Thursday, March 29, 2007

spring broke, solitafo, spring break

Spring broke about three weeks ago in a burst of light, fragrance and colors, and all jaded nonsense disintegrated into deep breaths and second looks amid the chaos of this place. Horst's garden that surrounds this lovely cottage began to merge into the most gorgeous shades of green, and me the lucky girl with it just outside my window! Hermann Hesse wrote about spring in Montagnola in numerous books, and I can see why he was so enamored with this place. The tulip trees (above) are my favorite, in this stunning shade of magenta, and some of them in the area are still clinging to their precious buds.

Luckily I had some visitors to show the place off - Matt's sister Jeni came for a few days, then Matt came up for St. Paddy's weekend (more rugby, this time in Mennagio), then my cousin came (bearing iPods, bless her) for nearly a week. I am trying to take full advantage of this place, its amazing location, and the ease of daytrips to Como and Milan. It will all be over far too quickly.

(I'm teaching my kids transitions so theoretically this should seguay into my next topic, SoLiTaFo...)

Spearheaded by the Scariest Man at Tasis (according to the kids), Kaba, SoLiTaFo is a group of about half our faculty members whose sole ambition during the duration of the school year is the following (taken from the SoLiTaFo Creed):

"WHEREAS pesky students and prying parents have heretofore stifled social freedoms, and WHEREAS many good people will be departing on their own private boats in a mere 9 school weeks, and WHEREAS good times with good company has been limited, and BE IT that all 39 of us subscribe to said newfound social urgency, WE HEREBY PROCLAIM the impending arrival of the Social Life Task Force (henceforth iL SoLiTaFo) for the betterment of the under-served and over-worked small cogs and big wheels of the TASIS machinery."

We've planned a Teacher Appreciation Day for April 20, which will include a "No Dress Code Day" sticker the kids can buy for 5 francs. We will all be strictly enforcing dress code on the day, however, and will charge kids 10 francs on the spot. This will go toward SoLiTaFo events, like a bus to drive us around Italian wineries and BBQ necessities. Echoing our college frat party days, t-shirts have been made and will be worn with pride. With many of us leaving next year, this is a great way to help us get through the last stretch.

Which begins after 16 blissful days of no classes, kids, or Tasis-esque madness. I will be galavanting off to Prague with my girlfriend Andrea, then will fly up to Glasgow for the remainder of the time. Prague will be a shock. I lived there in 2001-2, and went back briefly in 2003 for a long weekend, but haven't been back since. Some colleagues have been this year and frequently mentioned the commercialism of the city, the Chloe and Chanel boutiques (gasp! And we were stuck with M&S!), the numerous (!!) BoBags, and the overload of Pinnochios and puppets. I hope the hole-in-the-wall places I used to haunt are still where I remember them. That place changed me in ways I'll probably never fully understand, and it will always be so special as the first place I lived outside my own country. The fun will be interrupted by pangs of nostalgia, I'm sure, especially since our hotel is just a few streets from where I used to live and across from one of the favorite cafes. Sigh.

RIP 2006-7 Jayhawks. At least we made it to the round of 8. And UNC is out, too.

Below, the view from Kaba's garden of the sunset over the Alps.

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