God sometimes gives us unexpected gifts. Our gift has been a grandson who enlivens our lives and makes retirement very different than the one we anticipated. He is a special joy. And that's "Casey." In 2006 we fulfilled our dream of living in Italy for a year. It was every bit as wonderful as anticipated. This blog begins in 2005 as we prepared for that experience. Since then we have explored many places together. That's the "Travel." And finally, I am a person of opinions--spiritually, politically, on just about anything and that's the "Other Stuff." Welcome to my blog.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

The Big Three


These are THE major decisions we struggle with as we plan our move to Italy and they are entirely intertwined and interdependent--to approach them separately is about as effective as separating print from the page.

The part that makes complexity out of simplicity is the schooling. If all we needed were to determine location and from there go to housing, life would be simple. Although it would still be hard to choose where to live, we could do that in fairly short order. But--Casey complicates things immensely--Bless his wonderful, delightful, loving soul!


We have finally (I think) decided on placing him in an Italian public school as opposed to the International school in Florence. Originally we had wanted to do this but were concerned (and to some degree still are) about the language situation--he doesn't speak Italian. But--after cyber-conversations with many people who have taken this risk and their childrens' subsequent positive experiences, we have decided that Casey will do well, becoming bilingual fairly rapidly and successfully. This will become a part of the richness of this unusual year in his life.

A preview of Casey next year.
Photo by Peter Palmieri

This decision accomplishes two big things:
  1. We have more options for location.
  2. We have more € at our disposal.
Now the two issues we face in finding the right school and by default the right location are:

In Italy children traditionally go to school 6 days a week--lunedi-sabato. We do not want this for Casey. The good news is that 6-day school is not mandatory and there are schools that go for just 5 days--it seems each school can make an independent decision in this matter--strange! (They also seem to set their own school hours.)

2.) The other important factor is the kind of language assistance a school offers kids like Casey. It seems that all schools must provide a tutor or a pull-out type program for a period of time daily--provided by the government. But--some areas and schools have much more experience in doing this and already have English speaking children enrolled--much more accustomed and prepared to work with ex-pat kids.

Finding out which schools in which locations meet these criterium is not easy. Particularly when blending these things with some specific desires Ken and I have for our time there--becoming part of the ebb and flow of daily life, short trips to other areas, visiting friends we have made throughout Umbria and Tuscany, language school and whatever else strikes our fancy.

So--now we are in research mode--which involves much cyber searching, asking a multitude of questions of contacts we have had and are making in potential locations, finding circuitous ways to make contact with schools, contacting rental agents (much of which is in l'italiano)--and--rotating between wondering why in the world we are doing this and experiencing exhilerating anticipation. No misgivings--just butterflies.

Next Up: Location

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