Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The (messy) end of a recalcitrant era

Another term has ended and the reports have been (mostly) turned in and boxed away.  We're running out of shelf space...  Next year we won't be in this office any more as our rental contract is ending this summer.
It's the end of an era.
We'll vacate the (dare I say "legendary"?) Veepeesee at Cannaregio 4400... We've really grown into this space in the dozen years since we relocated here from our home in Via Dardanelli, on the Lido.  We are bursting at the seams with at least 150 boxes containing our 20 years of research.
The original VPC office was in the magazzino on the ground floor of my parents' (Cino and Wilma's) house, where I had lived until I left for the U.S. for (what was supposed to be) a single year spent at an American High School.  The year stretched into a full decade spent in the U.S. (getting my degrees from WPI, among other things), before I returned and founded the Venice Project Center in 1988.  After the S.Elena beginnnings, the VPC migrated with Jackie, Nick and me, wherever our family was living at the time.  Only when we moved to Cannargio 4400 -- for the first time -- the VPC was not co-located at my domicile.  We've come a long way... The protracted 20th anniversary is over.  We have turned 21!
The VPC is no longer a minor...
The earth seemed to resist this coming of age... It was as if Venice didn't want the era to end!  An improbable "perfect storm" combination of Acqua Alta and SNOW(!) tried to prevent the students from reaching the airport on Saturday, when the 21st contingent of WPI students was leaving the city, like the grown child who is leaving the parental nest upon reaching the maggioretà.
With a valiant effort -- braving through flooded streets in the midst of a blowing blizzard -- everybody somehow made it miraculously to the airport in time...
...only to be faced with canceled flights and delayed departures to unpredictable destinations, determined with etch-a-sketch "precision" by frazzled airline personnel dealing with thousands of stranded visitors during one of the busiest weekends of the year...
The majority of the students made it home only today, after a four-day ordeal compounded by the snow that simultaneously blanketed the eastern United States, where everyone was headed...  What a way to turn 21!
I personally spent the same four days braving similar weather to and from the U.K., where Adrian and I mediated the re-emergence of energence...
I am back in Venice now, where there is still snow on the ground and it's bitter cold.  And, of course, we have a major predicted acqua alta coming at 4:00am tomorrow, so every table at the VPC is covered with boxes and other materials that were moved out of the "danger zone" in preparation for the likelihood of water entering our office overnight.
It's a sign that it's really time to move on and enter adulthood.  Youth was fun while it lasted.
It's time to get out into the world...

It's the most wonderful time...

...of the year                                     (sing along...)


Merry Christmas!
(may your days henceforth grow ever longer...)

Photo Credit: Nicolò Zuane Carrera
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