We’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.
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!