Waking up to a barrage of messages from my host saying ‘are you ready’?! and ‘the moon is full tonight’? really did nothing to make me feel any easier about moving into a stranger’s house for six weeks. All I could really do by that point though was to hope that it was a cultural barrier and I wasn't going to live with an Italian pervert.
Despite all the reservations, me and my 20kg of luggage got on the plane. In the end, it was really just a matter of dignity. Yes, I wanted to learn Italian, but I’d also spent 2 weeks going for farewell dinners and drinks. I didn't want to have to have to host an ‘only joking! I’m not going away, it was just to see if you were really my friend’ party so soon after.
Genoa is around a two hour flight from London Stanstead and it really is one of the most beautiful cities you can descend into. I know it’s not really saying all that much, because after staring blindly at a blue and yellow pleather Ryanair seat for two hours anything looks great, but there’s something very majestic about the height of the buildings against the uneven coastline and proximity of some very green mountains.
I don’t know if its because I had such seriously low exceptions, but my host - lets call him M - and his daughter - we’ll call her G - are the kindliest of people. They just want to speak English all the time, which is probably not ideal for me learning Italian, but they’re very proud of their village - Camogli - and want to show me everything. And I want to see everything.
Camogli is an idyllic little fishing village, about a 30 minute train journey from Genoa, squashed between the mountains and the sea. It’s punctuated with pastel painted houses, boats, and many, many staircases. Everybody knows everybody, not many people speak English, and food is a big deal here.
So, hopefully I’ll have something interesting to say for myself over the next few weeks.