Σάββατο, 30 Οκτωβρίου 2010

Back from Assisi

Wow! I'm having a fantastic time out here!

Yesterday, we left Tuscania with Meg, Logan and Tim for Assisi. She got us a mini Cooper, one of those new ones, you know? It was white and sooo cute! Of course it was too small to fit 4 people and their luggage and we were packed in there but, who cares! It was like we were starring in an Italian movie and we were the stars - A Greek and three American youngsters. We stuck like glue and it felt like I was with friends I knew for ages... So we headed for Assisi and we were told it's the most holy place in all Italy. Although I consider myself to be spiritual rather than religious, it was all I expected. The town was built on a hill and it was overlooking a valley. We walked in the streets and had a capuccino in the bright hot sun...

We talked a lot and we laughed a lot and we had the most wonderful dinner with pasta and black truffles! I don't think I had black truffles before and these were very very cheap, I mean, 9 euros for gnocchi with gorgonzola and black truffle??? I call that cheap. Two bottles of red wine and... around the dinner table we talked about... everything! Food, sexuality, spirituality, emotions, senses... It's like people connect over nice wine and nice food. I feel I'm in a path of self-exellency... Parallel lives which come toghether to share and explore and learn more about things they never even thought of. I felt young and full and rich - maybe wealthy is a better word!

In Assisi you see nuns in their nun outfits driving trucks and mopeds and every single one of them will smile at you and say "ciao!" or "buongiorno!". Religion aside, its the most spiritual city I've ever been too. There is serenity and beauty... When we finished dinner we joked about going to the disco and dancing but everyone was too tired to do that. but, what we wished for was just there. People dancing in the streets and playing the drums and it turned out to be a festival of young fransiscans having fun on the streets! We asked for a party and there it was and we walked straight in it! Now that is what I call creating your own reality...

Anyway, next morning we visited the Basilica of St Francis where he was buried and down at his tomb there was this aura of a little holy guy (sorry if I'm offending anyone, that's not what I mean) who loves animals and nature and he is as holy as we all are.

Purchase
It was wonderful. And these friends are going to stay in my heart forever. Meg - who at first thought was a bit abnoxious but she turned out to be the smartest, hands on, witty, fun loving lady. Logan, such a kind, generous, deep thinking with an incredible sense of humor man. And Tim, insightful, cool, soul searching man... I had an incredible time with you and hope you enjoy the rest of your trip! I'm so very jealous that they are going to Sienna and Florence next, but I have already been there and I'm glad to be back to my olives!

Πέμπτη, 28 Οκτωβρίου 2010

A bit of help...

I haven't been writing the past few days, because I'm simply having so much fun! At last we had some company to help with the olive harvest. A group of five young americans arrived, plus my friend Jennifer from Alaska. They are all very funny, very hard working, very... everything! And they changed my mind on how they treat food. I thought that Americans do not really care about eating healthy, but this crowd is very much into organic farming, urban farming (!), informing the public about healthy food and generally eating good!

So I made some new good friends and I'm taking the day off tomorrow to spend a day with them in Assisi and come back. I really need a break from the olives, I have been working for 2 weeks non stop - well I stopped when it was raining but it doesn't count because I worked in the afternoon! My body needs a rest. Once more I have put myself into a working hard situation. But I really enjoy it.

The past couple of days it was sooo windy, that dragging the nets from one tree to another was very hard. Still we sang songs and talked and there seemed to be something there that connected all of us. Was it the earth, the trees? I don't really know. When we all gathered on the table, It was like one big family. In fact, Jim helped me make some musaka  - he fried the fresh aubergines from the garden and made the most beautiful sause and then the most incredible besamel I had ever tasted! I made a HUGE greek salad for ten people and a potato salad. It was one big dinner.

And then all these tasty liquers came out. Limoncello and other stuff that I don't know the names of. Five delicious homemade liqueurs... They send all of us straight to bed!

I'm having a great time and I have all of you in my heart. Love, peace, happiness, light. Have a good day!

PS A litlle surprise for the end...

Δευτέρα, 25 Οκτωβρίου 2010

The first oil of the year

The olive mill
It’s raining. That means day off. I’m in my room with a big, hot cup of coffee. I can sit down and sort my thoughts out. I guess the rain makes you turn inwards, dive in your soul and find what is worth and what’s not. I feel much better today so I'm gonna continue with my story...
  
So…

...taking off the leaves...
The day before yesterday, I went to the olive mill. It was their first day and everybody ran around to make sure all the machines work properly. Lorenzo’s olives were the first to be pressed and there was an excitement in the air. 

The olive mill is an old, two floor, stone building. It started milling back in 1911. On the top floor, the olives are separated from the leaves which will become food for livestock. They then proceed to the ground floor to be washed and then pressed for about twenty minutes by two HUGE millstones and be made into pulp. There are several machines between that and the final product. I’m waiting for Lorenzo to explain to me what happens in these machines. The ground floor was filled by a sweet, fruity smell which came as a surprise to me. I don’t know what I expected, but this smell was fruitier than anything I ever knew. 
 
...washing the olives...
After an hour or so, the oil started flowing. I couldn’t wait to go home and taste it! On the way back the full moon was shining bright and I felt so tired! Four days of hard work in the fields made all my muscles hurt…

...crushing the olives...
And then we were home. Jim had prepared some bruschetta – which is plane toasted bread really – and we tasted the fresh oil on it. Its color was green and it still had a fruity smell! The whole procedure was so interesting and fulfilling for my senses…  And for dinner we had the most comforting food I ever had… Bull’s meat in tasty brown gravy with carrots and the tastier potato puree I ever had in my life! It was buttery and so light, like tasting clouds from the sky!  Thank you Jim, for making the most amazing lunches and dinners! Thanks for making food such a great experience full of tasty surprises! I wonder if food is so tasty in the rest of Italy…
...the new oil is ready!

Every night I go to bed and I have so much to recall, it’s difficult to keep the pace. Every night I remind myself that I am here because I had a dream to see the world. And just now, I am doing exactly that. And I love myself for doing it. And is my choice to stay, to leave, to change, to do whatever I please. Thanks for reading, thanks for commenting, thanks for everything!


Κυριακή, 24 Οκτωβρίου 2010

A little bit of thinking...

I got very emotional today, reading another blog. My hot reallity is written by someone who is like me. She volunteers in South America and, as all humans do, has her up's and downs. She's been doing what I do longer than me. And she made me cry because she dares to speak her truth. She got me thinking about my truth. She got me thinking about the little girl inside me. Is my little one happy? I'll make two lists today.

What makes me happy.
Watching the moon everynight.
Taking pictures of all the magical images that the earth offers me.
Indulging in all these Italian desserts. The cream explodes in my mouth and I have a feeling of absolute bliss.
Tasting all these wonderful meals made with organic vegetables and homemade tomato sauce.
Watching the horses from my window.
Going to the olive mill and watch how olives become oil.
Meeting wonderful people.

What makes me unhappy.
Having to wake up at 6 in the morning.
Having certain Italian men look at me as a dessert.
Missing my man so badly.
Missing my dog so badly.
Missing the warmth of my own home and the warmth of having friends around for dinner.

At this time I just feel strange. I wanted to write all these amazing things I saw in the olive mill, but I guess I'm all stuck emotionaly. It brings tears to my eyes. It has to wait. I'm sorry.
Languageses>el GoogleCE
εικόνες

Παρασκευή, 22 Οκτωβρίου 2010

Tired

Although emotionally I am really well and content, all my muscles hurt... I do try to strech every night, but still, olives are a hard bussiness... At the moment it's only 4 of us working, but hopefully, after the Terra Madre conference in Torino, some more volunteers are coming to help. I would like to cook for everyone instead of being on the field all day long...

What I am doing on the field is that I am setting the nets on the ground and getting the olives itno crates. This invloves a lot of sitting on the ground and listening to Stefano talk or sing.Stefano is a simple village guy who talks a lot, but repeats the same things over and over again... He is 45 and still lives with his mom and he is in love with his car. He makes me laugh, but after eight hours of Stefano, I feel like I have been with a child who needs attention!I guess he mirrors the child in me who does not want to work at all and wants to be cared for by a mother...

Last night I paid a visit to  the olive mill which is 45 minutes away. They will start pressing the oils tomorrow and Lorenzo is always the first to have his olives pressed. Tommorow, I'm definately going to the mill. And,  hopefully, we wiil have a big party on Sunday and we will taste some fresh olive oil! I can hardly wait...

Here are the ladders that I'm so scared of... I almost fell off twice yesterday, so I'm skipping the ladders for now!

Τετάρτη, 20 Οκτωβρίου 2010

Let the olive harvest begin!

 I am officially in love with this guy. He is called Renoir and I find the name really appropriate. He lives behind my room and I get to see him and say hello to him every now and again...

Today, the olive harvest begun and I can already feel some sore muscles in my body. My hands smell of olives, in fact I stink of olives! We use a special kind of machinery which shakes the olives from the tree and we also scrape them off by hand.

I was so scared of climbing up on the ladder, but I thought to myself I'll be safe, I had to breath deeply and I said thank you to the tree for keeping me safe and offering me it's olives. I think the trees are much happier once they are rid of their burden, it's like they have a nice shower!

Last night, I got to make my own pizza! The dow was already ready, but I had to make it in the shape of a pizza! So here I am, proudly making my own pizza... All these new things are so exhiting, I cannot start to tell you how glad I am to be here, making my dream come true... And Italy is so full of flavors, colours, sounds, smells... Living with an Italian family makes you an Italian, they are so proud of their organic olive oil and they seem to litterally have a taste for living... Tomorrow I'll cook some pasta for them, let's see if they like it... Ciao!

Τρίτη, 19 Οκτωβρίου 2010

The first really sunny day

Today was the first real sunny day here... and all I did was sit in the sun and sew the nets for the olives to fall into. It was a bit like meditation. My mind was travelling through a lot of things. The first was that I am always doing my best. I have never sewn a net before, but I'm doing my best. And I will not be doing this forever, so I enjoy doing it. I get bored really easily, that's why I like to change settings every once in a while.

The second is that there is still a saddness in me and it does not let me enjoy fully what i'm doing. I guess I should just let the saddness be and I guess that slowly it will pass. In the meantime I can enjoy sitting or even lying on the bare ground. I never knew that automn smells like spring. I guess all my previous automns were spent in the city.

The family that runs the house and the farm have very good taste. Their home is very simple and has some amazing pieces of art that blend nicely without really standing out.

My typical day so far, is that I wake up at seven in the morning, drink coffee and have breakfast and start work at eight thirty. Until lunch I do whatever they ask me to do. So far I have helped in the little store they run in the village, I have sewn some nets, I have helped in the barn and I have planted artichokes. By 1 it's time to eat. We usually have pasta which is delicious. There's usually a starter, a main course and dessert. And espresso at he end. then there's siesta time for half an hour and then we continue doing whatever we stopped doing earlier. We stop at six and that's when I have some time to check my e-mails and write on the blog. At eight there's dinner. And I think I have already told you about the divine dinners that Jim cooks for us. By 9.30 it's time for bed.

Tuscania from our farm
I'm a morning person, so this schedule suits me just fine. Lorenzo said that when the olive harvest starts - tomorow that is - things will be more hectic than they are now. Let's see...

The fact is that there are so many beautiful things to see and so many beautiful colours around that everything is breathtaking...

Oh, and one last thing. Last night there was a ring of light around the moon! Do you think that's a good sign?

Κυριακή, 17 Οκτωβρίου 2010

Artichokes

That's agginares in Greek... That's what we have been planting today.

Did I say that the food here is divine? I made my first foccacia yesterday and it was delicious! Food is a big thing here in Italy, even more than in Greece. I guess that is why the Italians are more into organic food than the Greeks...

My first tears in Italy were when I saw a dog that looked liked my Freeda. I miss her a lot.

On the other hand, I'm enjoying my time in nature, walking in mud and planting with my own bare hands. It centers you, it grounds you, it makes your body move and it makes you HUNGRY!

The weather is a bit chilly as the automn kicks in... The colours are wonderful, the horses are Arabian and everything seems pefect. Three days here and I'm almost speaking Italian. The problem is that everybody here is speaking english, so I try to liten to the italians speak rather than the english...

The photo is of the medieval pavement of Tuscania... It was raining yesterday, so... it's wet!

Σάββατο, 16 Οκτωβρίου 2010

On Italian soil, at last!

Yes, I arrived yesterday! Although I cried a lot on the plane, the happiness settled in until we landed. Lorenzo came and picked me up from the airport so I didn't have to take any trains or buses. The farm is really big, and on Wednesday we will start picking up the olives. We had dinner together and I thought I was in a gastronomical heaven! Every bite was an adventure, just like I had imagined! Peppers stuffed with tomatos and cheese and then bolonaise with homemade pasta! And dessert for the end! There's a lovely American chef cooking for us, he's been living in Italy for 8 years. It's raining but it's like heaven, Tuscania is a lovely medieval town and it's only 10 minutes from the farm. I feel blessed. I feel happy, everything is so... new! I'm a tourist but I'm not... if you know what I mean...

The landscape here is really interesting, really wavy, with little hills. No big mountains and no flat land. It's like being in a wavy sea, but it's on earth... And you can see the medieval town across from the farm. It looks very much like Skyros, I live behind the barn and I can see horses from my window...

And there's another girl with me, an American 25 year old lady who lives in Alaska and is very interested in educating the Americans on how to eat.

This morning we are canning last year's olive oil and we will wash the big tanks to be ready for this year's oil... It's all very interesting!

As I get settled, I will start uploading some pictures so be patient...

Thanks for reading, thanks for commenting, I never forget anyone. Be good, follow your heart!

Here is the link to the farm...
http://www.casacaponetti.com/

Πέμπτη, 14 Οκτωβρίου 2010

My last day...

...in Greece... I'm feeling very sad. It's weird but I do. I feel sad. I'm hugging my dog and I'm sad. I'm hugging my man and I'm sad. And the weather is not helping. It's raining and it's sad.

I guess tomorow will be another day. At this time tomorow I will be on Italian soil. And I won't be sad anymore... Goodbye then, beloved Athens. The adventure is less than 24 hours away...

Δευτέρα, 11 Οκτωβρίου 2010

Good news come to those who wait...

I've got the magic ticket!
I am flying to Rome on Friday and then taking a train to Tarquinia or Viterbo and then a bus to my magic farm in Tuscania! At last...

Loads of butterflies in my stomach, trying to keep my cool about money and saying a mandra all day in my head. "Money is coming to me, I will have enough money to travel and stay there." I will do anything it takes to stay there, even if I have to wash some dishes in a local taverna or something... I might cut down on smoking, it will only do me good for sure!

And another thing. Whilst I'm on the road, internet acccess will be difficult so my blog will be updated whenever I can...

There's so much on my mind, that it becomes numb and I cannot write a lot. Bare with me my beloved friends, my own, personal adventure is just starting! I am only 4 days away from the start of a dream! I still cannot believe how I did it, what kind of magic was performed for me to realise this plan. Apart from my own conviction, it was the love and support of all my known and unknown friends from the heart... Thanks, we all deserve a fulfilling life!

Παρασκευή, 8 Οκτωβρίου 2010

Happy and frustrated

Hey guys! Here I am. I am so happy because the blog has taken a life of it's own and is slowily expanding. Your supportive comments are everything I need right now.

This is my last day in my empty house. I am frustrated from all these delays in moving my stuff, arranging everything... Emptying a house takes more than I imagined. It takes a lot of patience. Which I'm losing at the moment. The farm that was waiting for me cancelled at the last minute, but I have found another one in Tuscany. This is where I will probably go. They need some help with the olive picking and they seem like nice guys. I have never picked up olives before in my life! It should be hard work and fun...

I'll breathe deep then. Everything will be ready when it's time for them to be ready. I'm not giving up, I hope the money is enough. Everything will be fine. Phewwwww!

Τρίτη, 5 Οκτωβρίου 2010

In an empty house

My appartment is almost empty. A truck came today and took the big stuff. My living room, fridge, stove, washing machine are going to be stored in my sister's basement. I'm running slightly out of schedule.

I was supposed to travel to Italy the past weekend, but I guess I'm gonna leave next weekend after all. Around the tenth of October.

These ten days into October were vital for me. I said goodbye to my parents and younger sister. I'm saying goodbye to my house. A house that was inhabited by two people who were in love. My house was my refuge for three years. It saw our happy times and our difficult times. We had parties and fights. We made love. And then we decided to separate. Here is where I lived alone when he moved out. It's funny, when we moved in this house I was so tired, I promised myself I'm not going to move for another five years! And I didn't have to! This time, there were no boxes and boxes and boxes of stuff. Most of my belongings were taken by friends.

I also made a statement when I moved in this house. That I will have my first baby here. And I have. My baby is this blog. My baby is the travelling plan. My baby is my new self.

This is (was) a beautiful house. And I'm going to remember it dearly. Have a good day.

Σάββατο, 2 Οκτωβρίου 2010

Parents Part 2

Here I am, in my hometown.
I came and faced what
I thought was a monster. And it was not a monster after all. Our mind plays funny games. It makes a little fear become a nightmare. All you have to do is face that little fear before it becomes a nightmare.

Yes, my parents are really concerned about me. They have supported me all these years and they feel tired by their child who is not responsible yet and behaves like a teenager. They are giving me a deadline. A deadline to stand on my own two feet. They are right.

I have to stand on my own two feet. But I need some support still. My travelling project is just a baby right now. It needs caring before it sets off. That's what I will do.

I do not have all the answers on how my project will evolve. But
I know that this is the first time I do something that comes from my real self. I know that I'm here on my blog every day (well, almost), writing about my joys and my struggles. Which means
I am commited.

I love them and they love me. They have a certain way of loving. And I guess I have a certain way of loving them too. I will not see them for a long time. So I might as well spend some time with my parents and sister. And then we can talk from a distance. They are quite used to it, because I was never too close. I left when
I was 17 and never came back to live with them. All these years
I was trying to make peace with them and myself. We have reached a certain point. Things are calm when I'm clear about what I want. What upsets them is me, not knowing where I stand. They get confused.

Yes, they are conserned. But my case is clear. And they are calm, although they don't really understand.

And that's my own, unique family...