The end of an Era

The last week of volunteer work has quickly approached and even more quickly vanished. I don’t know how I managed to say goodbye without crying- but I believe it’s due my body turning off all emotions in order to function in everyday life (which is now… quickly… coming to an end in Italy).

I went to both elementary schools, where I used to teach English, to say goodbye. The reactions of the students upon my announcement of departure made my time there worth it (if I didn’t already feel that way before). From Pascoli, I received an incredible book on Siena and Italy written in Italian from the main teacher, and each and every student made me a card thanking me and wishing me merry Christmas as best they could… I had a pretty fun time deciphering some of the more complicated sentiments. Apparently this teacher gave me “the most incredible write-up that the staff in Siena have ever heard, and they were going to insert it into the IPSL blog.” Go me.

The Laboratorio was a little harder for me because a lot of the members didn’t understand that I was leaving for good… (for good for now). I had such a hard time saying goodbye to those friends who kept asking me if I would be back tomorrow morning like usual. While I made them a card with our picture to say goodbye, and I left my e-mail and phone number with a couple of people, I really don’t know how I am going to handle not seeing them anymore. Even the other volunteers- which consist of a bunch of little-old-ladies with a fancy for arts and crafts to do with Christmas shared in the upset of me leaving. It was so hard to walk away, and I really think I will miss this place the most out of all the places I have been in Italy.

The Mensa dei Poveri sent us off with another big meal. Plus some sweets and even a little bit of alcohol. Have you ever seen a nun take a shot of some after-meal traditional liquor? It is a sight to see, let me tell you that. We exchanged e-mails with her as well, and promised to send the photo of all of us together. She gave each one of us a bear filled with some interesting looking candies. It is going to be both strange and upsetting to begin volunteer work at the soup kitchen in my neighborhood. There will be no three course meals, for starters.

Here are some pictures of the Laboratorio and me with my elementary school class:

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