I started to write about my trip to Rome, but I kept having to include details about the people I work with and our normal schedule. Therefore, here is a post dedicated to daily life at Via Piana. Let me know if I excluded anything.
Besides our host, Anna, I'm currently working with two other volunteers. Ross and Lauren are a couple who met each other working at a place in the Grand Canyon. They’ve been over here in Italy and Switzerland for about six months (Ross a bit longer than Lauren) and had lots of different experiences. They’ve been very kind in sharing their experiences and showing me the way things work around here. It was neat to hear about some of the other Workaway gigs they’ve had, ranging from awful to awesome. Most were good.
They are leaving this coming Tuesday, the 12th, which is why I
They are leaving this coming Tuesday, the 12th, which is why Idecided to visit Rome last week while I knew there would still be other people to cover the work. I'll make other trips later as opportunity arises. Turns out that Jessica Fox might be in Italy during July (for her nanny job) and I’m going to try to visit her. It is so cool that we might meet on a foreign continent. Is it not cool? I’m definitely planning to visit Pompeii (and will definitely bring a sun-umbrella after getting burned in the Roman Forum yesterday). I am even getting my nerve up to visit Naples.
I really want to visit Napoli, especially as a fan of Michael Buble singing “Buona Sera”, but it’s not one of the safer cities in Italy. Some have told me to avoid it at all costs, some have told me to go in a group, other just say just don’t wander around aimlessly. A lady staying here at the b&b recently got robbed in Naples. Her purse was actually cut from her body; but it was after she left her hotel in the late evening and had withdrawn a lot of money from the Bancomat. Easy target, right? I should be able to avoid that if I already have money with me. I mainly want to go to one place: the National Archaeological Museum of Naples. It’s supposed to have more Pompeiian stuff than Pompeii itself. Anna thinks I should go. So that’s three more trips in the next three weeks: Naples, Pomepeii, and Jessi.
I guess I won't make any trips until the end of next week, since from the 12th-16th I’m supposed to be helping to teach English to Italian school kids. The idea was shared with me last week by Antonello, the guy who actually owns the b&b (Anna just manages it). Seems he’s always getting good ideas. But this one, I don’t know about. He expects me to know a little Italian to communicate with the kids. Very optimistic, if you ask me, but I have been practicing my conjugations. I know the verbs “to stay”, “to be”, “to do”, “to have”, “to give”, “to want”, “to go”, “to have to”, “to drink”, and maybe a few more in the present tense (presente). And I sort of know the perfect tense (passato prossimo). I know numbers and days of the week and a few months of the year and how to tell time and a few conversation openers – but I really can’t hold a conversation.
Antonello’s dad, Giuseppe (great name, eh?) cannot speak any English, so he’s a good one to make me practice Italian. I’m too intimidated to go over to the farm where they live, though, unless Anna is with me. She is very encouraging and helps me with Italian a lot. She is so good at languages! German is her native language, being from Austria, but she of course studied English in school, as well as Italian (and has been practicing Italian for a few years) and French. Oh, and six years of Latin. And ancient Greek. She went to a school that specialized in languages. I am jealous.
Most of the work (besides my first day here, when I helped to translate the menu of a local restaurant into English) has been physical or practical. There has been lots of sanding. Sanding rust off metal fixtures on a door (to be treated with an anti-rust coating), sanding an old wooden door (to be treated with anti-termite solution and then stained), and now sanding rusty railings (to be varnished). Beyond renovations, there are lots of plants that need to be watered (a garden with great lettuce and little chile plants, as well as herbs and cacti growing on the terrace) and animals that need to be cared for. Every day we feed the chickens with all our food scraps, supplemented by corn and wheat meal. We also feed the ducks and carry them down the steep hill to the stream (that is slowly drying up) behind the house. Soon their little chicken house will need to be cleaned. Gross.
Usually we just work for three hours, starting at 8:30 or 9 and ending at 11:30 or 12. Then we prepare and eat lunch, then a long siesta for the hot hours of the afternoon. This makes me think of the “quiet time” we always had growing up, when we were deposited in separate rooms and had to find some quiet activity (napping, reading, coloring, listening to records very quietly…I think the last was a luxury, actually) for an hour after lunch. There were times I hated it, but now it seems like a great idea! So that’s what we do, each on our own either take a nap, read, or work on the computer. Then we do usually do some activity such as hiking, shopping, walking into town, or the like. Later in the evening we eat dinner (usually no sooner than 7 and no later than 10).
Today I’m going to do my laundry, then all three of us are going to do some extra work to make up for day trips we each have taken while Anna cooks dinner. Then we’re going to go to a jazz festival in town. They literally have some sort of festival every night in July in this area. We went to a folk-ish festival last Saturday and I took a video of the music. I’ll try to post it later.
Hopefully that gives you a better idea of my day-to-day life here. Every day is the same, no breaks on Saturday or Sunday which is a little strange. I’ve thought about trying to go to church, but last week it was a bit much to find a local church within walking distance and the schedule besides. We’ll see what I can do in the coming weeks. Counting tomorrow there are four more Sundays to try. And three more weeks in Italy – how amazing!