We took a trip to the sea today! It was the Mediterranean (also known as the Tyrrhenian Sea which, as my 10th grade students may remember, was sailed by Aeneas and his men on their way to Italy) and the water was so, so, so blue. How is it so blue? I really don’t know. Maybe it goes along with how clear it is. The weather was also very nice – sunny and not too hot. I may have stayed out in the sun a little too long, but just a little. I went out swimming two or three times, took lots of pictures, studied my book of Italian Vocabulary. I learned the words for many insetti, frutte, e verdure (insects, fruits, and vegetables). I tried to pick things that I see most often, and both insects and food are involved in much of my day.
Thankfully, insects are not quite so involved as last year. For one thing, the common room now has a piece of clear plastic across the big window. (Some might remember the picture of it from last year. Actually, you can probably still click on that photo album link to see it.) It was a little sad at first, but I’ve gotten used to the sight and I think it does help keep the insects down – as do the scores of ragni (spiders) which make their homes here.
Another factor eliminating my exposure to zanzare (mosquitoes) and other pests is the fact that my accommodations were upgraded from last year’s ancient unfinished kitchen to a genuine guest room. This is due to Anna’s kindness, another volunteer’s use of my old room, and ultimately a rather slow season. I’ve been here four and a half days and we’re just getting our first guests. It’s nice to have guests, because that means my work has a bit more variety. Instead of sanding rusty metal for hours on end (okay, only three hours) I get to make breakfast and do dishes and clean rooms. It may seem routine, but it’s nice for a change.
A couple of people are leaving tomorrow. I really should do a post of all the people I’ve met. It’s one of the best things about being here – talking to these people who’ve come from all around. I think that the majority of people I talk to here in Italy are not Italian (which might explain why my language acquisition is not going as quickly as it could – maybe that will change when I am in Sicily).
Besides Anna, the Austrian girl who manages Via Piana, there’s another Austrian guy who’s a long-time traveler and been here for three weeks, Anna’s friend from Austria who’s visiting until tomorrow, the Welsh girl who’s been volunteering here for nearly five months now, the Welsh girl’s friend who’s also leaving tomorrow, a French guy who volunteers at both Via Piana and the farmstay, a British guy who has volunteered at both places off and on for a long time, and a Dutch girl whose name I can’t remember because I only met her once and she works at the farmstay. I don’t usually think of these people paired with their nationalities like that, but sometimes it’s interesting to sum up and see the wide variety that we really are.
Nice fact about Italian culture: I got a cappuccino today for only €0,90 (about $1.28) and it was delicious.