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."







27 comments:

Sarah said...

absolutely love this! it's like live blogging 'eat, pray, love.' can't wait to read more!

cdp said...

I am so enjoying reading about your travels. You rock.

fuchsiag said...

I got your req. on 20-something-bloggers. I must admit n00bitude on that site and I find regular blogs far easier to manage! I'm going to blogroll you on my wordpress one though, 'cause your blog is awesome.

Hi, by the way!

Chelsea Talks Smack said...

AHHH Sarah and CDP thank you!!!

Dude, guys, I forgot to mention in my blog that when you're feeling sick, FANTA is by no means a substitute for orange juice. I think that Italian's are confused.

Fuchsiag- HEY HEY!!! Thanks so much Im glad you ventured over here, cheers!

just me said...

I always yearn for more, though.

It's like a sickness.

Chelsea Talks Smack said...

just me- TELL ME ABOUT IT......

Tova Darling said...

Ok, so, the very first thing I thought when I read this (ok, well, the second, right after "Great post!") was how the smell of olive oil makes me gag. I would rather not be paid at all than be paid in olive oil! Gross!

Heather said...

Please tell me you are going to Cinque Terre. It is amazing and you are so close. I would be back in Montorosso in a heartbeat if I could.

Chelsea Talks Smack said...

Heather- I've been there actually and I LOVED IT. Cinque Terre is magical...I was there for a week a couple years ago.

Brooke Hughes said...

God Im so jealous of you. When I read your blog for a moment I just get lost in all that you have to say about your traveling. Thank you!

thespottedottoman.com said...

I love that you're writing about Tuscany. I was in Florence/Siena over last winter, and I just loved being there. Enjoy Munich! That's also one of my favorite places to be.

Coconut said...

I love reading your posts! You are learning so much and you will not, cannot, be the same person when you come back.

Hook up with any hot Italian men...?

Renee said...

After working my 60 hour work weeks, 7 days a week, and my hour commute with Chicago gas prices, I played hookie today... just so I could stay at home and SIT. (and cook) Jesus Christ, has this been a great day.

LJ said...

Wooow very awesome post....I can imagine and can't at the same time what Tuscany must be like.

Surfergrrl said...

Oh i love Italian food. Great post. Sometimes we all need a break from our lives to just sit and watch the world go by.

nicoleantoinette said...

I am horrible at the sitting. Which makes sense seeing as how we're, you know, the SAME.

This traveling thing is fun and all, but come back please.

ChasingParadise said...

I am so with you on how we, as Americans, constantly need to be doing SOMETHING, ANYTHING, as long as we're not sitting still. I really need to learn how to sit on my back porch and just relax. Relax, be happy. Maybe you'll know what to tell me to make this possible.

Miss Marie said...

Oh my gosh, I'm so jealous. I would cut off my left arm to go back to Italy!

It's good to be back and reading your blog again. I've missed this blogging world!

xoxo,
miss marie

Dolce said...

Chelsea, I love this post. There is nothing more I want in the world right now than sharing a bottle of wine with you!

Lauren said...

That's actually one of the things I loved and had a hard time with when in Italy. I loved relaxing during dinner. I loved that waiters didn't force you out, that you were encouraged to just SIT and relax. And at the same time, I wanted to go go go.

So i'm training myself to do both. Relax and take in the scenery, yet go when I need to.

Also, did you like Florence? I LOVED it there.

Aprille - The Muddled said...

wow - hadn't clicked over in a while. your in Europe. I hate you! I hope your having a great time letting the world teach you. Don't fight it too much! oh and post pictures. cheers

m said...

yes, but east coast isn't italy! i yearn to still go. but that is a good post about...sitting.

kokostiletto said...

wow... your trip sounds amazing!!!!!!!

Melain said...

I could really use a dose of this perspective. I feel guilty just sitting here reading, like I should be up and doing something else. Like maybe I'm missing something. I have a major drive for MORE. Thanks for the reminder to smell the roses.

Maria Maria Maria said...

I find this every time I leave this country, too. Wait, no, I find this whenever I separate myself from my usual surroundings. It's good to detach, no? I made a Wizard of Oz reference in my posting today only to look at yours and see the same. I hope you are enjoying your travels!

Chelsea Talks Smack said...

Lauren- I actually had been to Florence before and I REALLY LOVED doing all the tourist things, the museums, pnte vecchio....all of that was amazing. This time I didnt do any of that, just sort of hung out....and I still enoyed it but I'm discovering I like the smaller towns better I think? But yes Florence is wonderful.

unconventionalorigins said...

Ummm your blog gives me the travel bug in a big way!!!

 
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