The scent of citronella bug spray, sunscreen, and dreams of frolicking through sandy beaches hit as hard as the 95 degree heat wave outside. Summer has come and the significantly increasing temperature and humidity aren’t the only things changing for the Avanti Italia program. The end of May to the middle of September marks a period of vacations, for both students and workers, and varying degrees of busyness.
Compared to the spring semester, the summer schedule is a little more sporadic. Some weeks students will be in town for lessons and other weeks (or months) they will be out of town on vacation or spending time with family. Others opt for an academic hiatus and will resume lessons in the fall semester. While there are fewer students in the summer, those newly freed time slots can easily be filled with other activities. Gelato with friends and students, giving and accepting invitations to dinner, summer parties at the Bible School, movie nights, and the less exciting, but necessary, activity of lesson planning are all different ways of filling that time.
Intentionality is key during the summer months. Whether that’s intentionally resting and taking time for self-care or setting aside time to complete personal projects, such as reorganizing personal bedrooms, e-mails, etc., or school projects. Various upkeep projects are usually required every summer. Some summers that entails plastering walls or deep cleaning the kitchen. All summers require the heroic effort of watering the plants in order to protect them from the assailing heat, even if that means battling small armies of mosquitoes and sacrificing a shoe or two to misguided hose sprays. In particular, this summer the outside of the school was waterproofed, a donated swing set was constructed, and a lot of cleaning and reorganizing was done inside of the school.
More specifically, a typical summer day begins around 8:30 a.m. or 9:00 a.m. The coffee machine is started, breakfast is consumed, and outside errands, if any, are completed before it resembles too much like the surface of the sun. Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings are spent helping the Bible School cook, Rosa, prepare meals which will be shared as a group these afternoons. After lunch and the quick clean up that is required, the afternoon is open for lessons, chores, projects, etc. Work related things, with the exception of the occasional evening lessons, are usually completed around 5 p.m. or 6 p.m. Afterwards individual dinner preparations are made and the rest of the evening is free to be filled as one wishes. Saturdays are always days off and Sundays are for church and usually more relaxed work chores or lesson prepping.
The month of August deserves its own special mention. During August there is an Italian period called Ferie where many businesses either close or have limited hours in order to take a break from work. People also disappear to the coasts, islands, and mountains for a month of vacation. Very few lessons are had this month, as 95% of the students are participating in this period of relaxation. This month is a great time to lesson plan, delve deeper into personal bible studies, or complete school projects that require more time and attention. The break from the crowded streets and shops is nice for a while, but as the end of August nears and people begin to fill the neighborhood once again, one can’t help but be excited to see familiar faces and students more regularly. As September approaches, the schedule will change once again with the start of the fall semester.