OUR ANDES – June 2022

By Alessandra Russo and Patrice Giasson

     We arrived in this hamlet thanks to the Andes Central School who welcomed our son Leonardo in September 2020. Since then, it has been a daily discovery of paths, people, stories, and our respect and love for this place has grown in unexpected ways.

We treasure the walks to school in the early mornings, greeting the workers who take care of this village; the hikes in and all-around Andes, where we have learned to observe wild plants and flowers, forage and eat from the ground; the hills of this beautiful region where Alessandra learned how to drive… We treasure the stacks of the Library and those of the bookstore, nurtured by the intelligence and sensibility of book-lovers; the goat yogurt from the Dirty Girl Farm which we have been eating every single day; the swimming-pool and its great lifeguards who have taught our son to swim and dive; the Cornell program where we learned how to garden; but, most of all, we are immensely grateful to the preK-12 school of this village, probably one of the tiniest in the planet, for all the loving support it has given to our child, who learned to read and write here, with Mrs. Finkle, but also, thanks to the school’s curriculum, to ski, paint, play basketball, sing—and cook.

The quietness and inspiration offered by this landscape and its inhabitants —our new friends—and the tranquility of the little house that we have been renting—gave us the energy to write two books. When we returned to work in person in the city, we decided to commute. Every time we approach that “Hamlet of Andes” sign on Route 28 we know this is the right place to be.~