Monday, August 30, 2010

I went to a Reggae concert with a scarf on.

It's still August, but it's barely 60 degrees here today. After sweating constantly all last week, this is a bit of a shock, and makes me hope my boxes with warmer clothes will get here soon!
This week there is an international festival-type-thing in one of the Piazzas with booths and live music every night. So, tonight, this combined to result in a reggae concert with a scarf (and all of my warmest summer clothes).

Today was the first all staff day, and I was surprised to find that there are 50 staff members at the school. It doesn't seem like that big of a place, but I suppose once you add up all the grades and the Italian teachers, too, there's a lot of us. For those who didn't know, I am the associate teacher for grade 3, though I'm not really sure what that means yet. The lead teacher for grade 3 is new as well, and she just got in yesterday! Needless to say, she'd overwhelmed too, so we're still figuring out how everything is going to work. Right now, we have a mostly empty classroom, only a very basic idea of the curriculum, and lots more meetings to attend.

A little more about the school:
- It was founded in the late 1960s for international students, especially those affiliated with the physics research center.
- Now, upwards of 80% of the students are Italian. The other 20% are international.
- The building was designed by a semi-famous architect that no one can remember the name of as part of a design competition. It was originally intended to be built in Africa or a similar climate, making it very difficult to heat in the winter.
- The building was an orphanage/boys home before it became a school. Several near-by buildings are still part of the state foster system.
- School starts a week from today!

Looks like a school, huh?

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

4 days?

We've been here for 4 days now, and it seems so long and so short at the same time. We are still figuring out how to get where we're going and meeting more teachers everyday, but we've also done so much!

After 3 uneventful flights, (though a slightly eventful layover in Rome where we switched airlines) Lizzy (Kinder teacher from Williamsburg) and I landed in Trieste around 7:30. We were met at the airport and whisked away to our respective apartments and almost immediately off to dinner, where I ate the first of several pizzas so far and met about 20 people who I instantly forgot.

Saturday, we met up to reintroduce ourselves to each other and get Italian phones. Since I left my unlocked UK phone in the US, I had to get a new one in addition to the new SIM card, but this one plugs into an Italian outlet, which my British one would not have. From there my roommate and I went to get pillows, as sleeping on a rolled up towel the night before had not been terribly pleasant. Back to our (giant, very modern, very white) apartment to finally start to unpack. After a short nap, we joined some of the group at a pub to watch a soccer game, then went out to a dance club at the beach. They had strobe lights, so I didn't enjoy the club much, but we got to see some of the countryside on the ride there, including road signs pointing the way to Slovenia and Croatia. We're really quite close.

Fortunately we got to sleep in on Sunday before a trip out to the Barcola. It's not quite a beach, but it's where land meets water and people go there to lay in the sun and swim. I suppose it's basically a beach without sand. Instead, there's big rocks with stairs that go over into the water. I got a Doener Kebab, which is an originally Turkish food that migrated to Germans street food stands then throughout Europe, if I'm remembering correctly. We learned about them in high school German, so I was excited to try one- it was pretty good, if a bit large and messy to eat. Later, before getting on the bus to go back into the main part of the city, we stopped at a Gelataria, where I got a mint chocolate chip scoop.

Monday and Tuesday have been mostly paperwork and meetings at the school, which is useful and necessary, but not terribly interesting to write about. We learned that pretty much everyone in the area has controlled this strip of land at some point, from Austria to Russia, Italy of course, and even the US, briefly after WWII. We learned all about the school's accreditation process and recent curriculum re-write, and how our insurance works. Thrilling, really. Sprinkled among have been fun things like the views from the tram ride up to the school (a long but beautiful commute) and visiting another associate teacher apartment to hang out on their balcony. We also went grocery shopping yesterday, which had been difficult because we kept having free time during siesta, when all the stores are closed. The regular grocery store was still closed, so we had to do the more old-fashioned, European style, where we visited a deli-type shop for meat and cheese (and Nutella) and another shop for fruits and vegetables.

The next couple of days will be more paperwork and meetings, which means lots of hurry up and wait time. I've already finished one of the two books I brought, so during the waiting today I found the school library. It should keep me busy for a while; I just can't finish my current book before the librarian gets settled. We met him today, but he just got in, so it's not really fair to try to check out books already!

Almost time for a shower and bed- post again later!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Made it!

I'm in Italy, but I'm borrowing another teacher's internet connection (currently the only one of all the teachers in our neighborhood!) so I'll post later.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

So, I don't actually speak any Italian (yet),*

but by the end of this week, I'll be living in Italy, where I will be teaching 3rd grade at an International School. I'm leaving on Thursday at 3 pm, and will get to Trieste on Friday at 6:30 pm. At this point, I have shipped a few things, my suitcases are somewhat packed, and I have a new toothbrush from Grandma. Hey, I've still got almost 40 hours, right?

Some things I have learned so far:
- Getting a visa to get into any country is complicated, not just the UK. Getting my sticker for Italy involved a 24 hour, 600 mile trip to Philadelphia to turn in paperwork so they could mail it back to me.
- There are many things you can't mail to Italy. Some of them make sense to me, like live animals, weapons, and chloroform, but some don't, like shoes, fake flowers, bells, playing cards, or "toys not made wholly of wood." You can't mail salt or saccharine, but regular sugar (sucrose) is okay. It is also illegal to mail haberdashery, which is just fun to say. (For a complete list, see here. It amused me for a good 20 minutes.)

Well, considering that it's nearly midnight, my plan to adjust my sleep schedule ahead of time seems to have failed miserably. Oops. Anyway, I'll post again when I get there!


*According to google translator, the title of this blog is "I am a teacher." I got too confused when trying to translate the actual web address, hence the English version.