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A Chance Encounter

12 Aug

Our time in Cortona was coming to an end.  The time had been spent wonderfully.  We took a day trips to Florence and Siena, which lived up to the expectations of the kids in more ways than one.  Travis and Lowell both purchased nice, leather jackets and treated us to a fashion show that evening at the hotel.

The cities were packed, but not overwhelmingly so.  It was a bit weird for me to be back in Florence, where I had spent more than a semester just over a year and a half ago (seems like just yesterday).  But some things never change.  I still saw the crazy woman I walked past, every time I headed to Ponte Vecchio.  When the kids had free time for shopping, I took a trek up the hill to Piazza Michelangelo, my favorite spot for thinking.

Then, I was super excited to take my kids to the little restaurant where I passed many a lunch hour during my time in Florence.  It was right on the street where Middlebury has it’s home in Florence (Via Degli Alfani).  But, I was bummed out because they had a special that day of a cheeseburger with french fries that the kids snapped up.  Nooooo!!!! American-style food.

Anyways, Florence was gorgeous, even if we didn’t get to spend enough time there.  One night as we’re back in Cortona, we happen upon this classical music concert.  It’s set in this beautiful church, right in the center of town.  The kids (much to my surprise) love it.  The music is very classical and traditional.  They wish we stay longer.  One of the girls, Kelly, notices a group of monks outside and tries to get them to chant.  It goes horribly badly.  They don’t chant and she’s horribly embarrassed.  Here begins our “chance encounters.”

Her embarrassing request out of the way, Kelly just wants to forget about it.  The next day we do this beautiful walk to a monastery in the Tuscan countryside.  Once we arrive, who do we meet?  The very same monks Kelly ran into before. She’s embarrassed, but they don’t chat.

As I begin to get over my laughing, something happens that startles me.  We get back to the hostel, now called the “brothel” by my kids, and I hear that a group of Americans is coming.  I’m thinking, “that’s cool the kids haven’t seen Americans for a while, maybe they can make friends.”

These Americans come in and take up the entire room that leads to my room.  It’s kind of awkward actually.  I talk to them though and discover they come from the private school that was right next to my high— The Landon School. The world is a small place.

And it gets even smaller.  Two days later.  The group is getting on the train to head down to our homestay in Cosenza.  We’re waiting.  Two minutes before the train pulls up a man arrives at the platform, running.  Who is he?  The same monk Kelly had spoken to before!

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