October 26th, 2023Daylesford hosts a visitor from Venice
Words and Image: Eve Lamb
Daylesford is a long way from Venice, Italy but for 26 year old visiting Italian Christian Scaletta it’s an intriguing place to visit and work.
Christian arrived in Australia in April, along with about 29 other Italians,
all of them posted for a half-year stint to assist with teaching the Italian
language and culture at various schools, mostly in Melbourne.
Christian, who also speaks Russian, German, Spanish and Czech, was
assigned to assist with teaching Italian in Daylesford – at the local
primary school for one day of the week, and at the secondary college for the other four.
“I was born in Sicily and my family moved to near Bologna in the central
north of Italy when I was eight, but I have been living in Venice for the
past six to seven years,” Christian said.
The posting to Australia is for six months, a temporary arrangement
through the international organisation Co. As. It (Italian Assistance Association).
Christian says he became aware of the opportunity through his
university, Ca’foscari University of Venice, where he graduated in language studies before securing work there as an intern in the university’s international relations office.
“I thought it (assisting with teaching Italian in Australia) sounded very
interesting. I’ve always been interested in teaching,” Christian said
recounting how he jumped at the opportunity to experience life on the other side of the globe.
Coming to Australia for the very first time has been a bit of an eye- opener and Christian admits he is keeping an eye open for dangerous and potentially lethal Aussie critters – like snakes and spiders.
While in Daylesford he has been staying with local couple Leonie Keynes and Mark Bird.
Leonie says hosting Christian in their home has been a blast for all of
them and, just quietly, she has enjoyed having a bit of a chuckle at her visitor’s expense.
“He has been very wary of the ‘animals that can kill you in Australia!’ but
I think he is getting used to living in the country now,” she says.
“One of the first questions he asked when he moved into our place was
‘what type of animals can come into your backyard that may be dangerous?’.”
Conveniently, Leonie and Mark’s residence is opposite Cliffy’s cafe,
noted locally for its coffee, and Christian has been getting used to doing coffee the Aussie way.
This too has been a very different experience for the visiting Italian who,
when back home drinks espresso as a matter of course through the day.
While in Daylesford he has been getting used to the Aussie flat white.
“Coffee here is just a different experience. I don’t get espresso here,” he said.
“I would normally have three or four cups of coffee to go – espresso to
go, to get through the day, whereas here it’s more like a treat and my
order has been flat white which you just don’t get in Italy – maybe in Milan,” he says.
Christian has been making the most of his time in Australia, visiting as
many places as he can readily get to, and so far, during term breaks,
he’s managed to pack in trips to Tasmania, Adelaide, Sydney, Byron Bay and Brisbane.
As a self-confessed city boy he admits that he particularly enjoyed Sydney.
‘I’m not used to being in quiet places. I have always been in big cities so
I have really liked just taking my time while I’m here. Daylesford is lovely
and it’s very nice to just get the real Aussie experience,” he says.
“It’s been very interesting to see a lot of animals that I normally wouldn’t
see like kangaroos and wallabies and so many different birds. I did ask
for some help as to whether I should be worried about certain animals or not.”
Christian’s Daylesford visit is particularly timely as it coincides nicely with
the return of the area’s popular Swiss Italian Festa.
The local primary school children have been getting into Festa mode
with his assistance, by learning some traditional Italian folk dancing and
card games, and Christian plans to experience the festa vibe while he has the chance.
“I’ll probably be joining in the parade on Saturday,” he said.
Now, with only two months remaining of his time Down Under, Christian
says living in Daylesford and assisting both local teachers and students
with their Italian language and cultural know-how has been a wonderful and beneficial experience.
“They also correct me sometimes when I get a word in English wrong – which is fair,” he said.
“I love it. It’s extremely useful and I’ve created a bond with some classes. There’s this trust. I’m really enjoying my time here. It’s just a really enriching experience from both sides.