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Published: June 25th 2010
The new pond with frogs and 4 new baby koi, by the new greenhouse with solar panels.
I'm back in Rivalta to work on my favorite farm after about 2 weeks at the farm in Lake Como. (I must apologize in advance: as I learn more Italian, my english vocabulary deterriorates, so...yeah.) It was certainly an escape from reality and...I can't think of the words but like a cleansing spa experience. I ate healthy, got lots of exercise, read books, studied italian, and soaked in the beautiful surroundings. I must admit that this last week (or however long it's been) hasn't been the best. My mood is always dependent on the weather, and it was rainy and cold, combined with the unusual lack of people around and there's not much work to do in the gardens when it rains. Also, Silvana, my Italian mother, talks constantly. Before I liked it, because it helped me learn the language and she said lots of funny phrases, but there were a few days where I just had to escape- understanding almost everything in Italian is not always a good thing. It's certainly different this summer. Before I was here later in the summer, when the weather was warm, there were other WWOOFers, and there were more things to in the gardens.
Italia vs. New Zealand
We watched the match in a piazza in Torino where we were selling our ptoduce at the market.
But now there is sun and another WWOOFer and I've made new friends, so that rough patch is over and I will stop complaining and talk about all the good things...
I got a job! I wasn't even looking for one and I got one (of course). It's speaking english and playing with kids at a tennis camp for 3 hours per day during the week and it pays 20 euros per hour! My new American friend Heather that I met at a party on Saturday is an au pair (which she said I could also get a job doing if I wanted) for a family in Alba and also works at the camp, but is leaving for 4 weeks and is looking for someone to take over. I'll do it for one week or maybe more, but I went there the other day to check it out and it's really fun and easy and I can't believe my fortune in getting it. I'll tell you more after I start working.
I have so much to cover but it's so difficult to decide what to write about and spend time on the computer. I'm going to save some
Stop and Smell the Roses
One entryway to our house at Lake Como.
topics like food and this farm and family for next time. I wanted to talk about the Italian people, social life, and language, but then I realized that I don't have any pictures of that. Because this area feel like home, I rarely use my camera, so I'm going to have to make an effort to take my camera when I do social things...
I've already talked about what I've seen, so now I'm going to cover the my other senses. (Interesting fact-the Italian verb for all the senses is the same: sentire.)
That damn rooster right outside my window, every morning. It might as well be sitting on my windowsill. I would eat chicken if I knew it was that chicken. But even before I wake up to that, if I happen to be awake in the middle of the night, I might hear what reminds me of the scene in 101 Dalmatians when every dog in the country is barking to pass along a message. While drifting in and out of sleep, of course depending on the rooster's mood, the sounds of Enzo and Silvana (my Italian parents) arguing drifts toward my room.
We ate outside on nice days at Lake Como.
I hear them building things like walls and fences, and firing up the wood burnning oven to bake breads and cookies to sell at markets. Maybe I wake up to a real alarm, but maybe not- I can be as lazy as I want here. All day long I hear arguments in Italian, complaining in Italian, cursing in Italian, about everything in the world and more, but it's normal. There are also many animals from dogs and cats to birds and frogs, making their respective noises inside, outside, and on the house. And also vespas and motorbikes of all the teenagers in Rivalta as they come to our house to hang out in the refuge built by Lorenzo (my younger brother) under the balcony and by the pond and greenhouse. At Lake Como, however, all was calm except for the constant honking of car horns- not because there was a lot of traffic, but because every turn on the road was a blind turn. And also the drum set right next to my room, also during siesta time when I wanted to sleep- the rooster of Lake Como.
One of my favorite things to hear in Rivalta is Piedmontese, the local dialect, which sounds like baby Italian with a french accent. I also love the softer curses of Silvana, like testa di cavolo (head of cabbage) and che salami (I could translate, but it still wouldn't make sense, like many Italian expressions). I will have to share a whole list of them when I finish compiling it. I understand most Italian now, so hearing it is not so much work now- I don't have to concentrate so much. In fact, at the Bank of Wine at the University of Gastronomic Science yesterday, I understood a tour in Italian! And during the world cup soccer matching I heard every italian curse I already knew, but this time put to good use. But I can still tune it out if I wish...
Bad after a day of work, as you can imagine. But the roses and the Italian herbs lining the house, including lavender, are always a necessary stop when I go in or out, but I will smells them cooking later, anyway. Starting Friday and ending Sunday this house is filled the with scent of baking- break, faccacia, pizzas, cookies, and the accompanying smoke from the wood burning oven. When I weed I get different whiffs of plants, and I can immediately recognize the smell of a tomato plant that has grown wild. Then there are the farm dogs, the roof cats, and then bathroom shared by the whole family with the broken toilet where you have to flush by pouring water caught in a bucket from the sink into the bowl.
Pain, because plants are always tyring to hurt me, from the weeds to strawberry and zucchini plants, even through my clothes and gloves. But the worst is...I don't know the name in English but if you touch any part of this innocuous enough looking plant, it will feel like being stabbed with millions of little needles that you can't take out and will hurt all day, because that's really what happens. But those seem to be much less common here than at Lake Como. I feel the clay soil slip and slid under me and stick to my shoes to make them unbelievably heavy if it rains. When the soil is dry, it becomes cement and is not so comfortable to kneel on while I pick green beans or tie tomatoes. I feel the sun beating down on my back and shoulders, which is why we work in the morning and before dinner, and rest in the afternoon. I feel full after I am forced to eat everything possible my Italian families who eat less than me yet still say I eat like a uccellino (little bird). I fell tired after these big meals and studying Italian will always make me fall asleep. I feel guilty because the parents here work so hard all the time, yet tell me to rest and have fun and sleep in, so the last few days I have been working more than usual. I feel happy to be part of the family, worried about my unplanned future, and sad that the poppies and cherries are almost gone.
Finally, I feel like I've spent too much time on the computer, so until next time, ciao a tutti!
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