Fa – a long long way to the back of the queue.

I can confirm I have survived life in Milan for one week – I start my Masters Course tomorrow and I can’t wait to get going!

I am starting to feel comfortable communicating in Italian and have sorted everything out logistically that I need to, including getting a Codice Fiscale. This helped ascertain my exact level of Italian: good enough that the man behind the desk gave me an Italian version of the form to complete, not good enough to actually complete said form. The process took around 3 hours of queuing and 5 minutes to actually process; the main lesson I have learned this week is that efficiency can’t possibly directly translate into Italian.*

I attended my first Orchestra rehearsal, which I was informed would start at 20.30. To me this implies that arrival time is around 20.15 so that everyone is seated for tuning at 20.25. After correctly navigating Milan’s public transport system I found myself on one side of Porta Garibaldi, my rehearsal being on the other side. Needless to say my aforementioned inability to sense direction meant a good 10 minute delay while I found my way underneath the station to the correct road. I arrived bang on 20.30 – not an ideal situation, I panicked about the embarrassment of arriving late to my first rehearsal. I then realised there were absolutely no musicians in sight. So it turns out that in Milan, rehearsal time seems to be an indication of the time you can start arriving, not the time anyone will be ready for.

By about 21.00 the rehearsal was about to begin. While tuning my desk partner turned to me and asked – ‘posso sentire il suo So?’ or ‘can I hear your So?’ I think my confused expression said it all. Italians, as I have now learned, use solfedge – very eloquently I might add (for those who don’t know what that is it’s what they use in The Sound of Music instead of using note names – ‘Do a deer a female deer’ etc.). I found myself wishing I had concentrated more in my aural classes at uni which I deemed ‘pointless’ at the time. The rehearsal was going really well and I had a great time, though I was starting to get a little tired by 23.00. I asked my desky what time the rehearsal was set to finish. Apparently in Milan they don’t set ‘end times’ for rehearsals, but I was assured that I would still be able to get the metro home (which stops running at 00.30). Wonderful news… Still some adjusting to the timings of Italian life to be done evidently.

I now have my University timetable and I thankfully I don’t have early mornings after Orchestra. Tomorrow sees my first lecture and my first Choir rehearsal. Exciting times ahead – though if the choir sight sings in solfedge I will have some serious work to do…!

*Efficiently translates as ‘efficienza’ but that really is besides the point.