Conner had his last day of school on June 8. I am so proud of him I could spit. Italian school! Who would've thought?
He startedschool in the little village of Marsure as a third grader who didn't speak a lick of Italian. He just finished fifth grade and received his best report card yet: all A's except for a B in Italian! And I mean, really, how many American kids are happy to get a B in English?
His school in Marsure is so small that they only have one class for each grade. In such a small setting you obviously end up with the same classmates each year; but not only that, in the Italian system the teachers follow you, too. Conner's two teachers had these students for their entire elementary career: first through fifth grade. The first picture is a look at most of Conner's class with their two teachers, Maestre Paula e Laura, on the last day of third grade (Conner's first year here). The second class photo shows Conner with all his classmates the night before their last day of fifth grade when we all went out to dinner together. There is one other American in the class, too -- can you pick out the blondies?! (Oh, and see if you can play the "Where's Waldo" and find Olivia in that last photo, too.)(The girls were all over Olivia, and she was only too happy to oblige. They didn't have the same luck with Sean-Peter, though.)
Conner's American classmate Martha Rose and her family moved to Italy the same time (on the same day, in the same plane!) that we did. I no doubt would have been even more lost if it hadn't been for my dear friend Ruth filling me in on what was going on; by nature of having the daughter who came home from school and actually talking about her day, she made sure I was privy to the permission slips; to activities that were going on; etc... Since Conner's mom didn't exactly conquer Italian during her time here, I don't know what I would've done without someone else to compare notes with.
Of course, the first year here, when Conner and Martha Rose were still learning the language, I'm sure Ruth and I both missed lots of things we should've been doing something about. But since we never knew about them, it's all good.
The last photo is Conner and Martha Rose last September on the first day of fifth grade. And, on the left, Conner leaving our front gate to go catch his final (Italian) school bus. Oh, the nostalgia. Sniff.
John and Conner went to Florence over Memorial Weekend with the Boy Scouts on their annual cemetery clean-up trip. It was a great experience for them with the beautiful Tuscan countryside as the backdrop. Too bad it dumped on them five minutes into the official ceremony. But that only made it more impressive to witness the veterans standing at attention, unflinching even during the downpour. (Unfortunately, John wasn't able to get a picture of them, for obvious reasons. It was pouring.)
The poppies actually came out early this year and we barely got out there in time, even though it was only mid-May. The last two Springs we've lived in Italy I have witnessed the poppies blossoming and have thought, "I have got to get the kids out in them fields and take some pictures." And this year I finally accomplished it. Needless to say, Olivia was in heaven. Monet, eat your heart out.