Ten Days and Counting

…..retirement is close at hand

I don’t normally count down the days to the end of the school year but this year is different. I’m finally retiring from teaching after 35 years of service.

I know some teachers who when they know they are retiring start the  count down from the first day of school in September. This is not my style but as my last day approaches I’m starting to feel that my life is about to change. I’ve written three speeches for three different retirement parties that all took place in the space of one week. The first one was for my principal and good friend, M, the second one for my longtime friend, L and the third was for me.

All three parties were very different. The first one was a sit-down dinner in an Italian restaurant, the second in the nursing home where L’s dad lived and mine was also in an Italian restaurant but less formal with finger foods being served.  All were special in their own way and I loved them all.

M’s party was held at her favourite restaurant. The meal was excellent and the speeches were warm and personal. M’s family was there and both her youngest sister and her niece spoke. They were funny and touching at the same time. L and I gave our speech in the form of a report card, which the staff thoroughly enjoyed because it was a bit of a roast but in the end the message was more serious. When M spoke she talked about how and why she came to be a principal.

L really wanted her father to be able to attend her retirement party and for that reason she booked the ‘party’ room at the nursing home. There was a piano player who played the entire evening in very comfortable surroundings. There were couches and overstuffed chairs situated around the room where people could sit and talk and listen to the speeches. Friends manned the wine table and servers walked about the room with canapés. The highlight of the evening took place when L and her father sang together and at the end of the evening L sang a solo. Three former principals came to the party plus family, friends and colleagues from school. It was a very musical evening and the accolades about her teaching career, especially those about her choirs, were very fitting for a much loved music teacher.

My party was the last one, held on Wednesday of this week. It took place in a restaurant literally up the street from where I live. My husband and I had eaten there on a couple of occasions and thoroughly enjoyed the food. My family, including little Winnie, friends from years past who were now at other schools, retired friends, neighbourhood friends, life long friends and colleagues from school attended. I was especially honoured when my very first principal from 1976-79 arrived with his wife. I wanted the party to be casual and fun. The finger food was amazing, the aperol spritzes refreshing and the cake and desserts delicious. My friend P, was the MC for the evening and he kept everyone laughing. Three of my friends used the Wizard of Oz as their theme for the speech they gave about my time with them at the school where we all met and worked at for eight to ten years. There were so many wonderful speeches that it would take too long to talk about each and everyone of them. I had the best time and will never forget the thought and care people put into planning my special day.

 

Accommodations in Florence and Rome

…..in both Italian cities we used Airbnb and VRBO

Venice was the only place where we stayed in a hotel. Travelling with a baby required special needs and many homes listed on Airbnb and VRBO met the criteria for our daughter, her 9 month old daughter and for us, the grandparents.

In Florence we stayed in a lovely apartment above a garage. It was a gated property and there were no neighbours above, below or next to us. There were two bedrooms, a small living room and kitchen, a bath with a shower and an outdoor terrace. The place was air-conditioned and had all the amenities that we needed, including Wifi, a washing machine, a crib and a television.

The location was ideal as well. We were just outside the ring that surrounds the city centre which is closed off to traffic. It was about a twenty minute walk to the leather market and the farmer’s market and just beyond that were all the museums, churches and tourist attractions that Florence is famous for. We were also within walking distance to a small grocery store, numerous caffes and restaurants and a couple of parks.

More about our accommodations in Rome in a future post.

Ciao!

Share Your World 2016 – Week 7

….thanks Cee for hosting Share Your World

What are you a “natural” at doing?

I think I’m a natural at teaching art to young children and reading stories to them.

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Would you prefer a one floor house or multiple levels?

I like multiple levels in a house. I find climbing stairs helps keep me fit. Maybe as I get older I’ll prefer a one floor house.

What was your favorite subject in school?

In school my favourite subject was Family studies. I’ve always loved practical hands on classes.

Complete this sentence: If only the rain..

….would happen only at night.

What are you grateful for from last week and what do you look forward to this week?

I’m grateful for my daughter’s wonderful wedding a week ago today. It was a beautiful and simple ceremony at City Hall. Afterwards we walked to a very nice bar down the street and toasted the girls with Prosecco. Dinner wasn’t until 6:00 so we stayed at Drake 150 for about an hour and then we headed to Terroni’s for the reception. The guest list was very intimate with only 26 family members and very close friends in attendance. The food was fabulous and a wonderful time was had by all.

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On Saturday I paid a visit to my friend Maria and brought her some goodies for her birthday, Valentine’s Day and Family Day. On Sunday my husband treated me to a very nice lunch at Snug Harbour in Port Credit to celebrate Valentine’s Day. The meal was fantastic.

This week I’m looking forward to pyjama day at school, the dance for the kids on Friday and hopefully seeing my granddaughter on the weekend.