Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Digging away...

I'm really eager to get back to Monterosso. As I've said, I'm not sure still if I feel like I'm coming home or going home, but I think it's totally fine to have two places that you can feel the same warmth towards. The updates we're getting several times a day from Manuel's family (mothers are the same everywhere in the world) and our friends paint a different picture from a few weeks ago, in many ways. As you can see on the blog of Kate Little, another American living in Liguria, the streets have been pretty much demolished in the old town, specifically Via Roma, which has been the most photographed. However, the other streets (like Via 4 Novembre, which the B and B is on) are in the same situation. The asphalt and road that was covering the small canals underneath had to be hacked away so that the underground canals could be cleared of debris, and the above roads rebuilt safely. What remains are streets that are now fully of gaping holes stretching down to the area below, but, to mirror Kate's sentiments in her blog post, in a disaster situation, progress can wear many different and surprising masks.

What I'm happy about is that they're doing this now. Most things grind to a halt in Italy over Christmas and up to La Befana (January 6), so I'm glad everyone really did as much as they could until this period, when everyone can take a nice, well deserved break. At least a little one, especially considering the situation. The well deserved four month vacation most Monterossini take in the winter obviously isn't happening this year, and there is nothing more disheartening then working yourself to the bone with the end in sight, only to have the end turn into the beginning of a nightmare. I was reluctant to leave Monterosso for Thanksgiving, but the tickets couldn't be changed, and I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a little bit relieved to get away from it for a few weeks. I'd even have settled for a day or two.

Another great development is that Monterosso has also focused it's efforts on what needs to be done in order of importance. As the blog of the Comune lists, the majority of the work will be focused on helping rebuild the basic infrastructure of the town, such as Via Roma, Buranco, Molinelli, 4 Novembre, etc. It goes without saying that streets are imperative in the functioning of a town (unless you're Venice), but the other things we're missing or throwing together are just as important.

Schools are another big one that the Comune has listed as an important step in the rebuilding of the town. Monterosso is small, and compared to an American public school class size, laughably so. It doesn't mean that the kids here have any less of a right or the town any less of a responsibility to education, and they embrace this head-on. After an understandable week off, the children were moved to a makeshift school on Padre Semeria, but for children in the middle of a grown-ups worst nightmare, it's not an easy transition. The headaches ranged from the big (where can we have a school?) to the small (Manuel's nephew left, OF ALL THINGS, his english workbook in the flooded, muddy old school. I tried not to be offended).

Just keep peeking at the blogs around the internet, and as I've said, though we're off the front page of the paper, we're still working just as hard. When I see people around me, lamenting about what size Christmas tree to buy, or where to put the lights outside, I can't help but realize how truly thankful I am to still have a house, friends and a family - in two countries.

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