Wednesday, July 7, 2010
Day 27: Sweetly Sings the Donkey
I woke up early this morning; I had a long day ahead of me. I packed up, helped clean up the kitchen a little, and said goodbye to Diane. I then headed, in a great rush, out the door. I had to get a receiver for mobile internet, come back to the apartment to get my stuff, and get to the station before my 10:45 train. The first phone store I went to, as I expected, didn't open until 10. I knew there was no way I'd make my train in time, so I hopped on a bus and headed back to the apartment, considering myself SOL. However, on the bus, I saw another mobile phone company. I got off at the next stop, backtracked to the store, and found that it opened at 9:30, which was in five minutes. Amazing. When it opened, I was the first customer helped. I was so relieved, and began the process of buying mobile internet. Then, he told me he needed my passport; Italy requires foreigners to show a passport to issue a new phone number. I panicked; I clearly didn't have time to go back and forth to get my passport before my train, and I begged the guy to let it slide, to no avail. I tore apart my wallet, and as I was about to accept defeat, I found a photocopy of my passport in my wallet. Every once in a while, I'm smarter than I think. He accepted it, finished setting me up, and left. I found a shortcut back to the apartment, grabbed my stuff, and was out by 10.
When I got en route to the station, I realized that a cab was worth it in all this heat and with these big bags. I hailed one, got in, and had nice conversation with the cabby. When we got there, he first asked for an extra euro for the luggage, and then realized he had no change, so he just took all my coins, which amounted to much less than what the meter said. I lucked out. I bought my ticket, ate some breakfast, and got on the train. Luckily, it was air conditioned, and the two hours went by quickly.
Michael, my new workaway host for the next few days, picked me up from the station in his blue Honda Jazz. He is 60, British (though his mom is Italian, he spent around 20 years in Hawaii, and has been living in Italy for about twenty years), but a very young 60, with a ponytail, fit body, and pants covered in paint. He is a musician and a massage therapist, and has a small farm around his home where he is learning about organic farming and permaculture by doing.
We talked the whole way to the grocery store, a long trip for food. We talked about workaway, massage, my journey here, etc. After shopping (we bought almost exclusively produce, everything organic), we went to his house. It is up a dirt road, and looks out on a valley and the rolling Apennine hills. It is right on the border between Umbria and Tuscany. As we drove up, the donkey brayed at us. The house is four hundred years old; and was originally lived in by sharecropping families. Now, it is a beautiful home, with hammocks on the porches, lots of instruments, and great vibes.
There is a young Italian couple working here too, and they had prepared lunch while we were out. We sat down for lunch on the front porch where all our meals are eaten. The Italians speak great English, and have helped me with some Italian as well. After lunch, we had a siesta; it is usually too hot from three to six to work productively.
After writing yesterday's blog, I laid down in the hammock, and napped. It felt great. When I work up, I helped the Italians work on draining the pool, and getting all the leaves out of it. Though there were enough salamanders and frogs that needed rescuing to employ a small country, there wasn't really enough work for all of us. So I headed to the treehouse like structure, that Michael is going to turn into a massage studio. I cleaned it out, measured the last few floorboards that need cutting, and swept it out.
By the time that was done, the Italians had headed in to shower, so I went and scooped some more leaves. Michael met me up there, and, during the beautiful sunset, walked me around, showing me what was on the little farm, and what he planned on doing in the future. Now, he has a small orchard, a horse, a donkey, and a large garden.
After a shower, I went out to the porch. Michael and I talked for a long time, while lying on hammocks, about American politics and the state of everything. The whole place is like a symphony; there are so many insects, ambhibians and birds singing. This place is very alive. There are lizards climbing all over the walls, snakes in the bamboo, and lots of plants.
We made dinner; a salad with a homemade tofu dressing, roasted red peppers, and bread. We weren't done with dinner until about midnight, at which point I read, and fell asleep.