Friday, January 27, 2012

Lo sciopero and school

I've written about the importance of the word sciopero in the Italian language before, and now it has another reason to make an appearance in my life.  In the United States, we miss school in the winter months due to snow, brutal cold, and other equally horrible things I'm happy to not have to deal with.
In Italy, we miss school because of the all-powerful sciopero.  There is a strike of what seems to be everything today, and for the past few days.  Trains, buses, and trucks are not running or working fully today.  In cities, where they are more dependent on public transport, it's much worse.  I couldn't imagine New York with all subways, buses, ferries and cabs simply not running.  It's an nightmare for anyone who needs to be somewhere, even someplace as normal as school.  This means that, even with our car, we can't actually go anywhere because the nearest gas station, in Levanto, is out of gas as the trucks aren't coming to deliver more.  We rushed to Ricco, about 45 minutes away, after learning about the strike to fill up our tank, unsure if there was still gas there.  The irony of driving 45 minutes to get gas- only to face the possibility that there wasn't, in fact, any gas there, then drive home, now with an empty tank- was not lost on me.  We were actually able to get gas, but, regardless, not enough to go to school.  So, in a nutshell, I have a "sciopero" day from school, and the school kids in the region really have it made.  There was a small earthquake by Milan (4.9), and many nervous schools even here cancelled class Wednesday.  Considering the nightmare weather events Liguria has been subject to recently, they aren't taking any chances.

Fine by me, though I do enjoy Chiavari and my lessons there.  Even the frequently-late-and-now-not-running train is fine by me, as the views more then make up for it.  Chiavari, like the rest of the region, has been having an unseasonably warm and sunny January.  Like Monterosso, the mild weather (in the sun, high 50's F) has meant people are walking the promenade, arm in arm, laughing in sweaters on the beach, and eating happily outside in the sun.  From the pictures, it seems like summer.  It's wonderful, though disconcerting.  The feeling in the air is that of a New York March.  That period when the snow has melted and there is a taste of spring in the air, accompanied by warm sun melting away the winter frost.  The fact that it's still January confuses me, though I'm not complaing.  Sciopero or not, I'll take a sunny January day and lunch outside.  And even though I'm 28, having a day off from school still has that same joyful feeling.

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