Well just when I am almost fed up with Italian traffic, bus strikes and rain, Italy has once again proven why it is in fact “un bel paese”. Now that I am working a normal job again, after all those years on ships, I have fallen back into a very protective mode over my weekends. As most of you know, my husband is only home four months a year and recently my attempts to hoard him all to myself have failed miserably. It seems that the only way I can do this is to take him out of the country!
But now that I am working almost every day, our jet-setting lifestyle has had to take a bit of a break. The closest thing I can get in terms of some alone time would be a weekend get-away to Nice or Tuscany. Not a bad deal really, the problem is getting a weekend that doesn’t already have family or friend obligations and good weather. It’s almost impossible to plan anything anymore.
I know, I probably sound like I am whining, but come on, if your spouse was only home for 8 weeks at a stretch, AND you live with his mother, wouldn’t you be adding up the weekends too? I thought that because we decided not to pick our olives this year that we would free up 4 or 5 days to go for some nice hikes and get away from the city together. Boy, was I wrong! It seems that in Italy, if you don’t pick up your own olives, you are not off the hook to help someone else pick up theirs.
Now don’t get me wrong, I actually enjoy picking olives. And helping someone else is also not something I usually shrug at either. In fact helping someone else pick up olives leaves me without the responsibility to finish what I started. I can enjoy a day of peaceful picking in the fresh air and not have to worry about who’s going to carry that 40 pound bag of olives up the hill to the car 4 days later.
Anyways, I digress. Today, the cousins gathered in the fields and picked olives. Everyone was there, the kids, dogs, neighbours, and of course us. I have to admit I was not thrilled with the idea of yet again spending a weekend with lots of people and in fact tomorrow we are expected to go back again for round two. But, I have to admit that seeing the vast sea below me, hearing church bells ring and dogs bark in the distance and having the sun warm me while I worked was not such a bad way to pass a breezy Saturday after all.
When you get that close to mother nature something miraculous happens. It’s like you stop and look around and realize that the simple things in life are the ones most worth having. Italy is a beautiful country and having a huge, extended Italian family is still all very new to me, but I can feel their sense of community which hardly exists anymore anywhere else. I am still the “outsider” of sorts only because I cannot keep up with the non-stop chattering that goes on while they work, eat and drink together. But, I was able to take some great photos of everyone and am happy to share them here in my blog.