Published: August 16th 2009August 11th 2009
Look at all these tomatoes I picked in 3 mornings!
Today is Sunday, so I'm not supposed to work, but I've been such a lazy bum for the past week or so that I insisted on some hard manual labor this morning. I weeded around raspberry bushes for 3 hours, in the shade, and while I was working near the pear tree it said, "Sara, you've been working hard and you seem hungry." I was hungry. Then a perfectly ripe fruit fell at my feet and I ate it. Okay, so the tree didn't really talk to me, but the pear did offer itself to me, and life is that beautiful here.
Yesterday was some kind of Catholic holiday having something to do with Mary (that's actually how it was described to me). I went with some of the family to a church, but just walked around outside instead of going in. During the day, I read an entire novel. At night, we went to the centro of Reggio Emilia, walked around, and ate gelato. I love this town. There was live music, a really cool fountain with lights that almost looked like fireworks, and (the best part) bikes everywhere I looked. This area of Italy, Emilia-Romagna, It home to
After washing all the tomatoes, then boiling them, we pass them through this machine to make sauce. This is what they put on pasta in Italy, simply real tomatoes with a little salt. You may also add some garlic, olive oil, and basil, if you so desire...
some of the best food in the country. I was already fortunate enough to visit all of these places of production on my study abroad trip, so now I just get to eat them all the time (minus the meat, of course). If you look at a map of this area, you can see that all the cities are equidistant and on one line. I'm told that's because they still exist on an ancient road where they had to travel by horses between the cities. From west to east, there is Parma with the Prosciutto- the cured raw ham, Reggio Emilia with the Parmigiana-Reggiano cheese (but also other the other towns), and Moderna with the real Balsamic Vinegar.
This farm is like home, but better (sorry mom and dad). It's messy and laid back and we are allowed to be lazy (like home), but the food, scenery, and puppies make it so much better. I love Anna. She's like me in that she loves food and animals, and doesn't care so much about girly things like clothes and makeup. And she's an amazing cook. Here's a typical "work" day: Get up whenever I want (usually before 9); eat breakfast
More (Italian for Blackberries)
Picking blackberries...one in the bowl, one in my mouth...
from a selection of cakes, brownies, tarts, fruit, bread, jams, juices, and more; play with the puppies; do what work I want, which can range from putting labels on jars while listening to This American Life, to picking to tomatoes or blackberries, to making jam or tomato sauce or some other delicious thing; play with the puppies; do whatever until I get called for a lunch. After lunch, a few more hours of what I want (study Italian, go on the internet, nap...) then more "work," more free time, play with puppies, dinner, play with puppies, more free time, sleep, and repeat. It's a difficult life, as you can see. I'm pretty much doing everything I would do to procrastinate back at home, but I don't have anything I need to do. There's nothing to avoid doing except cleaning my room or updating this blog, both of which I do avoid, but without much guilt. I almost cleaned my room when I got up from my nap today...but why? I don't need to.
While I have been being a lazy bum, I am learning things. I'm learning more about the Italian language, life and food, and forming some more
Making little ravioli.
ideas for what I might want to do with my life back in the states.
I remember saying on this blog at some point that Italian was pretty easy if you try. Disregard that. I must have been drunk or something when I said it. It's really very difficult. Multo, multo difficile. The only seemingly simple thing is the pronunciation. The verbs are ridiculous. The fact that you don't have to say the pronouns seems like it would make it more simple, but it makes it more difficult because you have to know the proper conjugation, and they are all different. There are 3 kinds of verbs, plus many irregular ones. I've only just gotten into past-tense and it's blowing my mind. Then there's the fact that every thing that isn't a verb has to be masculine/feminine/singular/plural, and it's not as simple as adding an s. Then there are a million articles that I just don't even know where to put in a sentence. Okay, enough rambling. Let me give you an example.
Let's do "go". In English, it's fairly simple. I go, you go, he/she goes, we go, you (plural) go, they go. Then past is all the
By the church on Saturday morning.
same- went. But in italian...io vado, tu vai, lui/lei va, noi andiamo, voi andante, loro vanno. Then there's like a page of other forms that I don't even want to get into. Stupido italiano.
I'll save the discussion about Italian life for the next entry...too lazy...
For the past few years, I've had the idea that I want to base where I end up living on what kind of food grows there. So, naturally, I imagine myself in or near California, because that is where EVERYTHING grows. When I cook with Anna, she asks about each of the ingredients, "Is this grown in Florida?" and my most common response is "no...California." I must go there. After spending time here, I have this crazy idea to open up something like an agrotourismo in California...do they already have such things? I would need people and money...but more on that later. This post is way too long.
There are more photos below