That would be me, Mrs. Moglie. Married to a native Italian, Mr. Marito.
Mother to a daughter in high school, Ms. SmartyPants and a son in middle school, Mr. Uometto.
Employed at a private British School as an English teacher and Coordinator of Children's Studies.
Part of a small, but growing Protestant church in Frascati, a small town in the hills just outside of Rome.

This is where I sometimes gripe, complain and grumble about the things I dislike, have yet to get used to or simply don't understand about bella Italia.
I do, however, have many people, places and things that I dearly love and I am more than aware of being blessed by each and every one of them.
Also - a few helpful posts for visitors to Rome or for newly arrived ex pats. Check the side bar for tags. I've even some recipes that I've borrowed, tweaked or invented. One thing I've come to love about Italy is how it's changed the way I eat - slow food !! Although ... I do miss Taco Bell ... and Jack in The Box ... and KFC ... and ::sigh::
Thanks for stopping by !!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Lamb Butts, Earmuffs and Dying Plants

This, my fellow expats, is something 
you just don't see every day. 

In case you think your eyes deceive you, I will describe the picture below. It is indeed a rear view of a lamb's carcass, hairy tail still intact and with a sprig of rosemary wedged into its backside. I believe the intent is to help one get into the festive holiday spirit. Yeah, not really doing it for me.

I love being a teacher. I love my students. I love going to work. Okay, I lie. I'm not always so lovey dovey. But generally, on average, these things are true ... usually.

One of the things I really enjoy about my job is all the lovely days that I don't have to work. Weekends, holidays, breaks and summer. As for holidays, it's a double jackpot because, not only do I get to stay home, laisy-daisy like, but I also get presents! 

I really love presents. I love giving them and I love receiving them. This year, I was able to get some really good discounts and freebies from my neighborhood vendors. I found earmuffs, bracelets, pens, stickers, etc. and tons of Christmas themed candy. 

Often the parents of my younger students will pool together to get me one big gift and as for the older students, I've been pleasantly surprised and impressed that they do the same thing amongst themselves. This year, the girls in one of my high school classes got me a super warm super long scarf! Since first teaching, I've received lots of nice things, from chocolates to Swarovski pendants and notebooks to designer hand bags.

the girls in my level 3 high school class show off their Christmas goody-bags
Now, I know that it's a common thing for foreign language teachers in many Asian countries to be showered with gifts on a regular basis, even without the excuse of a holiday, but here in Italy it's not a widely practiced custom. One of my sisters, having taught English in South Korea, was daily given some sort of something from her students who ranged from preschoolers to businessmen. If you're teaching in private language schools here in Italy, you can expect an occasional chocolate from one or two students; if you teach adults, they may arrange an evening at a pizzeria with the class and pay for your share; if you teach teenagers, neither the parents nor the students tend to give much thought to you; if you teach small children, you may receive a handmade card or Christmas ornament. But I would have to say that I've seen more teachers receive absolutely nothing than receive anything at all. 

Now, I don't mean to sound like a beggar. If you think I've become a teacher simply to glory in my Christmas haul, you would be terribly mistaken. But after the many hours of teaching, correcting, grading and otherwise spending loads and loads of off-work time thinking about your classes, lessons and students - it's a pretty nice feeling to be shown their appreciation for an occasion such as Christmas. 

This year I've received lovely drawings of Teddy as Santa, with Christmas trees and reindeer and all kinds of other Christmas themed drawings. Teddy is a puppet who helps me teach English to the kids in my level 1 class. He gives hugs and well deserved pats on the backs, he plays with us during Play time, he leads us in a game of "Teddy Says" at Game Time, he reminds the Noise Monitor to shake the tambourine when it gets too loud and he takes turns sitting at either the Dolphin Table or the Lion Table when it's Work Time. The kids love him to pieces! I also got various chocolates including one big chocolate heart attached to an angel ornament that came all the way from Vienna, Austria; a United Colors of Benetton purple make-up bag; a very large Poinsettia; a scarf; an art deco fruit holder; Merlot wine; a pastry shop Panettone and a few other yummy edibles. 

As far as the Poinsettia is concerned, I'll have to give it to Mr. MokSaNyeem's wife, Mrs. GreenThumb. All the plants that I receive are given to her if I have any desire to see them live past a week. I don't know why it is, but plants just don't like me. I used to make an attempt at keeping plants. I decided that any plant who survived two months in my care deserved to be honored with a name. I only got to name one plant. Of course, Lily is long gone by now and I have since resigned myself to the mocking and taunting I receive from my more plant-friendly family and friends. No matter. I will overcome this handicap one day. I will sit myself down and study gardening, if I have to. Just not now. 

The last lesson before any holiday in my classes mean no work and all play. We eat, we drink, we be are merry. A good time is had by all - well, for those who show up, anyway. Italians, from the rich to the just barely middle class, and perhaps even the struggling to make ends meet crowd, hold a special place in their hearts for going on holiday. In the summer, they take week long trips to a beach house they either own or rent and in the winter they take week long trips to the mountain house they either own or rent. They also go "camping" in the summer and have settimana bianca (white week) skiing in the winter. So many times, the last lesson means only half or fewer than half the students show up. I've adapted and give holiday homework 2 weeks in advance - muahahahaha! 

More photos after the jump

I make no apologies for my Korean-ness. I shall forever be teaching the people of Italy the joys of the Asian make-a-peace-sign-at-all-times-no-matter-the-circumstance-as-long-as-there-is-a-camera-pointed-at-you pose.

Thumbs up for 6th graders !!

With my brand new sciarpa (scarf). 

These 8th graders came up with 208 words from "Merry Christmas". 
They rock !!

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