Thursday, October 2, 2008
There's NO place like HOME
Tuscany is intoxicating. Literally, I drank two bottles of wine for lunch.
No, but as I lay on a lawn chair at the top of a mountain and all I could hear was the buzzing of foreign bugs I did my best to settle into what "peace" is supposed to feel like. I was one of five people staying in a 50something room villa in the quietest, smallest part of Tuscany (Loro to be exact) and I still couldn't lay in bed and comfortably fall asleep. My brain wouldn't let me. It's as if I've become to accustomed to the American way of "busying" ourselves, that relaxing even on this trip, (which is certainly not something most responsible working people would do) I couldn't let myself enjoy just BEING.
So, I tried meditating. Nope, didn't work. I tried doing some jumping jacks so I'd waken by body just enough for it to get tired, nope....that didn't work either. I tried falling in love with Tuscany so much that I pulled a Diane Lane (aka Frances Mayes) and bought my own damn villa. Instead, I couldn't stop thinking about...everything else.
So I turned on CNN and ended up throwing ridiculously fat purple grapes at the TV screen when Sarah Palin came on until I lost the signal and was forced to go outside and just SIT. Oh, twist my arm....fine. I kicked the wall with my leather boot when I found out there was only limited internet and I threw my fists in the air like, "Dear Jesus, why does Tuscany not come fully equipped with wireless???"
Fine, fine fine fine. I'll effin' SIT.
I sat....and listened, listened to the nothingness and watched the tiny lizards crawl in and out of the cobblestone and chase well fed flies and bumblebee's. The Tuscan sun tanned the left side of my face and the tomatoes that tasted like HEAVEN mixed with sugar, grown in only the finest soil of HEAVEN, filled up my belly. I told the universe right then that I'd be happy living on tomatoes for the rest of my life if they tasted like that and to please let me nap, then after tasting the fresh olive oil grown in the soil I was trying to let my feet sink into, I started to understand the sitting....the quiet pleasure of sitting.
Sitting, whether I was in Tuscany or New York, Los Angeles or Denver, was something that I needed to LEARN to enjoy.
Maybe I did need to fly across the country to figure that out??
Later in the evening after wine tasting, Maura our wonderful host revealed the strangest piece of information.....the workers that pick the olives aren't paid in Euro's.....they're paid in, wait for it, OLIVE OIL. People here WORK for OLIVE OIL?!?! No wonder they aren't worried about wireless....they're currency comes in the form of a different type of green.
Tuscany is where everything closes from 1-4 and businesses shut down sometimes from Sept. until April. Tuscany is where the base to any meal is a pound and a half of olive oil, which I learned in my TUSCAN COOKING CLASS!!! (AH!) and where their idea of a great meal is a five hour ten course meal that requires a barrel to roll you back to your room.
On the fourth day I learned that this is the way these people live...simply and comfortably. They don't worry about tomorrow, wireless connection?, or being "connected" at all, they're proud and happy to be "Typico Toscane" I heard this phrase a lot.
Napping is expected and wine is meant to be consumed by the gallon. Sunflowers and poppies grow wildly and horses roam without fences. When everything is closed you snack on proscuitto and gather in the street to watch strange tourists (like myself) look around for "something."
I checked out of my villa, headed to Munich and of course as I approached Florence....I felt my body getting queasy.....the olive oil, the 29 pounds of bread, risotto, crostini, linguine and honey covered croissants started to form a super power against me and procedeed to MUNCH on my insides until I was now KARMICALLY FORCED, to sit. Or actually, become practically immobile...so much so that I had to rent a hotel room in Florence for the evening or I would have had a heinous eight hour ride to Munich that could have possibly included a little bit of vomit.
Tuscany taught me now, as I SIT thinking; that though it may not be a lifestyle I'm used to, people all around the world are enjoying JUST WHERE THEY'RE AT. They don't yearn to leave, they love their towns and their ways....they're insane olive oil and the fact that their idea of eating vegetables is having Funghi pasta or tomatoes and mozzarella.
People all over are SITTING, contently while so many of us run a muck, through muck or with MUCK in our stomachs trying to find the perfect spot to BE content.
The more I travel and the more I'm learning is that maybe it is "ok" for all of us to not NEED to yearn for more, more, MORE all the time.....maybe there really is "no place like home."