Saturday, July 25, 2009

From Aversa to Perugia

I hope you are all reading this from the bottom to the top; I'm updating my weeks chronologically, so sorry for the confusion if you are reading this from the top (like a normal person would, I know)...

My week in Aversa came to a rather abrupt end. On Friday, we found out that the other four tutors from the camp would be sent to a summer camp the following week together, and I was going on my own to Perugia. Don't get me wrong, I'm happy to go anywhere and I'm competent by myself, but after four weeks of travelling with Kim, always having a companion on the train, and now knowing in less than 24 hours I would have to say goodbye to my closest friend and partner in crime since I've been here, it was rough. Kim only had one more week of work anyway, and we had really hoped that we would get to stay together until she went back to Canada. But it wasn't to be, so we parted ways sadly in Rome, and I headed off for Perugia.

Let me give you a little sample of my week: on Sunday, you dive into a new family, town, and camp with a new director and tutors. You make a rough plan for the week, you figure out what group of children you will be working with, and you're trying to learn what you can about this hospitable family who has just taken you in. Monday comes roaring along, and by 8:30am you're gearing up for five days of non-stop games, activities, chaos, and speaking very slow, deliberate english to children. (All of this in the lovely, intense Italian sun too) By the time you get home around 6pm, you've got lessons to prepare for the next day, children in the family you are staying with who want to play and speak English, the family may even want to show you around town-oh yes, and you're probably very hungry. But you're also exhausted. Hopefully by Wednesday, things are somewhat routine, and you're starting to feel sanity coming back to you a bit. Before you know it, it's Friday afternoon, the kids are all excited to perform their English show, and you're saying goodbye to all your new friends. You spend Friday evening packing and enjoying the success of another week, and Saturday morning you're up early and saying goodbye to another family. You'll spend anywhere from 3-9 hours on the train Saturday and arrive at another station, where there will be excited people waiting to greet you and take you into their home-and you're exhausted. :) Don't get me wrong, I am having the time of my life, but it's so easy to get swept up in the whole experience and completely lose track of yourself and where you are.

So here I go, from Rome to Perugia, completely passed out on the train from an exhausting week (by the way, Friday night we didn't get home til 3am either); so asleep that the train attendant has to shake me to ask for my ticket. But I'm glad he did, because this ride turned out to be one of the most beautiful I have been on yet. We crossed to the east and a bit north, through canyons and valleys, and the most picturesque places you can hope for. It's funny because one of my favorite things is not having a clue about the next town I am going to. So as I ride along, everything is a surprise, and I have no preconceived ideas or expectations for what is to come. Perugia is beautiful, and I'd say the most sophisticated city I had been to yet. It's was so different to go from the coast to Umbria, deep in the heart of Italy. I stayed with a family with 6 children-yes, 6! and they were wonderful. What I love about big families is how everything can go on without you doing much. So somedays I would come home from camp and just watch life go on around me; it was beautiful. Their youngest, Giacomo, who is 5 years old, reminded me so much of my dear friend Clay back in California: his facial expressions, his manner of speaking, and his passion for life. Even after a full day of camp, it was always fun to come home and run around with him and make him laugh; there is nothing more pure than a child enjoying his life to the full.

I could tell you so many more stories, as usual, but I will stop here and move on to the next city. Oh yes, of course there is more...
Here is Perugia
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