(Written: 1/18/09, 17:54)

Today we went to an agriturismo as a sort of orientation and it was another lovely day that made me appreciate where I am. It was a farm/community center in the country and we got to learn about it in three rotating groups. At the first station, we made the pasta we would be eating for lunch with some lovely older Italian women. We actually learned to make three kinds, papardelle, taglietelle, and taglioline(?). The next station was the “orientation” part where we signed some contracts, checked in, and learned about some of the cool programs we would be offered during our time here, and the third station was a tour of the farm. We learned about all of the products they are able to produce. There are something like 65 kinds of olives that grow on the land and a bunch of different colors of legumes. We saw prosciutto drying and were told (via translator) about the traditional basket weaving and how the households used to run.

The farm had one huge house on the land. The whole family, something like 25-30 people, would sleep upstairs in the house, reporting to the head of the household which could be a man or woman but was always the most vivacious and knowledgeable person in the family and the one who demanded the most respect. The first floor was for the animals. They would sleep inside at night so that if anything was wrong, the family could hear it and tend to them. The animals would freely on the property. Especially the horses and dogs. (Definition of free range.) The seeming head of this farm, Favio, showed us a very sweet horse which he called his baby because he raised it from birth, just as the owner of the farm would have 100 years ago. When the horse was born, it couldn’t walk so Favio would feed it milk every two hours, just like a child. The horse seemed quite mischievous. In fact it was put into it’s pen because it had been nibbling on pumpkin on the front porch and somehow managed to turn the water on while it was in there so the ground was mud.

After all of our activities, we got to eat our pasta and a bunch of other awesome things, all made on the farm. During this I likened my roommates to animals (Beth- Rafiki aka Baboon, Abbie- Hamster, Stacy- Brown Bear) which was really quite amusing. They said I was an iguana which I didn’t like too much.

I think I could be perfectly happy spending my life at a place like that, living a simple life with the sole purpose of sustaining myself… I am, however, quite used to my modern amenities but given a chance, I’m sure I could adjust.

The wine and olive oil were both fantastic so of course every one wanted to buy some. They don’t normally sell their olive oil to visitors, but they happened to have some packaged up for Michael Schumacher which they sold to us. They will repackage his later, I guess. I think tonight will be another mellow night in for me, but tomorrow night is Monday Karaoke Night, so I guess I have to go out for that.

Is it even possible that I am only starting my second week here? I know there is so much more to do and see and smell and taste and feel, but as I have been saying over and over, It feels like I have been here for ages…

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