Well, March 4th has come and gone. One year since we arrived and sat outside a bar in an increasingly chilly Campo San Barnaba, trying not to become too concerned as the shadows lengthened and the agent for our flat obstinately refused to answer the phone.
One year on, another one (at least) lined up, and much to write about. Trouble is, work is a bit mad at the moment so it'll have to wait a bit. Still, a year ago, I'd have been delighted to think I'd be writing those lines.
Work, then. Very busy at the moment. The surprising thing is how much of it has been in schools. More than half of my work, and pretty near 100% of Caroline's. This wasn't something either of us had anticipated. And if we had anticipated it, it sure as hell wouldn't have been something we'd have been looking forward to. Schools? Children? US? To be fair, we'd been told back in the days of TEFL training "if you want to work in Italy, you'll have to teach children"; but we'd chosen to ignore that.
And yet, the other day I came back from work, positively bounded through the door, and announced to Caroline that not only did I like teaching in schools, but that I actually enjoyed it more than 1-1 adult classes. At which point she told me I was becoming hysterical, and could she have her old, normal, grumpy hubby back please...
Anyway, Italian schools. I do like the way they're named after the great and the good. I mean, when I was a lad I went to the imaginatively named Baglan primary school (so called because it was in Baglan), Bishopston comprehensive school (so called because it was in Bishopston), and the Greenhill school, Tenby (so called because it was in Tenby, and there had probably been a green hill there before they built a school on top of it).
But Italian schools sound far more inspiring. I teach at the Scuola Ungaretti (named after a modernist poet) and the Istituto Gramsci (Marxist philosopher). Caroline teaches at Giordano Bruno (philosopher, heretic, possible crimefighter) and Marco Polo (writer, explorer and...oh look, you know who Marco Polo was...).
On Monday I start at the Scuola Quirinale. In case you don't know, the Palazzo del Quirinale is the official residence of the President of the Republic. The current incumbent, Giorgio Napolitano, steps down in two months, leaving something of a vacuum at the heart of Italian politics, and a great deal of soul-searching in the nation as people wonder who can possibly replace him at this most critical time in Italian history.
Clearly someone needs to step up to the plate. So, on Monday, I prefer to say not that I am heading off to school; more that I have been called to the Quirinale...