Okay, all the labels have been stuck, all the boxes have been made, and the warehouse has been swept up. It's the last day of the harvest so there will be no tractors to weigh...I think it's safe to blog now...
We left off with last Saturday night when I was going to go to the San Giovanni's town fair again. Dani came to pick me up around 4pm on Saturday afternoon and we spent the evening shopping in a smaller (but still a mall) shopping center along the autostrada (like a toll road). I found one thing that I abosolutely had to have, a blue scarf, and it was a good thing I bought it because that night at the fair was probably the coldest night I've seen here so far. I had on three shirts, a coat, a scarf, of course pants, socks, and shoes, and I was STILL cold. We were there until about 2am when I finally got to go back home and warm up with a hot cup of tea! Before we went to the fair that night we went again to the pizzeria for one of her friend's birthday where I heard again the familiar birthday tune, only this time i realized what they were saying! "Tanto auguri a te, tanto auguri a te, tanto auguri aaaaa te, tanto auguri a te." Which is their way of saying congratulations, you're a great person, best wishes...so on and so forth.
Sunday was not entirely a day of rest. First it was a day of delicious food and wine. Dani came to pick me up at 11am (a horrible hour after staying up until 3am) and she and I went to have lunch with our friend Augusto at his sister's house. The house was just as beautiful as the family that was living in it. It had a beautiful view and it was just contemporary enough while still upholding a great Italian house floorplan. I found out later that Augusto's brother in law is an architech and had designed the house himself. We had lunch for about 4 hours. We started with an appetizer of something similar to a kiesh but made with phyllo dough rather than a crust. It had eggs, cheese, smoked salmon, and tiny blue seasme seeds. It was accompanied by a local prosecco. Then we had the first plate which was tortellini stuffed with asparagus, artichokes, and cheese, and with a very light sauce (almost like water with cornstarch added, but delicious)with mushrooms, and the mushrooms here are always fresh and exotic. This was topped with grated cheese (grana) and served with a local Chardonnay. The chardonnay was very light bodied and sparkling of all things! Good, but tasted more like a sweet reisling to me than a Chradonnay. Then we took a smoke break (for those who smoke and also to wait on the meat to smoke in the outside brick oven). They cooked chicken and beef kabobs on the grill. There was also a salad that looked liek it included chicken, cabbage, and carrots all cooked together in almost a stew style. For me, there was more of those amazingly delicious mushrooms, just slimy enough, peas, a soft local cheese that was just a little firmer than brie and not quite as rich but just as delightful, and fresh hot bread. This was all accompanied by a Montepulcciano d'Abruzzo, the only wine that day that wasn't from the Veneto. This Montepulcciano was heavy than the ones I've tasted at Vino but still had the same delicious flavors. After the second plate there was a round of tiny coffee made from the built-in expresso machine. Then for dessert there were crossiants filled with, what else?, Nutella served with a Recioto d' Valpolicella that had the same berry flavors as a Port but wasn't as strong (I'll say that's probably due to the lack of the added Brandy in the Recioto). AFTER THAT (by this time I needed a nap and to be rolled out of the house) there was another round of tiny coffee this time with an assortment of disgestifs, there was the noramal suspect Grappa (ew), another liquor that smells like a very strong Rum and Coke (also ew), and a Prune liquor that makes you think ew, but really was just pretty darn sweet and not horrible. I went home and slept for 5 hours...that is not a joke.
Monday through Friday, litterally all week, I have been in the warehouse. I don't mind the warehouse so much anymore as I used to because now it's cold outside and the cold Cantina is even colder. I'd rather be sticking labels to bottles while listening to my Mp3 player than freezing to death while washing out a tank. I've been going home all week at 6 because mostly it's cold, I'm tired, and cranky and hungry by 6 and Antonio continues to come back from the Cantina at 11pm...no way am I waiting around for that bus. I actually even went home early one day this week. My sinuses were killing me because the weather changed so rapidly, I was waiting on more wine to be bottled so I could stick them with labels and fulfill my order, I was sleepy...man was I sleepy. I went to the house at 3, sat down in the chair and didn't move until 6 when I woke up because Rada, the Salvick lady who cleans Antonio's house had come to tell me goodbye. Tonight marks my last Friday in Roncá so I'm spending it with my friend Daniela. I'm not sure what we'll do, other than have dinner at her house, we may not do anything, but at least I won't be at the house by myself under my covers becasue it's the only warm place there is in the place!
Now just for some fun things-
One night my friend made me bread pizzas. Pieces of bread some topped with homemade tomato sauce, fresh mozzerella cheese, and basil, and the others topped with mozzerella cheese and fresh rosemary picked from the back garden. All cooked right on the grills of the tiny oven (seriously what happens when an Italian wants to cook a soufflé?). These were delightful, simple and delightful. And Lindy, if you're reading, I had to say it but they sure beat the heck out of our bread pizzas made in the microwave with prego sauce and kraft cheese. :)
One night at the fair I heard the Beach Boys come on over the load speakers, and I was really excited because I love all of their songs. My friend, who loves the USA, said he had NEVER heard of the Beach Boys before....WHAT?! I can't believe he'd never heard of the first American Boy Band, and they sing about California all the time, and he loves California. I told him he was crazy, and quickly made sure he knew who the Beatles were. I think he might be recieving a Beach Boys CD for his birthday. Haha!
One night I had kind of a rough evening (the same day I went home early and slept for three hours) and I was writing about it in my journal. The particular journal I have right now was given to me by my good friend when I was in Costa Rica. She gave me this journal because mine was stolen, along with all of my other belongings, and she had a spare. Before giving me the journal she went through and wrote the locations of her favorite Bible verses. I saw one at the bottom of the page I was writing on and decided I'd try to find a Bible and see what that particular verse said. I found a Bible...and Italian Bible, in Italian. *At this point my brain replayed a scence from right before I left the states: My sister looked at me and said, "Rachel, are you sure you don't want to take even one of those little Bibles with you?" I answered, "No, no, I don't think I can make it fit, and besides I'm sure there will be one there." * What on Earth made me think that my Italian host would have a Bible in English? Sarah, you were right. BUT I went ahead and started to find and translate Bible verses that my friend had written down for me. It would take me at least 30 minutes per verse to locate the book, translate the words, figure out the placement of pronouns = figure out who was talking to whom, and then I would write it all down once I realized it was a verse I'd been hearing my entire life. :) After I achieved the first translation, it was a verse that helped to put me in a better mood, I thought to myself, "The Lord speaks in mysterious ways..." and then I laughed out loud for about 5 minutes...the Lord had in fact spoken in a mysterious way, Italian! I got both a great Bible study and a great Italian lesson that night thanks to my friend, thanks Kristin!
I've racked up the running to twice a week now. I feel it wakes me up in the mornings when all I really want to do is lay under my warm covers. Not to worry, I'm not in depression or anything, it's just stinking cold outside (and inside the house even) and man are those covers cozy! Anywho, one morning on my run was particularily eventful. I started out on my normal course and headed up the hill to see Ma Donna...only when I got up close to the statue to see if there was a name or maybe something I could use as a clue to what it was for I realized...Ma Donna ain't no Donna. It's a friar, a monk, a DUDE. Oops. I was laughing as I turned around the start my favorite part of the run, downhill, and when I looked up there was standing an older lady in her cotton night gown, white bucket in one hand, LIVE CHICKEN in the other. She had this look on her face like, she'd never seen anything like me before, like I was some kind of alien running by her house. I was thinking, "Lady what are you staring at? You're the one with a chicken squirming around in your hand. I'm justing running up the hill in cold weather with purple pants, a beige fleece jacket, and a red stocking cap complete with fuzzy pom pom on top..." Okay, maybe I was the crazier one of the two. As I headed down the hill I was almost hit by a car that had sped around the corner. Luckily I was aware of my surroundings and darted out of the way. On this car's way back down the hill it was more attentive. I noticed this car was full of kids and it seemed to be a type of carpool. So I thought to myself..."Huh, I haven't seen any schools around here, I wonder where it is..." No sooner had I reached the bottom of the hill and turned to the right to head into the town of Roncá did I find the answer to my question. I ran right into a swarm of kids and parents and crossing gaurds and craziness...I very quickly ran out of the caos. At least I had the answer to my question. As I headed through the town I realized that it was the first time I'd seen people out and about in the square during the day. Unfortunetly everyone I saw seemed to have caught the staring diesase. So I would smile and wave hoping they'd get the hint and at least wave...sometimes they did, sometimes they didn't, and sometimes they'd do a half wave and look at me like, "Do I know you?" After running out of the town and back into the town and on my way to the Cantina I can to a long stretch of straight road. One the other side of this straight road was a tractor...I couldn't help by see myself in the seen from Footloose where the two tractors are playing Chicken on the old farm road. Lucky for me I didn't have to dive out of the tractor's way when we actually met, I just ran on along beside it and waved at the farmer as I passed (he waved back, usually the famers do). After passing the tracor I had another moment of "Awwww Italy is so beautiful" while I was running towards the vineyard covered hillsides with vineyards on either side of me in all the vines glowing in the morning sun...beautiful. I'm sad it's about time to leave my lovely Roncá, but I'm excited for the journies to come.
So plans as of now are this (and you should keep up with these because more than likely most than one of the trips will be moved or changed, shortened or lengthned...always open to ideas and suggestions for the best way to fit more in):
October 22nd I leave the Cantina, my friends, Antonio's house, and Ma Donna who isn't a donna and I head to Cinque Terre where I will meet up with a friend that i know from my study abroad in Costa Rica who goes to school in Rome. From here I will go to visit my friend Colleen and her family and help them harvest olives and make olive oil! I'm not sure how long this will take, but after I will head to Rome to stay with my friend. He and I plan to go to see Florence, Pompei, and Isle of Caprí before he and I fly together to visit another friend that I met in Costa Rica in Budapest Hungary. From here I have a couple of options. I can try to squeeze France in and go to visit my friend there who just had a baby. I can do this by cutting my Hungary trip short or by cutting my visit back here to Veneto before I go home short. Or I can cut the trip back here out completely and head to France from Hungary and possibly spend a few extra days in Madrid before I leave... at this point it's hard to say what will happen with this part of the trip, but if you keep reading you'll find out! ;)
That's all for now. I'm going to try to upload some new photos, no promises though because this computer is old and may not function quite as nicely as I hope it will. Ciao for now!