Wednesday, the middle of the week, used to be my least favorite day for reasons I will get to. It is now my favorite because it is mine, all mine! Okay, no day is really all mine because I have a family and I love them dearly. I still get them up and out of the house in the morning and will have a tasty dinner waiting at the end of the day. Today is a bonus day since Filippo, who would normally come home at 2:00 has an after school program and won’t be home until 5:00! In between… today is heaven for gift of uninterrupted time, and coffee!
My kids go to school six days a week which is the standard here in Italy. It is only within the last few years that some schools have started switching to a Monday-Friday program. Filippo, my high school student, has class Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday until 1:00 and Thursday and Saturday until noon. Emanuele, in elementary school, is at school Monday-Saturday from 8:30-12:30 and on Wednesday afternoon from 2:30-5:15. When Filippo was in elementary school, he went both Monday and Wednesday afternoons, but due to budget cuts, school hours have been reduced. Until Filippo was in fifth grade, both Monday and Wednesday were my most dreaded days of the week. There was no school lunch program so it was back and forth all day long.and it was impossible to focus and finish anything. You are whining you say? Yes, but no longer! I still have my kids home for lunch most days of the week and I always make them a proper meal, but not today.
In America kids eat lunch at school whether it’s a brown bag from home or a school lunch. Most schools in Italy don’t have the facilities to provide lunch to students. Just a few short years ago our school finally organized a lunch program at the Scuola Materna (nursery school) just down the block, for the elementary students. This is a major help for parents who work during the day and can’t run back and forth at lunch hour. I have the luxury of being at home when I am not away for work but I am gone nearly four months a year and my husband does not have this luxury when I am away. Lunch time can still be a problem for students/parents on the Monday-Saturday schedule, aka the majority, so what do they do? Italy is known as the Paese dei Nonni, (country of grandparents). It is often assumed that grandparents will help enormously with child care which often includes lunch and afternoon babysitting. This a wonderful thing when you have grandparents that can and want to help but not always possible. Both of Mauro’s parents have passed away. Babysitters are great, but they are also expensive. Consider that the average take home salary in Italy is 1200 euro/month. Even if you are only paying your babysitter 8 euros an hour, 4-5 hours every afternoon is a big expense. It is hard to get current numbers on employment but roughly 50% of Italian women stay home after having children or work part-time and often under the table. There are actually lots of variables here, level of education, age, and where they live, higher employment in the north, lower in the south, etc…
So I went off on a tangent there as a result of having all this time to myself! What else am I doing on this day that is mine?
After taking Emanuele to school I took a walk. The sun is finally shining and I need to stay in decent shape for my tour season which is starting next week! Laundry, there is always way too much washing and I have been saving the sheets for a sunny day.
I don’t have a dryer and hanging sheets takes up a lot of space on the clothesline not to mention the fact that most clothing off the line need to be ironed. I have friends that scoff at the ironing and I admit to a love of natural fibers, cotton and linen that wrinkle easily. Being well pressed is part of the Bella Figura, or how we present ourselves to the world and I play along. I always joke with my husband that as long as I am still ironing his clothes he knows I love him. It is not my favorite pastime and I iron almost everyday to keep it manageable.
Tour preparation…I leave for a Rome city tour on Saturday and I’ve been idle since November so in addition to confirming tour activities, I will go over my notes so I can give my tour talks without sounding like a complete idiot. Writing…I have probably spent enough time here at the keyboard putting all this down and should wrap it up now. I think it’s time for a little yard work since it is so beautiful outside. Thank you for sharing my Wednesday…Buon Mercoledì!