Conversations at Sala Borsa


Conversations at Sala Borsa

Sunday, November 22nd, 2015

That is Biblioteca Sala Borsa. This is the third or fourth time that I have done volunteer work at the library (biblioteca) in the center of Bologna. I did a post about this fantastic library  – you can read more about it by clicking here. My volunteering consists of using a skill that I obviously have and which is in great demand here in Bologna: English. The program at the library, run by my friend Liu’, consists of face to face conversations in a variety of languages. The English version is in such demand that those that want to have English conversation are limited to two visits a month. My duties are usually (and this trip is no exception) 2 afternoons a week for 2 hours each time. Each person is allotted 40 minutes. Not particularly hard duty. I also go 3 times a week for Italian conversation which is a great for improving my Italian. Most of the people who I meet for English are interesting people and some become friends. If we seem to hit it off I also try to establish times outside of my library duties for a “tandem”. That is, we speak some in Italian and some in English so everybody benefits. Some become long term friends.

Andrea

                                       Andrea

One such friend this year is Andrea, who I’m looking forward to seeing when I return in February. We really hit it off and since he is currently (unfortunately) unemployed we spent quite a bit of time together. He showed me some cool places like the Jukebox Cafe not far from the very center. Follow this link for more info. It’s in Italian but the home page gives a slide show. The menu includes stuff like pancakes and french toast for breakfast and hamburgers for lunch. And yes, there is a Jukebox full of rock and roll and it’s all free.

The Jukebox at Jukebox Cafe

                                     The Jukebox at Jukebox Cafe

Elena

                                           Elena

I also had tandems with Elena. A 20 something who has graduated from university and now doing her masters in some form of business. She wants to do a lot of travel when that phase is completed before settling down to a career. I think that her plan is to spend a semester in Chile or Argentina soon.

Rafaele

                                                 Rafaele

I have done some tandems with Rafaele who is originally from Calabria. He was initially also unemployed but now has found something at least temporarily. I wish him and Andrea luck. The economic situation in Italy has not recovered as it has in the U.S.

In all, this work is both satisfying and a good way to meet people. And, I even have a library card. I don’t plan to borrow any books or movies, at least not on this trip but they limit bathroom visits to those with a card (una tessera in this context in Italian). When I come back in February I plan to take out some movies. There are lots of them available.

My library card - good at all of the Bologna libraries

                  My library card – good at all of the Bologna libraries

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