Category Archives: Italy

Time spent in Italy

Winter’s Funeral

When you first arrived I thought of you as a breath of fresh air.  Your cool breezes were a heavenly escape from weeks of an unforgiving heat wave.  This beautiful transition was incredibly short-lived.

Without any warning, you dried my skin and bit my bones.  No matter my foresight and previous experience I was never fully prepared for this vengeful turn.  I attempted to retreat from your malice but you found me and it makes me bitter.  To me, you are only beautiful in white and still then for only a few days.  I look at you with disgust from windows, praying that you will melt away.

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I dream that I am naked.  I dream of freedom.  I dream of warm air wrapping around my body.  I smile with my eyes closed but when I wake, you take all the energy I have to leave the hearth of my bed.

I will not make this mistake again.  I will not allow you to force me to cover myself.  I will not fall into line with your fashion trends, hot chocolates, and lattes.  Go ahead, you will not win me over with your lights, presents, and fireplaces!

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Goodbye winter.  I know part of you is still holding on, but I am here to tell you that it is time to let go.  I would suggest not slamming the door on the way out.

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As Luck Would Have It

“Welcome home Flower.”

I have lots of love for many places.  I get excited (sometimes VERY excited) about lots of things.  However, there is something about Italy that is incomparable.  It is not only the beauty from Ancient Rome, the wine, the food, or the Italian way of life but the love that I found here almost two years ago.

As of now I am in Italy visiting Michelle and Claudio Cesaretti.  They run and own La Rocchetta which is one of the farms I WWOOFed on during my first trip through Italy, Greece, and Morocco.  I first came to La Rocchetta in January 2010 and immediately felt at home.  Since then, I have found every way possible to return and be welcomed once again by the lovely Michelle and Claudio.

La Rocchetta sits on top of a hill with a 360 view of several Etruscan hilltop towns.  Directly across is the town of Mugnano.

This view paired with delicious coffee, home made yogurt, muesli, and jovial conversation will make your day an extraordinary one.  An olive grove fills much of the 18 acres of La Rocchetta.  Walking through these ancient trees provides a kind of peace and happiness that is indescribable.  Remember that the olive branch represents “peace” in several stories and cultures around the world.

All the same, it is not only the exquisite surroundings of La Rocchetta but what Claudio and Michelle have created here.  I can only be overwhelmingly grateful that I have acquired the title of “adopted daughter” of these two amazing people.  I will always thank my luck for bringing me here because I am so lucky to know Claudio and Michelle.

I am lucky to hear their incredible stories of being the national fencing champion at 18 years old, chasing Che Guevera for an interview throughout South America, being the main correspondent for the Vatican, becoming an incredibly successful ex-pat, working with Luchino Visconti (the director of The Leopard), and SO MANY MORE!  I am lucky to learn about the world and what is important.  I am lucky to be invited to this beautiful place they have built.  I am lucky to watch Claudio prepare elaborate and heavenly Italian dishes with little or no effort.  It is as though he relies only on muscle memory, chopping this and stirring that.  I am lucky to be able to eat these feasts everyday!

I could continue cataloguing all the reasons I am lucky to know Claudio and Michelle.  Every time I reunite with them a whole new list appears.  However, the most important reason is the love here.  How good it feels to be around the people you love and who love you!

Sometimes it is hard to find this kind of love when traveling.  But if you are open and are grateful for the little things love will find you.

We can all be lucky and sometimes unlucky.  We only have to remember to be aware of the luck and thankful when it comes.

I found a lot of luck and love on our journey through Turkey.  The fact that I am constantly being reminded of this luck and love is giving me an overwhelming sense of gratitude for my lifestyle choices.  It is so good to see the potential we have as human beings.  Kindness, love, and happiness are all out there.  Only when you travel and meet strangers who exhibit these qualities do you believe it.

Ironically, this is an appropriate Turkish Proverb I found,

“A person does not seek luck; luck seeks the person.”

Come back soon for the story of our amazing odyssey through Turkey!

*There are more pictures of La Rocchetta, the people, and the amazing food on my Italy 2010 page.*

**You can even visit La Rocchetta yourself!  Just click HERE for more details.**

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A Story From Sardegna

In April 2010 I was invited to help friends of friends paint and prepare their summer home in Pula, Sardegna.

One day we were exploring the town and found a comfortable café to sit in and pass the late afternoon hours.  Some attention was drawn to us due to our obvious “tourist” status however the guitar we were playing at an outside table was more proof than our skin tone.

My friend Erin and I drank Pernods in honor of Hemingway, Miller, Durrell, and all our other admired artists who found beauty and life in the European way of life.  The “European way of life” includes sitting for hours at a café…you know you love it.

While we sat we managed to make friends with a few locals and the manager of the café who ran off to find his friend who played the guitar.  The sun was beginning to set and we were encouraged to come inside from the cold but also where there was a bigger space for a performance.

What you will see in the video is a type of call and response in Sardo.  “Sardo” is simply another dialect of Sardinian.

Our hosts continued to sing a traditional Sardo song that resembled to me a kind of battle of the wits.  Each line is improvised and meant to make a joke at the other’s expense.  Even though we could not understand the language (it differs completely from Italian) we knew they were really having it out at one another.  At one line you can see the bartender bowl over with laughter.

This certainly was one of those special travel experiences that only an open heart and blank itinerary can provide.  The men (of course Erin and I were the only women in the entire café) gave us a typical Sardinian welcome with a few drinks on the house, several smiles, and kisses on cheeks.  There is NO exaggeration to the fact that this song lasted for 2 hours!

In truth I don’t believe this was a normal thing for our hosts either.  Ultimately our guitar and their enthusiasm for guests created something that benefited all of us.  Every time I watch this video I notice the smiles on the faces of the older men sitting next to Erin.

When we left there was a sense of gratitude that over took the little café.  Our gratitude in being welcomed like family at this local gathering and their gratitude for our genuine enthusiasm in their culture.

In the end music brought us together.

“Music is only love looking for words.”
-Lawrence Durrell

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