Today we did our usual day of rest following the insanely packed day at the Vatican. We walked through Tuscania, still with map in hand, to find some new stores and routes that we hadn’t yet explored. We then hit Lake Bolsena again for some serious downtime and relaxation. The nice thing about being here for an entire month is not having the pressure to do everything and see new things every day. Instead, being in Italy has begun to feel like a normal place to be, as if we had decided to rent a house upstate for the summer.
Of course what makes it extra special is that this house happens to be in a walled city steeped in history of ancient Etruscans, the Roman Empire through the construction of a modern Italy. There are little old ladies and men hanging out on their benches in the morning and in the afternoon. They go inside for riposo, I guess because the hanging out together on the chairs and benches qualifies as “work time” – from one to four you have to go inside and eat lunch to chill out. I love this group of old timers who watch everything and everyone coming up and down the steep cobblestone hills, making sure that you belong there and are not trespassing through.
There is just a completely different rhythm to life here, and it’s hard to adjust initially. But now it feels really nice to be removed from the mishigas that is New York life. Before we left the dynamic and successful principal of my daughters’ school resigned turning parents inside out with worry and anxiety. And it is a big deal, don’t get me wrong. I’m a huge believer that the best schools run from the top down. But, being away from the day-to-day dealings of the school politics and the different factions vying for a say and attention has been a huge relief.
Watching Italian parents at the playground, and the groups of teenagers who just hang out texting, playing cards, relaxing and enjoying their summers (not cramming in extra work, or taking advanced summer classes or test prepping) you have to feel like this is what you are supposed to be doing. Being social and enjoying other peoples’ company and the scene around you without the constant questioning and comparisons seems much more humane and normal than the insanity that swirls around New York City parenting. There are no parental helicopters around here.
Hopefully we can take some of this perspective; some of this whittled down energy and better focus on what’s important and what is a load of hyped up insanity; and bring it back into our lives in the city. That is the real challenge isn’t it? To not just go on vacation, but let the vacation show you the way to go.
This is an original beccarama.com post