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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.