Yesterday marked my final day as an ACLE tutor; three summers, four years and countless camps later I signed off with a final rendition of the good ol’ Captain Jack. Across Italy I’ve met many fantastic tutors, directors, helpers, coaches, host families and people in general; definitely experiences I’ll never forget. I knew when I was in Japan I needed to return for a final summer here, but now it’s time to move on to new challenges.

My final class was actually one of the most demanding of the summer, with kids pointed out at the first meeting that were trouble. I was very happy how the week went, my classes engaging enough that even the trouble one’s weren’t too bad. I reflected that had I landed that group in my first summer teaching it probably would have been a bit of a disaster.

The class in my penultimate week were an absolute dream, so it all balances out! I’ve popped back to my previous host family from that week, for some final table tennis and to run in a local race. I disrupted the local hierarchy taking second place, with the guy I beat in third finding me quickly after to see if I was staying in the region and would run for Bologna. In the evening we drove out to Nona’s for some delicious seafood on the coast then into the village for the annual party.

Today I head to Chioggia, a mini Venice town, to relax for a bit and check out Venice with Georgie a tutor I did a full 8 weeks with (which must be an ACLE record, they don’t keep people together that long normally), before finally heading to Milan to check out Expo with Gaz’s sister as he has deserted Italy again due to having a real job or something.

So here’s to all the people, places and things that made my Italian time so special: The random 4am wanderings Rome, private yauchts along the Amalfi coast, beach houses by the sea, tutor weekends away, crystal clear waters, manic camps of ridiculous sizes, tiny little camps in parks, the dream team, working 17 hour days at summer camp, new camps, old camps, kids that make you laugh, kids that make you mad, cute little host siblings, older host siblings you can hang out with, beach volleyball sessions, hiding away up the the mountains, countryside/beach/park runs, balcony workout sessions, pizzas bigger than a child, Peroni vs Moreti, drinking wine with host families – a thumbs up our only possible communication, working for nuns and drinking cafe coretto with priests, final shows, final shows and more final shows.

Italy you’ve been wonderful.