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.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Scuola in Greve-Terzo Elementare


Ieri--yesterday--was the big day! Il primo giorno della scuola and we all survived --even Ken and I!

The night before, Nicoletta helped me prepare Casey's backpack and other bags of "stuff" that are required of each student.

Backpack: Two pencil cases with their required contents--scissors, glue, marker, blue, green and red pens, erasers, colored pencils; ruler; pencil sharpener; diary--for assignments (I think); two small notebooks whose purpose I am not yet sure about; daily snack; water; the summer workbooks.

Cloth Shoe Bag: Gym shoes to be kept at school.

Plastic Bag #1: Two rolls of paper towels, liquid soap and a ream of copy paper.

Plastic Bag #2: 17 notebooks (that's right--17), 7 plastic covers for notebooks, plastic glass, umbrella and a 3 ring binder for his "personal story." The children add to this autobiographical record each year--narratives, drawings and pictures, family information, etc. By the end of the elementare years, each child has a personal record of life. Isn't this a great idea?--a real gift that can be treasured forever.

So--all was set for the coming morning. Bath was taken, prayers were said, a few fears shared and lights out. We kind of expected that sleep would come hard for him, but it didn't. That was a good sign!

In the morning we--Casey, Camilla, Nicoletta and Ken and I piled in the cars and headed for school.

When we arrived (2 minutes down the road), we joined the milling throng of parents and children outside the locked gate in front of the school. Promptly at 8:30 it was opened and the procession into school started amid squeals, laughter and a general buzz of excitement.

On the way up the stairs to the second floor classrooms, two boys, (Tomasso and Matteo), who either knew Casey from the picture that had been in the classroom last year or from soccer tryouts (not sure which,) saw him, and, with sparkling eyes and big grins, motioned him to follow them to the room. He had friends already and some of the ice broke. I could almost hear the happy heart sound inside Casey's little heart.

We got to the room where the kids were jabbering away and the parents were saying good-bye to children and greeting the teachers--Maestre Agatha and Anna Maria.

Tom and Matteo saved a seat for Casey at their table--right in the front row--so Casey had a home. But--before he could sit down, another boy, Niccolo, ran up and handed him an invitation to his festa del compleanno (birthday party) next Monday in Montefioralle. Now Casey really felt he belonged. We were quite overwhelmed that Niccolo and his parents had already thought of and provided for Casey's inclusion.

This weekend we will go to Snoopy's or the Grog Shop and pick up a perfect boy present for this new friend. We could not have asked for a better beginning! Again, prayers (ours and those of many others)were answered in full--God is good and gracious.

Because the first two days of school were half-days, we picked up the kids at 12:50. The procedure is very different from what we are accustomed to--the maestra stands at the open doorway. As a child joins her, the parent, who is standing outside the open gate, signals that is her child and then the boy or girl is released. This naturally takes a little bit of time.

When Casey's turn came, he looked quite bewildered by this process and didn't look too happy about being held back, but soon he and Camilla joined us and we were on our way home.

The report of the day was typically child sketchy. According to him all he said all day was "non capisco" but I suspect he did manage a few other things--I hope. He did not bring home his homework notebooks as he was supposed to do because he didn't realize that was the expectation--even though he had written the homework in them. So--he and Camilla worked together on it under Nicoletta's supervision. Nicoletta says that Casey's pronouciation--even sounding out new words, which most are--is outstanding. He has no accent, rolls the r's and pronounces the syllables perfectly. Of course, whether he understands what he reads is an entirely other question.

Today, on the second day, he and Camilla walked hand-in-hand down the sidewalk to the gate and paraded in together. What joy that brought to nonna's (grandma's) heart!

Soon he will be home. Alessandro is picking up both children and so we must wait until they arrive to find out how it went. Hopefully it has been another day to help vanquish fears, that he said more than "I don't understand", brings his homework and has made even more new friends. We are off to a new and good beginning.

Now, a special thank you, grazie mille, to my many friends on ST who have sent good wishes to Casey and have taken him to their hearts. You are a special group of people whom I value and appreciate!


Deborah said...

Casey, I'm so happy to read about your successful first two days of school!
I'm amazed that you are the same boy who spent an afternoon showing me how he could jump in a pool in San Diego.
Now look at you!!!!
I know you aren't thinking about this now, but some day you will be an outstanding citizen of God's world.
Your wonderful family is preparing you to be one of those people who makes a real difference.

Ambra Celeste said...

Dear Jane, Ken and Casey, congratulations for starting a very exciting new school year! You can see from my blog that my boys have just started their second year here in Italy. If ever you feel like writing to pen pals in English, my son Matthew is in the third grade, and my son Gabriel is in the fifth this year. They would love to write to you Casey! Ciao! from your (hopefully) new friends in Torino

Jane said...

Ambra, just left a message your blog but would love your e-mail address. Mine is in my profile. Casey could then write Matthew.

Giulia said...

I'm so glad to hear that Casey's first day of school was so successful! (I had no doubts ;))
About Casey's pronunciation: it IS outstanding! Just wait for a few weeks to pass and for him to understand a bit more and you'll not be able to stop him!!!
Hugs to the 3 of you!

Judith in Umbria said...

Go Casey!

Pauline said...

A big day indeed!! Congratulations to all of you!!