Archive for November, 2007

Nowhere to go but up

November 29, 2007

Mobiles

Originally uploaded by nonsonoitaliana

As yesterday was obviously rock bottom, today had nowhere to go but up.

I managed a couple of lessons, and also handled the labor-intensive process of making these mobiles with many children (I did have help after the first round, as one of the children largely took over.). They are beautiful, maybe ten in the classroom. If anyone ever wants to make mobiles like this, I suggest choosing a simpler three-dimensional origami shape, VERY thin wire, and some kind of floss other than fishing line, which has a mind of its own and is slippery to boot.

Last night after my depressing blog, I sat down and tried to figure out what to do with this miserable situation. My new friend Miguel arrived around 5, and we ended up talking for maybe 45 minutes. Do I need to explain how much talking to a sane person can change your perspective, your outlook on life as it is at that moment? After laughing a lot, and talking about things other than school, I went home a different woman.

Plus he checked out the train ticket situation for me and thank goodness because there are no more tickets on the two trains I had thought to take! Never even occurred to me. I will have to leave early tomorrow.

Uninspiring photographs

November 28, 2007

Atoms

Originally uploaded by nonsonoitaliana

I know this is a really uninspiring photograph, but my choices were either this or a child working with the checkerboard on a REALLY cluttered table top. I chose the more positive of the two, though “positive” may be an exaggeration. I am positively down, really down.

Maybe it’s not circumstance, maybe it’s not the enormous problem of langauge, maybe it’s me- I am an inaffective teacher. Uninspiring, like my photos. Blah.

Who cares if one child is totally pumped about making models of atoms and understands what he’s doing? He understood before I came along, I just told him to rub some wool together to make a ball that we can imagine is a proton. And there are at least four others I can’t even do that much for.

AND I didn’t have all the information I needed for my application for a fiscal code.

AND I’m homesick.

Origami again

November 27, 2007

Origami again

Originally uploaded by nonsonoitaliana

It’s not my fault at all this time, but somehow I know I’m going to get in trouble again. I’ve already had a direct command not to let the children do more than one box-star-or-what-ever-it-is, which is just so impossible and almost injust that I can’t do it no matter how much I try. So maybe it is my fault. But I didn’t start it, it was Fredrick’s idea to make these and sell them at the Christmas market. So. There we are.

I discovered the new boy, a 12-year-old, is interested in chemistry, in metals. I got so excited that I sat down on the floor next to his table and started talking to him about electrons and the nuclei and making models… I think he was excited, too, but it’s hard to tell sometimes whether my enthusiasm obliges others to pretend to feel the same. I’ll find out tomorrow, maybe.

Off to another depressing and dark evening by myself, with my books. I am homesick. But homesick for Italy. My identity is so confused, being an American, living in Italy and working in Sweden… what the hell is wrong with me?

What teaching does to you…

November 26, 2007

2007 November 00000Originally uploaded by nonsonoitaliana

Actually this isn´t me (it’s my friend next door in the Infant Community), and actually I had a really relaxed day. Better than yesterday, which went like this:

1. Up at 4.30

2. Turned away from security because my Italian id is not adequate for my “check and go” checkin that I did online, despite what the Ryanair website said.

3. After some chaos I check in with my passport and fly to Frankfurt, where my plans of taking the train into the city to take the edge off my 8 hour layover are thwarted by the fact that I am not at the main airport, but rather one that is an hour and a half away from the city.

4. Talk to Ryanair folks who tell me my Italian id is just fine and I don’t need to check-in all over again as in Italy. Hmmmm…

5. Spend twenty euros on the International Herald Tribune, Martha Stewart Living Magazine and Bust magazine (these are not really the odd combination that they might at first seem… )

6. Read for 7 hours, with a small break to eat a sandwhich.

7. Fly to Gothenburg, get picked up by Jenny Marie’s saintly son, who drives me an hour and a half to my apartment.

A great day, really. Why am I doing this, again?

Distance

November 22, 2007

Rachel and McCready at the beach

Originally uploaded by nonsonoitaliana

I have been thinking about this guy and his little sister so much lately.

This photo is old now, taken when the almost-five-year-old was three and a half, but I don’t have so many of myself with him so I cherish it. One of the hardest things about my life here in Italy is how far I am from my family- I know it would be the same if I had continued to live in Alaska, or any other place in the states that isn’t the east cost, but still sometimes I feel downright hostile towards Italy for choosing to be on the other side of the world.

I finished the sewing project started yesterday, but don’t have a photo yet, and worked most of the morning and afternoon on the other, secret project. I am trying to find a way to be in their lives despite the distance, and think I many have hit upon a possible, fun solution. I will find out after the holidays if it works.

Projects

November 21, 2007

in-the-works

Originally uploaded by nonsonoitaliana

I am working on several projects for my nieces and nephew right now- this one I’ve had in my head for awhile but only just started this afternoon. It will be finished tomorrow, I think. The others are for the two small ones, and I’ve been working on them for several weeks now. Hopefully I’ll finish them in time for the holidays.

I’m on vacation this week- the Center is closed while the students are out observing Montessori classrooms, and my passport only just arrived today with the new work visa for Sweden. I’ll be heading up north again on Sunday, for a week-long jaunt. I hope to do some verb work, and continue with geometry as well. Looking forward to it, especially since it will only be a week!

dentists and acrobats

November 17, 2007

new toothbrushes

Originally uploaded by nonsonoitaliana

Yesterday evening we went to the dentist. Fabulous. They cleaned my teeth for an hour, admonished me for drinking tea, which was staining my teeth, and told me I have to brush my teeth in a particular way or my gums are going to receed into nothingness. I am so happy to have shining white teeth again I can hardly stand it- it’s been I think 5 years or more since the last time I went and had anything done.

We finished so late that we decided to stop at a kebab place for dinner. I have wanted to try the one on Castagnate, near Ilario’s parents’ place, since it opened maybe a year and a half, two years ago. So we went. Turns out the owner is a retired acrobat, and he and his brothers used to travel around the world.

For two years they worked with Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus, traveling in the States! They were in New York when my family was living in Brooklyn. He has wonderful photos up all over the shop, some with Mr. T and Hulk Hogan, and lots of him and his brothers doing crazy acrobat-strongman-things. He told me they worked in Italy at Gardaland for many years, and he met his wife there, who is from Terno. So of course they settled here, and now he and his brothers have the kebab shop. Such a crazy world.

Seasonal

November 15, 2007

Farm stand

Originally uploaded by nonsonoitaliana

Since I discovered the local farmer at the Calusco market, I have been buying all our vegetables and fruit there. My life is at the same time greatly simplified and increasingly challenged.

Simplified because I only go shopping once or twice a week (Saturday market and some other day of the week to the grocery for dry things like toilet paper), and then our buying collective once a month. Simplified because I don’t have to think much about what I’m going to buy, either.

Challenged because I am working hard to come up with a large variety of dishes that have winter squash, cabbage, potatoes and apples as main ingredients. We have had cabbage salads of various types, baked squash, squash ravioli, squash gnocchi, many squah soups, roasted potatoes, mashed potatoes, samosas, potato soups, several kinds of baked apples, apple cakes and apple pies, as well as apples in the squash soups and ravioli… I am cooking a lot, really a lot.

I am so far pleased with both the simplification and the challenge. I feel responsible, but also lucky to have the possibility of buying local, seasonal food. It’s just so normal and reasonable feeling. I do have some anxiety about what February will bring, but I am more curious than worried.