The beginner's Italian textbook I snatched from a pile of free books at the end of last May is paying off. I am finally on my way to learning Italian! I'm not learning it the "natural" way, immersed, but it's a start. (If it weren't for the "natural" way, I wouldn't be interested in learning Italian at all. I now find it extremely practical.) With the guidance of this text and the world wide web, this can be a successful endeavor.
Want to listen to some Ticinese music? (Ticino is the only Italian-speaking region in Switzerland and where I called home for a year. Don't know if I ever mentioned that...) Type in "Chiara Dubey" in youtube.com. I recommend "Anima Nuova". It's easy listening with a slightly nostalgic flavor.
By the way, I cooked a stellar eggplant and tomato sandwhich on a panini for dinner. Oh, yes, how I do love having a full-sized kitchen with miles of counter space and an island.