Month: November 2012

…you is kind, you is smart, and you is impo’tant

…And you is beautiful!

Excuse me, but I need to remind myself of this frequently. Especially when I feel I’m not looking my best. My friends would say that I’m pretty, and pretty confident too. However, even the most confident people deal with insecurities – I can attest to that! I flew 6000 miles out of my comfort zone to live temporarily in a country where English will never be their first language, where people drink water from fountains along the streets (acckk – pigeon flu!), where the culture is different, the systems are strange, and people have so many flowery ways to express themselves.

I have to remind myself of that edited phrase from The Help anytime I’m feeling off-center. During one of my many days in Italy, I hung out with a classmate after class and we had a very nice time in an area of Rome we had never visited before. However, on my return home I was standing in line to purchase a train ticket. I could see that the man at the front of the line was turning around to look in my direction, so I moved over slightly to hide myself behind two guys directly in front of me because he couldn’t possibly be looking at me???  Then the guys directly in front of me turned to stare at me because this guy was looking at me.

Oooh, I don’t feel pretty today, dang-it! Off-center, off-center! All of you, turn around please!

Then, after he purchased his ticket he came over to me and started speaking Italian to me. Like I could understand what he was saying! I should be flattered that he thought I spoke Italian. However, he received the *blank stare*.  Observing him more closely, he started to look awfully familiar for some reason. Then I realized that he was the same guy I mentioned in an earlier post who said bellisima/bella to me while he walked by talking on his cellphone near Roma Termini. Smiles all around, as we recognized each other, and laughed at the connection we made. We even ended up sitting next to each other on the train.

This big city of Rome is not very large at all, in fact, its quite small. (thanks Dr. Seuss) Yay for random wonderful experiences in Roma!

Colorful road in Rome
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…what did you do on the farm?

I meant to write this post a looooong while ago, however my manifold activities have distracted me from posting.

I’ve been asked this question so many times since I’ve returned to the states.  Actually, I think my stint on the farm might be unusual because they had a huge storm about a month before I arrived in March,  and it totally ruined many of the plants and trees.  As a result, remaining trees needed pruning and branches needed to be removed.  My host, Ms. Gx, is a TROOPER. Meaning that she did everything around the house and more. I don’t know how she handled this property all by herself, because it is an expansive property. Not only the property, but the garden, the animals, the cooking and cleaning daily for her family and friends who regularly stop by.  However, that’s where my volunteer work began. I helped fill in the gaps.  So here’s what my normal routine comprised:

First thing I did after my morning shot of espresso was feed the dogs. They were so lovely, and I miss them so much! I’m neutral when it comes to dogs, except I’m not particularly fond of pocketbook dogs.  Hey, that’s because I like my dogs like I like my men — sturdy. That’s probably why I want a Great Dane? Ha! Anyway — I adore these dogs. They run up to me, give me lots of love, and wait patiently while I mix their food with last nights’ leftovers. I love them so much!

Dog bowls – Feedin’ time!

Next, I fed the chickens:

Starter bin of food for the chickens
Feedin’ time for the chickens. And the turkeys. And the ducks.
I picked these eggs!

After feeding the chickens I would pick the eggs. Warm, they were! And extra fresh!

Horses:

Luna?

I don’t know if this is Luna or not. There were two horses, mama and daughter, yet I can’t remember the others’ name. It began with an ‘F’. Why can’t I remember?  Anyway, I would usually make sure that they received big bins of fresh water and hay daily.  I don’t know if you can see in this picture, but there is an electric fence that shocked me on several occasions – I couldn’t see it! I hated that thing – I almost clotheslined myself several times.

Olive branches in piles

Look at the lovely piles I made! Ok, consider many such piles all around the farm. All day, every day, picking up and collecting branches to place them in piles.  Eventually to be transferred to the home for the fireplace, or recycled for burning.  The turquoise wheelbarrow became my constant friend and companion. Work was hard and grueling, yet I enjoyed how I felt after a days’ work.

I wish I had taken pictures of one of our family meals. Ms. Gx is the best cook, and I must say, her food was the best I had my entire time in Rome. Sorry restauranti di Roma, take a lesson.

The smaller garden

Sometimes I had a chance to collect arugula for the day’s dinner – exciting! I was so careful with how I handled anything in the garden – being a city girl, I couldn’t tell the weeds from the produce. I remember saying how lovely and colorful a ‘plant’ looked, and Ms. Gx telling me that it was a weed.  :-/

Either way, she liked how I treated her garden and that I wanted to learn more. Eventually I would like to have my own garden, but in the meantime I will practice in others’ until I get the hang of it.

Italian washing machine

I also washed and hung the clothes and linens, cleaned the dishes at every meal, and/or did whatever odd jobs needed done around the house.  The washing machine was pretty self-explanatory, but it was odd to wash only at night.  The luxury of being an American is that we wash whenever the mood suits us.

The Grotto, from outside

One of my random projects was to clean the Grotto, inside and out. Just sweeping, of course.  A HUGE job, but someone had to do it. It was formerly a Etruscan tomb, or at least that what Ms. Gx believes it to be. I could feel a dampened energy while I was sweeping inside, which prompted me to chant Nam Myoho Renge Kyo the entire time I was there, and to sweep as quickly as I was physically able to do.

Ms. Gx home

Overall I had a wonderful time here, and I miss Ms. Gx and her family. I hope to return soon, for more of la vita bella!