Friday, 11 October 2019

Oxford inside out/upside down: my son’s graduation

My son Francesco, my third child, graduated last August in physics. It was hard, a big commitment and we are very proud of him. He attained a big goal and though it was stressful at times, he succeeded at the end and completed his master. We tried to support him as much as possible attending some parents’ events at his college, Somerville, and visiting him from time to time. In a way we are happy it has ended, and ended well.

Only my husband and I could attend the graduation ceremony at the Sheldonian Theatre in Oxford. The rest of the family had to follow it on my computer sitting on a bench in the garden of Somerville college as no rooms or other kind of venues or areas were available for them. Luckily, it was a dry warm day. The ceremony was in Latin pronounced with an English accent and there was a lot of bowing, coming out and going into the hall in groups. We smiled when they mispronounced my son's surname (D'Antino instead of D'Antonio). ​After my son there was another Italian graduate, whose surname was not mispronounced as it happened to be Mussolini. The gown was lovely, all black with embroidered sleeves. We took plenty of photos and celebrated with my son’s friends at our favourite Italian restaurant, La Cucina. The air conditioning didn’t work so well but the food was gorgeous. We had various antipasti (starters), a main dish, such as orecchiette cime di rapa (pasta ears with greens), pappardelle con anatra (wide pasta ribbons with duck sauce), calzone pizza (half calzone and half pizza), tagliata di manzo (steak cut rib eye) and cod fillet. For desserts we had tiramisu, panna cotta, lemon sorbet, ricotta cheesecake and walnut chocolate brownies. Everything was super delicious. At the restaurant, we also had a good time with my son’s friends including the family of one of his friends who graduated on the same day and joined us for dinner.

Studying at Oxford university was demanding; we are so happy that my son completed his studies without major issues and with good results. He was happy at the end and planned long holidays in southern France, northern Italy, Rome and Ricetto, a little village in the area of Rieti (Lazio) where my parents in law spend their summer time. In this way, he spent time with his friends but also visited his roots in Friuli, Ricetto and Rome. He hiked in the Alps, in Forni Avoltri (Udine area in Friuli), and worked in his grandfather’s vegetable garden or collected mushrooms in the woods when he was in Ricetto. He came back home relaxed, ready to start his new life, probably planning to teach his subjects but also nurturing his hobbies and interests, that is, painting, writing and reading philosophy.

Having all my family for a week for the graduation was a big treat. We also visited the astounding Kew Gardens and saw the beautiful exhibition of glass sculptures by Dale Chihuly on display throughout the gardens. My parents in law loved it, especially my mother in law who has a passion for flowers and trees and knows all their names. It was a sunny day; Chihuly’s sculptures glowed in the light with their bright organic shapes. I wrote a review on the exhibition while I was in Italy which was published by London Grip, here is the link:

My daughter, who had come from Japan for the occasion, spent one more week with us which was another big treat as we miss her so much. Hopefully, she will come back home in about a year. It was wonderful to spend time with all my family for such a happy circumstance that we celebrated with good chats, interesting outings, delicious food and a lot of laughs.

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