Saturday, September 28, 2013


Our Final Days… 

Well here we are, our final days - what can be said to express our feelings and and capture the sentimentality of this unique experience?  Our final days leave us with a bittersweet happiness and a sense of accomplishment. It was indeed a grand experience.

We have eaten, waltzed, talked, explored, shopped and danced through our time in Monopoli.

Some of us have made new friends with the teachers and students with whom we have worked. Others have made new friends with members of the team. Whether it’s eating la colazione, il pranzo or la cena or sharing la caraffa de vino rosso, we talk as though we’ve known each other a long time.

Our Host Teacher, Rita with Students

Team 181 with Principal & Teachers

Some of us have had our challenges – but, in the end, there were moments to remember:
·         Jeri & Phyllis lost; being escorted back to the hotel by middle school girls
·         Lisa’s ballroom dancing debut
·         Grace and Michael had a pizza party with students and teacher, Rosa
·         Jeri’s marathon walks with teachers, Gratzia and Antonia
·         The smile on Katia’s face as she practiced her new English
·         Jan’s daily encounter with her cadre of adult students
·         And, of course, our cultural exchange with the teachers and students
Our photo ops have captured the handsome faces of the people, the beauty of the  
land and the age the historical landmarks. Our stomachs have savored the food. 
Our hearts have fallen in love with Italy. 

!Arreiverderci La Bella Italia!   !Bon Viaggio a Tutti!


Thursday, September 26, 2013


Our breakfast today was enhanced by the addition of a shared bowl of boiled eggs, as well as, the usual fare – fresh baked torta, chocolate croissant, cereal and fruit. 
The team left for the school at 7:45 AM, as usual, and one volunteer prepared for  a tutorial with Carmen and Antonella. The theme today was consistent with one the school’s lessons – the Celts.  The topic was the Iron Age civilization, which populated most of Western Europe circa 600 BC; but interestingly, only reached the Dolomites in Italy. The reality and the myths were explored surrounding Boudicca, the warrior queen of the Iceni, who defeated the Roman legion in Londinium in a brutal and bloody battle, causing the Roman Emperor to withdraw his troops from ancient Britain altogether.

One surprise for the day was a visit from two male young students, both studying at the University of Bari. Jan spent an hour together with, before I joining the rest of the team for a delightful lunch.

 Some came back to earth with afternoon tutorials and class preparation before the close of the day. The day concluded with dinner at the hotel and our nightly team wrap-up. 



Tuesday, September 24, 2013


Breakfast as usual - the same food - with delightful company. Phyllis reviewed the activities for the day.  We then to the van with Phyllis, Lisa, Jeri, and Michael and were on our own merry way to school. Jan stayed back at the hotel to tutor Carmen and Marco for a three hours session, while Jeri went with Mariella for a grammar class.Then we changed the sentences with opposite meanings. Lisa worked on her bag of card tricks, while Michael answered the their questions about university costs.

From there three of us went to another class and presented ourselves with our short biographies. Michael told them that he taught calligraphy and demonstrated it on the blackboard.  He wrote
in calligraphy, the names of those who correctly  gave the exact population of NYC and the USA.  Phyllis worked on English Vocabulary by having them each give a word for each letter in the alphabet.
When the class ended, Phyllis, Jeri and Michael were driven to the Monopoli Tuesday  market.  They returned to the hotel to rest weary feet for an hour and then were off to lunch, with Phyllis leading Jeri, Jan and Michael in a death March to the Cafe Napoli for sandwiches and salads with two ice teas for Jeri.
Grace and Phyllis joined us ate and then went next door to tutor two ladies from the mayor’s office.  The rest of us walked back to our hotel to get ready for our tutoring sessions to cap off a full day.     

But, oh we still had a special meeting followed by our daily group session and finally dinner.  Rita was enough to drop by before we ate dinner with her son,Victorio for a chat.  After dinner, Lisa and Michael brushed up on the salsa, swing, merengue and cha cha.  We had a full day.