected to know the words. We couldn't really hear the singers, just enough to know that they were a bit ropey. I bet that they practise with the instruments too loud as well, so they never really hear themselves. I'm not just a young fogey, I promise - I like guitars and whatnot, but it jsut didn't come together - it was more of a distraction from the liturgy than anything, and I don't need any help with being distracted.

Well, that was negative way to end that blog entry. Never mind. Until the next time I, or someone else (hah!), blogs, toodle-oo.

* Because it's not enough to have one kind of silly European plug in Italy, they have two which seem to alternate at random, and you can only plug certain everyday eletrical appliances into a given socket!

** I don't know quite what it is about Italians and mixing desks, but they don't seem to mix (so to speak). Italian sound set-ups, whether in church, on the radio or the television, always make me think that I could do better with one hand tied behind my back.
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