Leaning Towards Pisa
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
It's a real life story that sounds too good to be true: fate hands a woman a chance to abandon her stressful job, make a fresh start in Italy, have a passionate affair - and open a whole new chapter.
'I don't know what triggers are at work to attract people, to inexorably pull one to the other, I only know that at a certain point you give in, you stop thinking about it, and you abandon yourself to whatever lies ahead.'
Like so many women, Sue Howard was an expert at juggling a growing tower of work with a shrinking slice of personal life until a stabbing pain in the middle of the night forces her to take stock. After emergency surgery, her doctor orders a reality check - and a long rest. When she is invited to share a house in Italy, Sue suddenly decides that rather than just take a holiday, she'll quit her job for good and take a chance. It's a big decision. There's family, children, even grandchildren, and a relationship, but the lure of the great unknown proves too strong.
Once she gets to Italy, the temptation to throw caution to the wind becomes even stronger and she accepts a job teaching English in Pisa, where she slowly but surely falls in love with a place where people know how to really live, where work is work and life is life, to be embraced with gusto every day. As Sue learns to think as well as speak Italian, she falls under the spell of a charming professor who c
ompletes her seduction by a country where enjoyment of food and wine is an art form, an afternoon rest almost compulsory and being stressed at work downright impossible - just what the doctor ordered.
recognised from the morning’s workshop, were busy working away at their desks. They all seemed highly professional and efficient. I didn’t want to confess that I had no foreign-language teaching experience and didn’t really know what I was doing, so I started looking through the course book for my first lesson – a group of six students who’d already studied English for a year. The time for the lesson was rapidly approaching. What if I couldn’t make myself understood? Well, I thought, I’ll
valuable lesson, I waited my turn, patiently, and in the queue. When I noticed the second person push in front of me, I took action and pushed back. ‘Mi scusi,’ I said, loudly and purposefully. The person, a squat older man considerably shorter than me, pretended not to hear. ‘Mi scusi,’ I said, raising my voice even louder, and giving him a little push with my hand. He couldn’t pretend any longer. He turned towards me, and I glared at him, eyeball to eyeball, until he wavered, and then took a
understand your language. On the other hand, I had no idea what he meant by ‘Are you a good fork?’ I remembered Lisa’s advice. ‘Yes,’ I replied in Italian, smiling. He looked delighted and proceeded to serve me the biggest plate of pasta I’d ever seen. He was asking me if I had a good appetite. And so I found myself in front of a mountain of pappardelle al cinghiale (long, flat pasta with a wild-boar sauce), together with the expectation that I would eat it all. I struggled with the fork (no
turn-of-the-century furniture. Hans is a curious mix. He was born in Germany, and looks like a Viking: tall and muscular with flowing hair. But he grew up in New Zealand (where the family fled to escape the Nazis), and this is reflected in his clothes: brightly patterned Maori shirts, Dr Scholl’s, and even the occasional agate necklace. Many years ago, he and his wife moved from New Zealand to Cambridge so he could pursue his career as a scientist. We had only one full day together, and Hans
and spoke English well. Michela was the one I had most in common with; she also didn’t come with a cleaning-obsessed mother. A week later Maria, together with her mother, father, brother and boyfriend, arrived from Calabria in the deep south of Italy. I had heard comments about the differences between southerners and northerners, but this was my first look at southerners close up. Maria was beautiful – really gorgeous in that sultry, sexy, Latin way. She walked like a model, hips swinging and