Thursday, July 26, 2007

Cuckoo in Moncucco

Despite being only 30 minutes from the bustling center of Milan, life in Moncucco is slow and a tad bizarre, but in the most charming way. Take, for example, my sleeping accommodations; a classroom in the town's Scuola Media, outfitted with two twin beds, two chairs, some cafeteria tables and a big chalkboard with "Home Sweet Home" written on it. I share it with sweet-as-can-be tutor, Carly, who I also worked with in Cuneo.

Living in a school is not as bad as it sounds. For example, I walk down the stairs of the Scuola Media and I'm at camp - a far cry from the hour-long commute in Milan! We have full reign of the school after hours and a few days ago we discovered an Audio Visual room with a flat screen TV, so we borrowed Chocolat from one of the Italian camp counselers and had a movie night! There's also a computer lab with internet access and a lovely pool with lounge chairs.

Our daily routine is just that, very routine. We eat our meals at a La Ca' di Ran, one of only three restaurants in Moncucco. The name is short for la Casa delle Rane (house of frogs). It's owners are delightful and prepare typical dishes for us each night ranging from mushroom risotto to stuffed peppers to breaded pork chops remiscent of my mother's!

Unlike other ACLE camps this is an Italian camp where Carly and I are only required to teach for 2-3 hours per day. We've been practicing our Italian frequently with the other 6 local counselors and mothers who come to the pool every evening.

In Moncucco the preferred mode of transport is bicycle. The 88-year-old grandfather of one of the Italian counselors arrived at La Ca' di Ran this morning for a coffee. His bike was parked outside. But, by far, the most active inhabitants of Moncucco are the mosquitoes who nearly mutiliated us during our first night's sleep. But by our fifth and final night here our classroom is smelling like a Citronella factory, we're doused in Deet and all is ok.

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