Well the boys have been put on a plane and sent back to the states and I have returned to the town of Vescovado. Today is my day of catch up and clean up (both literally and electronically) . I figure since I started the blog posting for the season I may as well end it. You all have been reading posts written by the boys (just in case you haven’t figured that out yet) and while they were good at letting you know what happened, I feel that they lacked a little oomph in letting you know how they felt about what happened (then again most electronic means of communication tend to lack the subtleness of the human voice). And I am not saying I will do any better but I will give it a go.
This program was a huge success. With every museum, or site, or event we did the boys were constantly in awe of their surroundings. They learned to appreciate the pace of Italian dinners and how to fill the time we both silly and thoughtful conversations about life, school, and video games. They were thrilled when we got to visit the hill and finally got to work (they actually kept saying they wanted to do one more pick pass and were really bummed when I called work for the day on Tuesday). They all were really open to trying new things and foods that they normally don’t have from liver bruschetta to prosciutto e melone. Finally they were all blown away by the beauty and simplicity of the rooms of St. Ignatius and the Church of the Gesu. Finally all the questions the boys asked of me showed genuine curiosity about what we were looking at and an appreciation for being present in the moment (which is not always easy to get boys to do and that for me was amazing). These are just some of the highlights of emotions and events they had in Italy. The entire trip was a constant barrage of new experiences and emotions for them which I am sure they will be processing for a lifetime. And that is exactly what I wanted to happen.
So, now the question being asked of me is this: Would I do it again? The short answer is yes, in a heart beat.
I was really worried about the success of the whole trip and tried to plan as much as possible. Somethings went smashingly well, others got scraped, and others were tweaked. I couldn’t be happier with how the trip went and how few hitches there were in the program. But just because a program is well planned doesn’t mean it should happen again. So what would I do it again? Well the boys would like to believe it was them that made the trip and they constantly reminded me of this. While that is partly true I did get to pick them so I will always be able to make sure the group of students is a good one.
I think what made the trip so successful for me was the simple act of being able to share something I have loved for 8 years with them. It is hard to describe the emotions that I felt when I drove into town the first time with them, or when walked them up to the site, or when I took them into the Gesu. It was a mixture of excitement, joy, pride, and just plain old happiness. With every place I took them, with each question they asked I got this brief but amazingly strong indescribable feeling of what could be simply just called happiness.
For all the stress, for all the planning, for all the worrying, for all of the work that went into it, I would do this trip again just to be able to enjoy that brief moment happiness connected with sharing with the students the experience of excavating in a small rural Tuscan town.
Well that is all for now with this blog, I promised the boys continued updates about their trench on my own blog: https://handyatmurlo.wordpress.com/ . Feel free to also continue following the Poggio Civitate Archaeological Projects 2014 season there.
Arrivederci all’anno prossimo.