After precisely 5 days in France, I was back in Italy. It was cold, grey and rainy as the train rushed its way across France but as soon as we crossed the border, the train slowed down and the sun came out. I spent only half an hour in sticky Milan before I was on my way out in to the bella part of Italia again, on my way to Verona.
For the past four years, I've worked every August at an English summer camp for kids in a small village in the Veneto. I started when I was a student, but despite the fact that I now have a real job, I keep going back because these two weeks in August are an experience of everything that is good about Italy. In the morning, we teach crazy Italian children useful phrases like “Bananas of the world, unite!” and in the afternoon, we have long naps, soak up the sunshine and stroll around Verona feeling smug about not being tourists.
The best part of the whole experience is that we stay with the family in their amazing 100 year old farmhouse where the water comes from a spring and the stairs going up to my bedroom are made of cool, bare stone. The house is so big that up until this year I didn't even know that the room that I'm sleeping in existed. We are ridiculously spoiled by the Nonna, a proper Italian grandmother, who cooks amazing food using fresh vegetables from the garden.
In fact, the children at the camp this year are calmer than they have ever been before and the past ten days have been ridiculously easy. Every so often they entertain us with questions such as “Why are your eyes that funny blue colour?”, “Are you Scottish or Moroccan?” (In this part of the world all foreigners are either Scottish camp tutors or travelling salesmen from Africa, apprently) and (my personal favourite) “What world are you from?” Obviously, we are partly there to widen the children's horizons, but at the same time, their innocence is nice. Where else would you find 13 year olds who don't know what Facebook is and are still happy to spend a week of their holidays singing the aforementioned banana song?