Wednesday, June 29, 2016


by Ellen Murphy 
I fly out of bed in panic. The sun was up. WHAT time is it??? I have to be on time for class, it’s the first day!

I am beyond panic and in a frenzy. I find my cellphone clock. It is 5:45 AM. I cannot settle back down to sleep a few more hours. I busy myself with getting ready for the day by packing and organizing my school bag. At 6:30 AM the church bells chime.

In Cagli Italy church bells chime daily every hour, then at quarter past the hour, half hour and quarter to the hour.

I open my eyes and listen. I know it is after 6:30 AM. I heard the first chimes of the day. I also know that the bells for 7:30 AM have not rung. “Too early. The church bells have not chimed.” I settle back on my pillow. Patiently waiting for the church bells to chime to begin my day.

Nearing the end of my stay here in Cagli, I have regularly determined time by the church bell chimes. Time to rise, go to school, lunch and pause, the end of school, dinner and bed time.

It is slightly disconcerting to have everything in class be time sensitive. Time concepts for school are out of sync with the rest of life in Cagli. I have discovered a time activity that is representative of Kluckhorn and Strodtbeck’s theory of the 5 universally shared problems.

With no “real” clock the bells have paced my days. My pace is slower and less rushed. Except for class. When I return to the States with work and deadlines; I can see the discord as a slight advantage, when my pace will return to breakneck speed.