Sunday, April 17, 2011

That's my life!

Yesterday, I was sitting in Piazza Unita, waiting for a farmacia to reopen after the afternoon break. I was alternating between just enjoying the weather, eating a snack, reading a book, and people watching.  To the left, one of my students was kicking a ball around with his brother and determinedly ignoring the fact that he saw me in public.  On my right, a young couple was playing with a toddler.  Towards the water, a group of tourists was learning about the post office building.

The next time I looked up, a middle-aged man was photographing the authentic Italian boys playing soccer in the historic piazza.  He wants to preserve that image of my student as part of his vacation memories.  I wonder if he'd be interested in taking my recess duty this week?

In the day to day stress of school, I sometimes forget that this life really ain't so bad.


There is a 10.05 Euro, 9:18 train from Trieste to Venice and I have been on that train twice in as many months.  Back at the beginning of March, a huge group of us ventured out for Carnevale.  Italy is obviously a Catholic country, so the beginning of lent is a big deal, and Venice hosts one of the biggest celebrations.  

We got our faces painted...

 We threw (and dodged) confetti...

 We gawked at the beautiful costumes and masks...

 The theme this year was "Renaissance."

And then we slept on the way home.

 Just under a month later, a smaller group headed back.  This adventure started when I received a phone call Friday night informing me that I was "expected" in Venice the next day.  Fortunately, I didn't have any plans I couldn't reschedule, so off we went, in search of the Ruyi as part of a grand scavenger hunt crossed with "choose your own adventure" crossed with awesome.

We read legends of Venice...

Solved puzzles... (MadAdder at your service!)

Discovered hidden beauties under tiny porticos off of little streets leading from back piazzas...

Browsed the coolest bookstore... 

Which was also home to this amusing sign...

And reveled in exploring the other, relatively tourist-free side of a lovely city on a beautiful day.

 My next (tentative) trip to Venice is almost exactly a month after this one, and I'm already excited!  What sort of adventure will it bring?

Monday, April 11, 2011

Pesche Aprile

In Italy, April Fools Day is called Pesche Aprile, or Fish of April. Instead of switching the salt and the sugar, people stick fish on each others' backs, kind of like "kick me" signs. The kids aren't very good at it. They'll walk up to a teacher and ask for a piece of tape, then a few minutes later, awkwardly pat the same teacher on the back. My students were not really into the process, but some of the teachers had entire schools of paper fish on their sweaters by lunch.

It was Friday and the weather was absolutely beautiful, so after school we headed out in the city. After a first stop at Zoe, we walked over to a nearby fish shop that was having an April Fish Day party. I drank a bright green (!) spritz and got "fished" by a student walking by with his family. The shop had fish stickers out and E left his soccer game with his brother for long enough to grab a few and stick one to my back.

I told him he needed to learn to be more sneaky.