Friday, May 11, 2007

One strike, and...the kids are home

Here's a photo of my daughter's school (the burnt-orange-colored building). When this photo was taken, students were inside--some walking the halls, some at their desks, some probably throwing the odd spitball or two. Teachers were teaching. And disciplining. And perhaps dodging spitballs.

But not today.

Today there's a scioppero. If you've lived in Italy, you're nodding your head right now saying, "Ah, another scioppero."

Scioppero means strike, and they are regular occurances here. Train workers go on strike. Nurses go on strike. Everyone and his brother goes on strike. And, of course, teachers go on strike.

Strikes are always announced ahead of time, both in the newpapers, on television and websites. So if you want to take the train to Rome on Monday, you check the Italian railway website Monday morning to make sure your train is still running. And if it's not? Well, then, you go to Rome on Tuesday. Pazienza (patience), as the Italians would say.

However, we did not realize that today was a teacher strike day until we got to school with the kids. Apparently, a notice had been posted in the school foyer, which we didn't see yesterday. This is perhaps due to the fact that the notice was tacked to a bulletin board along with 15,000 other notices for various summer programs.

But didn't we hear other parents talking about it? Before school? After school? In the bars? On the street? Italian children don't take school buses, so this means you must drop your kids off and pick them up every day--a chance to see and talk with other parents. So why didn't anyone tell us?

Frankly, because a strike just isn't big news here. It might be mentioned in casual conversation, as in: "I'll call you tomorrow and we'll go for coffee. Oh, wait, I can't go tomorrow--I'll be home with the kids--scioppero."

We weren't the only ones who missed the notice--5 other families showed up, read the notice, shrugged, and went in tow.

So now I have to cancel my writing plan for this morning...I'm sneaking in this blog post while my son naps and my daughters are having a snack. But at least I work from home. I feel for the parents who have to scramble to make other arrangements because they didn't see the strike coming. Actually, "other arrangements" = "take the kids to the grandparents' house" here in Italy, so I guess all's well that ends well.

What would Italy do if the mammas went on strike?

*edited to add:* One of my daughter's teachers lives nearby, and my daughter just came skipping through the door saying she'd been talking to her teacher who was working in her garden.

What? No picket lines? What kind of strike is this? The kind I'd like to go on, that's what kind.


patrizia said...

Grazie per la risata. ;-)

Italians live life at their own pace. It can be very frustrating for some and as much as I might shake my head sometimes, I have to admit that compared to Japan, I like that they don't take life seriously all the time.

Ciao! Ci vediamo!

Natalie said...

Prego, Patrizia!

I agree with you...the pace of life here makes up for (most) of the frustrations, doesn't it? :-)