Sunday, March 13, 2016


Where you come from matters.

A friend of Camille's sent her a message saying "why don't you come back to the USA, the land of the free and the home of the brave?"  now- he was just kidding but.... I agree.  America is AWESOME and I don't want to live anywhere else.  America made me and my children who we are.

Provenance is... from the French word provenir  which comes from Latin prōvenīre to originate and from venīre to come.

So the underlying idea here is that your education, experiences, friendships, and connections will shape the person you are to become.  And as long as you are engaged in the world around you, wherever you are, that never stops.

We are traveling to widen that perspective, broaden that horizon and expand the world that our

children think of as "theirs".  It is not better here- just different.  In the past month, my children have learned passable french, made French, Italian, German, Hungarian and Finnish friends, navigated train systems, learned to use public transportation, and sailed in two new bodies of water.  All of that in addition to staying on track in virtual school and being exposed to more art and architecture than would be possible in Fairhope.  This isn't because I want them to leave Alabama, it is because I want them to bring these experiences home with them.  If it makes them more interested in world politics, art, or helps provide a framework for future history classes, then all the better. Last week over dinner in the sailing hostel, their German friends were commenting on the hunger strikes- Pete quickly realized that they are living the refugee crisis in Germany and asked their opinion.

On their days off, Camille, Pete and I have had conversations about the history we are surrounded with as well as how that history plays into our opinions and national ideals.  For the last two weeks, we have been in Northern Italy at Lake Garda.  The lake has a written history back to 800AD when the Romans built on the southern end of the lake near a hot spring.  This region, while all along building a culture of vineyards, lemon orchards, olive groves and life on the lake, has been governed by Romans, Venetians, Veronese, Napoleon, and even the Austro-Hungarian empire up until after World War 1.  These people are rich in their heritage and their small village museums and local cuisine reflect their civic pride.  Using the word broadly, the provenance of this region makes these people and this area what it has become.

Camille and Pete have also learned to APPRECIATE things about themselves that they never thought were a part of our culture.  Apparently, Pete is quite the storyteller at the hostel.  He regales them at dinner with stories of our Gulf Coast
friends, regatta stories, even descriptions of the extreme heat.  They love the stories but do not really have stories of their own.  Camille said, "As southerners, I guess part of who we are is our verbal storytelling- we never realized everyone wasn't like that."

Virtual school has also afforded us TIME.  We are all reading in our free time and during our time together, we have the time to share.  Over a hike the other day our discussions ranged from the stations of the cross(we were hiking up to a church) to what these mountains would have been like during WWII to a protein discovered in a family in a nearby village that prevents them from heart disease.  There is time to learn and discover-making our experiences each day what we are interested in - not just checking off the list of classes, practices, and homework assignments.

So this virtual school experience combined with this amazing opportunity to travel will be a part of what makes my children what they will become.  We are still closely following the presidential election, we keep in touch with friends, and everyone we meet here knows that part of who we are is southern, American, friendly, mannerly, and INTERESTED in who they are and where we are. And this experience, combined with all the others will become part of our family's provenance.

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