Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Weekly meeting with Ma Donna

This morning my alarm went off at 5:30am...I barely peeked through my eyelids to where I could see that it was still pitch black outside..."Can't run yet, better go back to sleep"... the alarm went off again at 5:40am, 5:45am, and continued in two ten minute increments until I FINALLY got out of bed at 6:40am. It was just bright enough outside to not get hit by a car, and usually if I start early no one else on the hill has woken up yet so I don't see a lot of cars anyway. I've come to think of my Wednesday morning ritual as my weekly meeting with Ma Donna in the Wall (the tiny saint statue that someone has put in a crevis in a rock wall). I start out and walk past the little yippy dogs that try to bite my ankles if I run past their house and when I get to the end of our road I start a 6 minute run uphill... when I see Ma Donna in the Wall it's time to turn around and start the downhill easy part of the run. I'm not sure which sait Ma Donna is, but I think she must be the saint of relief because by the time I reach her my calve muscles are ready for some downhill relief. On my way down the hill this morning I met a bus driver whom I've seen out on my morning runs before. This time he waved and honked like he was my best friend. As I continued down the hill I thought about how accustomed I've become to the run. I feel as if now this hill with all it's endless curves is actually mine. I feel at home. I feel like the people on the way to and from Antonio's house are my neighbors. It's hard to think that I've actually been here over a month. I've only got a few days more than three weeks left here at the cantina. My Italian, whether I think so or not, and no matter how frustrating it is for me right now, has actually come quite a long way from "Mi chiamo Rachele. Sono di Missouri." At the bottom of the hill is a gorgeous row of pink flowers (don't ask me what type because beyond the obvious well known flowers, I have not a clue, to me they are just pretty...kind of like cars...) and every time I run by them I think I should stop and smell them on the way back, and every time I do stop to smell them and then I remember that the flowers are pretty but without a smell. Eh, è cosí ("it is that" used in the sense that "well, that's just how it is.") There's also a beautiful old building that has a rundown garden behind it that I think would make a beautiful picture, and I want to take a picture of Ma Donna as well so that you can get an image for my story of her..eventually, I will do that. On my way back up the hill, I realized I have a love/hate relationship with the endless curves, they are endless, but without them I would be running directly up the hill...that's no fun. I also saw my friend the bus driver on my way back up, he waved and honked again. I wonder if he would recognize me without the red stocking cap with the fluffy ball on top (which I wear 1. to keep me from freezing and 2. to hopefully ward off the cars that have started to come up and down the hill by the time I'm headed back up to the house)??? After I reach the driveway to the house I stop and walk until I'm at a distance that I think I can sprint without the dogs catching me, it's actually kind of fun and a bit of a rush to run from them. :) I keep reminding myself that I need to look up the Italian word for "to bite"...just in case. When I reached the house I was able to do some yoga stretches watching the purples, blues, pinks, and oranges of the sunrise over the valley...que bella la vita Italiana...

Today at work, I took the opportunity (read, I was bored and there was nothing else to do but clean some random spots under some random tanks and my lungs have had their fill of clorine for a few days) to walk around with my roommate Giulia. Giulia is studying to be an enologist and is on a stage for her school. It was interesting to see what type of work an enologist does, and I've gotten to the point that I can ask questions and usually understand the answer, more or less. Although today when I asked her what she was doing with the themometer in the cylinder of must she said a word I didn't understand and I assumed it was a super-cool and intelligent enologist word, but when I looked it up in my handy dandy dictionary at lunch the word, misurare, means to measure. Huh. I also got to taste the different musts at varying degrees of "wine-ness" or in the different stages of fermentation. Also a word to the wise, when someone tells you to smell the air that comes out of the pipe on the side of the vat, don't think it's going to smell like must and take a big ole whiff, because it's CO2 and will knock you on your buttocks. Apparently, everyone does that the first time they're told to smell the air there. I'm going to go around and do the same things with Giulia tomorrow because I think it's interesting and I don't completely understand what all we were checking. I think we were checking sugar levels and alcohol levels and I know we were checking the temperture. Tomorrow I'll put my dictionary in my pocket. :)

All for now, I'm headed back down to the winery to see my friends and maybe weigh in some grapes.

1 comment:

  1. I looked this up and the tranlation doesn't help Donna.
    Google kept trying to change it to Madonna, as in Jesus' Mother or, the singer. Since I have to get up in about 7 hours...which I think is interesting that it is 11:30pm here, 6:30am there...If I was with you, my alarm would just be turning on...Hugs to you.