“There are two ways to live your life; one as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”
I am the last person to believe in signs, fate, or destiny. However, this year has turned the biggest cynic (me) into a huge sappy believer. Lately I’ve been put in situations that insured me to meet people who have changed the course of my life. It seems as if the miracles just keep piling up.
When visiting Italy in March, I found myself yearning to make a community for myself, because in a few short months it would become my home. I started searching on-line for running groups, yoga classes, book clubs and so on. After some quick navigating I landed on a website for the International Women’s Club of Torino. The club was having a New Members Coffee the following Tuesday, so I contacted the president, and made plans to attend.
The brunch took place at the beautiful Esperia Rowing Club on the Po River. Women from all over the world came together for friendship, philanthropy, and making connections. The morning was full of meeting amazing women doing amazing things. Being the newcomer, everyone was very curious about me; why I was moving, what my plan was, and so on. As it turns out, falling in love with an Italian is a pretty common reason! When they discovered I was a teacher, the tips started rolling in. I went home surprised at the response; my purse filled with napkins, scraps of paper, and post-its from schools, teachers, and principals. I enthusiastically emailed throughout the afternoon.
I set up an interview for the following day, mapped out my course, and got a good nights sleep. Though now in the United States, as a Multiple Subject Credentialed Teacher I am a dime a dozen (or a thousand); in Italy, I am a fairly unique candidate. I’ve been through the routine so many times when searching for teaching jobs, I can’t say I was very hopeful. The journey to the interview could have been an entire story on it’s own (as you know) but let’s just say I made it without (major) issue. After over an hours walk, I straightened my outfit, and pushed the door into my future..
Now for the big ‘aha’ moment to occur, I must give you some background information. When Luca and I met, it seemed as if we were on a perpetual vacation. We were both semi-new to San Diego, so we did lot of exploring there. We also went home to my family in Southern California, as well as on the East Coast. During our many mini-vacations and weekend trips, we ended up strolling along unknown downtowns. For some reason, we often ended up in toy stores. Luca, being my “Little Italian Rocket Scientist,” was always drawn to the toy helicopters. Whenever I ask him what I should get him- for his birthday, for Christmas, after traveling; he always responds, matter-a-factly, “a helicopter!” as I groan at the ridiculous request. Hold on to this random tidbit : )
Back to the interview: I was ushered to a chair in the lobby, in which I sat and waited for approximately 20 minutes. Children, teachers, and parents rushed by me, cheerful and energetic speaking in French, Italian, and English. Usually, I would be nervous in such situations. But to me, the predicament was so unfathomable that I found it humorous. A well dressed young professional clipped out in black heals, and escorted me into her office. I felt as if I was on an interview for a high fashion position, rather than an English Maestra. The intensity of the interview surprised me. I quickly realized that this was a real opportunity, and a real GOOD opportunity at that. Being a private French/English International School, it is an educator’s dream.
After our conversation, the headmaster asked me if I had time to shadow a teacher. I had just walked over 3 miles in my interview outfit, and it had been at least an hour since I had arrived. I was starving, sweaty, and exhausted. Sure, I would stay. The afternoon was heartwarming, and reminded me why I had chosen Elementary education as a life’s purpose. The children were brilliant, enthusiastic, kind and open. Teachers glowed in the same light, and it was if I had found a sort of teaching utopia.
During recess, I noticed a little boy sitting alone on a bench next to the playground. I asked a yard aid what his story was. Apparently, as child of a Polish mother and a British father, he was often isolated from the other kids being one of the only kinders who spoke primarily English. I nestled down next to him as he pulled picture book after picture book out of his backpack; we read through the break. Later, as I was packing up, he gestured me over. The classroom is eerily quiet, as it is the ‘English Room’, and most kids aren’t at the production stage yet. He was having trouble with his zipper in his sweater, and needed my assistance. As I gently pulled the zipper down, he beamed and pointed to his t-shirt; on it was one colorful helicopter. I was offered a contract 7 days later.