Back (to School)

IMG_7066We’re back on the farm!  We knew upon returning to Italy that the House of Peace would be a temporary place for us, and one of the key things to decide was where the kids would go to school.  The preschool we found near La Casa della Pace was actually pretty nice for a short time, but didn’t appeal enough to start the year off with the expectation of staying.  So, as the summer drew to a close and our continued conversations with Fede’s family about transition continued, we eventually decided we were ready to give it one more go here at Borgo Basino.  We were reminded that our old preschool starts pretty early, so in the end we rushed a bit to move back in the first days of September.


The Quaker gathering September 2017
The Quaker Gathering September 2018

And we were greeted by a whole group of Quakers!  For the second year in a row now, we hosted the national gathering of Italian Quakers in a weekend of worship, workshops, and social time.  It was a lovely, though stressful, return to our familiar habits of hospitality with a group of supportive Friends.

The highlights for me are always feeling that burst of Quaker community. Also it helps to spend time with many other Friends like me who don’t regularly get to go to meeting or participate in Quaker activities.  One attendee this year has participated almost exclusively for years in online meetings for worship from Sicily. Another couple were checking out Quakers for the first time after hearing them mentioned in a movie on Netflix and sparking their curiosity.

And so we are back, and 3/4 of us are returning to school!

Preschool has begun for our 4-year-old force of nature, back with the same teachers and many of the same friends as before but with a few more doubts after so much transition.

I have begun teaching a class for the Bologna satellite campus of  Spring Hill College in Alabama, whose students have come up to the farm the last several years as a part of their social justice-oriented program.  The Italy Center at Spring Hill is a pretty cool alternative to the “classic” college study abroad in Italy, with students working in service learning sites, taking classes on socially conscious subjects, and traveling to learn more about migration or popular education. We met them originally because one of Fede’s former colleagues from the Christian Peacemaker Teams came to work for them after completing his service in Palestine. In any case, I’m excited to get to know the students and the Italy Center more as this semester’s co-teacher of “Environmentalism, Business, and Ethics” co-taught as an interdisciplinary course with another Italian professor.  I miss school so I’m excited by this opportunity, and there are more potential developments there too!

At the same time, as our plans to really take on the work of the farm and our dream materialize, Federica needs to up her certification as an Agritourism Operator so we will be juggling her going into classes and me commuting to Bologna to teach some days a week, all with the baby (who is really into learning how to walk) and preschool to consider.  It’ll just be this semester, but please send some educational mercies our way!

14 thoughts on “Back (to School)

  1. Evan, sending you and Fede many educational mercies, as many as I can spare. I am happy you are back on the farm, and Little Man bakc in his preschool. And the baby walking! Your life is so full of different kinds of connections. Thanks for maintaining this small one. Sending you all many, many hugs.

    1. Thanks Ellen! The little one is not yet walking but getting close! Connection to y’all at ICP is definitely super meaningful to us. We’ll make sure it stays alive and come visit again.

  2. Such a beautiful life Evan.

    Things here are pretty much the same, fall is setting in and while it is beautiful at the moment I really don’t enjoy the thought of the cold and rain to come.

    The photo of your son weighed down by his backpack is absolutely precious.

    I look forward to reading your posts from the idyllic land.

    Love to you all.


    Julie R. Evenhuis
    Payroll Manager

    Squaxin Island Tribe
    10 SE Squaxin Lane
    Shelton, WA 98584

    (360) 432 3814

    1. Thanks Julie, especially for the update from there! It’s not all idyllic all the time but we do feel really blessed in many ways. Writing these posts definitely helps us keep the big positive picture alive.

  3. Wow, when your cousin Toby just started walking and he would watch his brother and mother go off to school he decided to follow in their footsteps. I didn’t think he could get that far but he took a lunch box and went down our driveway and right out in to the middle of the road (I guess to wait for a bus) and while cars stopped and lined up in both directions he proudly waited for his turn to go to school… until I sheepishly found him and brought him back home. I hope Gabriel takes his time making school plans, there are so many fun things to learn on the farm but Oliver is so excited about people it could become contagious. Love you, all four of you…

    1. It’ll be a while until he’s wandering into the road, and luckily we’re pretty far off the beaten path here. We’ll see how and when he ends up doing school, but for now he’s exploring plenty here.

  4. Wow! Our best wishes are with you for your transitions and exciting happenings. Good luck in all the educational opportunities ahead. Miss you here and have good memories of our visit to Italy. Thanks for the update.

  5. Here are five thousand educational mercies Evan and Fede. (Perhaps a little late!) Evan, it makes me so glad to hear you are teaching. I look forward to hearing your classroom stories.Hugs. Jana

    1. Thank you! Indeed the first semester wrapped up at the beginning of the month but best post class story is receiving a message today from a student telling me they purchased their first Fair Trade product ever after we introduced the concept in class as a part of our subject of Environmental Business Ethics

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