Remarkably unremarkable life in Sicily

Thursday 7:00am red sunlight reflects off the boat windows as I walk down the pier, still soft from a half risen sun.  I return to Dizzie from my morning run to find two kids fighting to sit in front of the tiny electric heater.  Urgh the chaotic morning school run.  I slap two bowls of cornflakes down on the table and threaten to turn the heater off.  Ensue the madness of eating, lunch making, teeth cleaning, bag packing, dressing, and getting off the boat.  Out in the cockpit I promise them apple once their shoes are on.  Off the gangplank I hear them gallop, apple in hand, while I race to put my own shoes on.  They jump on their bikes and ride the 200m to the end of the pier, me in hot pursuit.  As I strap kids into the car, I hear the 8am bells ring, we should arrive at school in Santa Croce Camarina for the 8:15am start.

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My personal sunrise

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Off to scuola

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Bike parking

We walk to school from the car park and smiling at the same parents we have all winter.  ‘Buongiorno’ or ‘Ciao’ and a smile.  Kynan is completing his first year of school in ‘solo italiano’.  It’s not easy but he goes each day with a smile: all credit to him, his very patient teachers and friendly classmates.  For Leora, it is a different story.  She is in her second year of the ‘asilo’ (preschool).  She has the same classroom, teachers and classmates as last year.  She has her lunch at school, typically pasta, and she is happy happy.

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Kynan on a school excursion to the fattoria (farm)

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Leora with her lovely teachers on her last day at school.

With the kids dropped off, I race down to the weekly markets and buy as much fresh produce as I can carry back to the car.  The quality, variety and price of fruit and vege’s in Sicily makes me infinitesimally happy.  Fungi, mele, arancia, patate, finocchio, carcioffi, fragole, pomodoro, limone, carote, ricotta fresca ….   While I lug my loot back to the boat, I realise most people in the marina are just waking up to listen to the morning ‘net’.  My day has been non stop for 3 hours already.  I have 4 hours to get some boat jobs done before school pick up and an afternoon of looking after kids and doing homework.  My to do list is long.

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Pa doing compiti (homework) with Kynan, thanks Pa!

Life is surprisingly normal right now, we have an address to receive Amazon deliveries,  a car, a regular week / weekend cycle and a community.  I love the sociality, stability and convenience of this life, but it’s not what we were seeking when we left.  So I naively look forward to starting boat school in the summer, spending more time with my kids and rushing LESS.

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Random winter highlights – a trip to Roma

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More Rome

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More highlights – seeing friends from last winter on a cold Scottish winters day

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More highlights – Ozzy style BBQ’s in the campground with Ozzy friends met in Malaysia – Tricky, Jane and Milly

Justin has achieved a lot again this winter, he’s renovated our kitchen and bathrooms, fixed major steering problems, replaced chain, re-repaired the water heater and scored a bargain priced (and possibly working) watermaker; while I have made a new cover to keep rain / sun / waves out of the cockpit.  Again this winter, the kids (and parents) had a great crew to hang out with and developed lifelong friends.

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Removing steering cables from the boat

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Making a pattern for a new sprayhood

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MdR boatkids winter 2018-9

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Rope throwing competition

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Not to be outdone in the rope throw

As much as I’m willing the school mayhem to end, I know I will be sad when it does.  But tomorrow is Friday, pizza night, then a couple of days of chilling out over the weekend, love weekends!  It’s been a wonderful winter experience once again, but it has also confirmed that pursuing an alternative lifestyle seems right for us.

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Enjoying Friday night Pizza with our visitors: Bruce (Pa), cousin Luka, Uncle Paul and Aunty Kate

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A final evening on the Rocky Beach

4 comments

  1. Hi mate
    Wonderful stories and beautifully written, as always!!!
    Seems like getting ready for school has the same feel about it, even if you’re half a world and a very different life away! Our two are growing up so quickly – year 4 now – and Josh is about two inches away from being taller than Lana. He and I wear the same size thongs. Mitchell’s not far behind, but Josh never lets him forget that he is bigger 😊
    It sounds like you guys are really happy doing things your way – which is exactly as it should be. Congratulations on following your dreams and giving you and your family a chance to grow up differently. So many things you are all experiencing!! It will certainly give Kynan and Leora a great perspective on life.
    Not much news to report here, we’re just starting to get a taste of winter after what’s felt like an endless round of 30+ degree days. We’re putting in a pool, as you’ve probably seen on FB – it’s so close to being finished, don’t want to jinx anything but hopefully 2 weeks before we can fill it up. Just in time for the chill to hit!!! At least it will be ready for this summer. That’s been taking up most of our weekends for the last few months.
    We say goodbye to our little boat Gotcha in the next few weeks, she’s going to our pool builder – managed to get out on it last weekend for a last run up the river. Will be the end of an era, but we have loads of great memories, and it’s a good time to move on before she costs us a lot of money to keep maintained.
    The boys are playing soccer again this year. They’re in the same team as last year – a lovely bunch of kids and parents who are more interested in having a good time than winning, which is just how we like it. Not sure if they’ll want to continue again next year. Bas will be happy if they don’t, and even more happy if they want to try AFL. We’ll see how that pans out!
    Hope you are all well and look forward to the next instalment of your news.
    All our love for now
    TAN

    Tania Goossen, MHuServ (Rehab), BA (Psych)
    Senior Vocational Rehabilitation Counsellor
    Spinal Life Australia
    Supporting people with spinal cord damage to live accessible, equitable and empowered lives.

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    1. Tan, lovely to hear from you. I can’t believe how big your boys are getting, it doesn’t seem that long since you told me you were expecting twins. Sincerely regret that our kids aren’t growing up frollicking in Moreton Bay together. Miss you all but glad that life is bringing you fun adventures along the way, much love from us xx

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  2. Thank you so much for the update and especially the photos, they portray a very happy contented family.Enjoy your summer and we’ll look forward to the next installment, Happy travels, love from Wilma & Eric.xx

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