Saturday, December 17, 2005

Italy (July & August, 2004)

I am missing the fresh fruit and aji of South America, and scuba diving with the sea lions was an amazing way to end the trip, but I've been so incredibly busy since leaving Ecuador 2 months ago, that I've hardly had time to get ready for this current trip, much less be organized enough to get in touch with everyone the way I wanted to.

EIL Group, Rome, Italy Posted by Picasa

I've been in Italy for 3.5 weeks now serving as a group leader for 14 high school students in a program called the US Experiment in International Living ( The students kept me pretty busy during our visits to Rome, Lucca, Florence, and Pisa, but I'm finally able to relax a tiny bit now that they are living with families here in Treviso (just north of Venice). We'll be here for 1.5 more weeks before we take off for Verona and end our trip in Venice.

Il Foro Romano, Roma, Italia Posted by Picasa

EIL Group entering Piazza dell'Anfiteatro, Lucca, Italy Posted by Picasa

Ponte Vecchio, Firenze, Italia Posted by Picasa

Treviso, Italy Posted by Picasa

Juliet's Balcony, Verona, Italy Posted by Picasa

I've decided to dedicate this year to travel. Since leaving AmeriCorps-NCCC (my job in DC) in December I spent the first 3.5 months of this year traveling through Bolivia, Peru and Ecuador serving as a Team Leader for 10 college aged travelers with a program called Youth International (

I road tripped between DC, SC and GA during the 1.5 months between the South America trip and this one. I will be traveling Italy for a couple of extra weeks after the students leave (August 3rd) basking in the tranquility of an Italy without the chaotic atmosphere that 14 adolescents are always able to conjure up.

Il Colosseo, Roma, Italia Posted by Picasa

Tamika, La Boca della Verita, Rome, Italy Posted by Picasa

That puts me back in the states on August 17th and gives me about 3 weeks before I take off for my third trip of the year serving as a group leader with LEAP Now to either Fiji, New Zealand and Australia; or Costa Rica, Guatemala and Honduras.

I'll be roaming about the east coast during those 3 weeks. And since I have to be in San Fran on the 11th for training I may head out there a few days early. I'll either do a second trip with LEAP Now at the conclusion of the first one in December or I'll work a ski resort for the winter months and head to Japan to teach English for a year or so around March of next year.

Alright, gotta run and check on the kids. This is my 4th time leading to Italy, but they are definitely keeping me on my toes.

Everything's cool though. All said and done, dealing with small problems (like drunkenness and their getting lost and calling their moms back home instead of me) is better than dealing with the stress I was under in DC a year ago. Throw in the facts that I love Italian wine, pasta, gelato, architecture, etc., and that I really do enjoy helping these kids see themselves as the vanguard in the struggles to overcome xenophobia and create a global community of friendship, peace and understanding, and it's a no-brainer: I'm where I want and need to be right now.

Trevi Fountain, Rome, Italy Posted by Picasa

Hoping all is well with you and that you are enjoying life.


PS- If you haven't seen Fahrenheit 9/11 yet you should do so immediately! Take a box of tissues, the exposed corruption and graphic images were very disturbing.

POST TRIP ADDENDUM: There was a point at which I was really worried about my students and wondered whether I was still cut out for this type of work. But they turned it around and impressed me greatly with their responsibility and teamwork, as well as the respect and sensitivity with which they approached everything from each other to Italians and their culture.


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