la mia casa

In response to a request, I am dedicating this post to explaining my living situation/host family.  First, a picture of the house:

 They bought this land in 1998 after finishing university in Milan. That purple bit on the right is the original structure.  Paolo built the entire red structure, which is pretty impressive.   The window third in from the purple building is where I sleep :).  Maybe I’ll take a picture, but it’s very open and full of sunshine and high ceilings.  The green doors lead to the wine-making room (seriously, there has got to be a better name for this).  You can see my shadow in this picture, I’m standing right between the grape vines and hazelnut orchard.

Far off to the right corner is a lovely swimming pool where Anna likes to do laps every evening before dinner.  That lady is strooooong.  Possibly (definitely) stronger than Paolo.  Also, it’s important to note that everyone here calls swimming ‘bathing’.  I think I’ve heard that before, but it grosses me out a bit.  I’m just imagining bars of soap and shampoo suds floating around people in the ocean.

Yes – those are solar panels on their roof.  They are used to power the washing machines (clothes and dishes) and for a lot of the electricity in the WWOOF rooms.  I’d also like to mention that this family recycles EVERYTHING.  We are responsible for setup and cleanup of dinner and I have yet to throw anything away.  All food scraps go into a bin for compost.  Any packaging goes into the recycling bin for either plastic or paper.  And there is very little packaging since all of the vegetables and fruits we’ve eaten come from their garden.  I would say only the breakfast packages end up in the trash can.  This could all be due to the high cost of actually having trash to remove, but I think that may only be a small part of it.  Everything in this home has a cycle.  We recycle food to make compost to fertilize the gardens/vines -> we grow the gardens -> we eat the food -> we recycle.  Ok, I’m on a hippie tangent, but it’s all very feel-good for me haha.

Not seen in the picture, but not far off to the right of the swimming pool, is their garden.  Here are some pictures of that:

Eggplant!  Or Aubergine as everyone else calls it.

Strawberries!  Or fragola in italiano.

Fig tree!  WOOOO, the star of the hour, evening, last few days.  Those green ones aren’t ripe yet, but once they turn purple, we cut them down from the tree and nom.  Giovanni would love these since they’re green. (Fig is Fico in italiano)

But more about my hosts:  Paolo has advanced degrees in oeneology and agriculture, Anna has a degree in food science.  My type of people!  There are two children, Giovanni and Maria (three and six).  Giovanni crosses his arms when he doesn’t get what he wants, and everyone, including little Maria will take one look at his cute little frown and laugh.  It’s hysterical.  It only makes him grumpier but I seriously can’t help but crack up.

They have one dog and one cat.  The cat looks a lot like my adoptive cat, Waffles.  He’s all black and has just a white little tuft of fur on his chest.  The dog.  Ohhhh, the dog.  Arco is his name, and scaring the bejeezes out of me is his game.  Last night I went for a run.  I started in the hazelnut grove, and then grabbed a road that led back to the house.  Every few seconds I’d hear some gravel crunching behind me and I’d turn around to find no one there.  I felt like that girl in a horror film who is running while looking behind her only to fall into a hole or run directly into the villain.  Only it was still sunny outside, and a harmless little dog that can’t resist rolling around in clover is my villain.  As I rounded a corner he burst out of the hedges lining the road, with what could have been a smile on his little dog face.  I nearly peed my pants I was so scared.  I chased him back to the house.  He won.  I thought I’d outsmart him by ratting him out to Paolo, but he just said that Arco can come with me since it’s good for him to get exercise.

Now to hide my embarrassment, please see below for a picture of me being strong and not so willy nilly that a dog could make me scream like a school girl:

Look at those muscles!

Here’s some pictures of grapes and me holding them:

I look ridiculous in this picture.  But you try holding grapes and not looking awkward while doing it.  Sheesh.

Today I learned a Trini slang term.  “Lime”.  It means relax.  So I’m going to say good night and go get my liming on.




4 thoughts on “la mia casa

  1. Julianne, I’m so happy to see where you are with the great pics you provided! This way when I think of you (often) I can imagine you doing your chores much clearer. I was surprised that the hazel nut tree is more like a bush. How old do the trees have to be before they bear a nut? (that comment doesn’t sound quite right but you know what I mean)
    I have to tell you, I don’t think you know this but nutella is a food group. I know this fact, cause on realizing my recently purchased jar was quickly disappearing and needing to know why-so I checked the new food pyramid put out by the government and yup nutella was listed right next to proteins-in a block all its own…Imagine that!!! Needless to say I was VERY HAPPY! Love your blog-keep’em coming

  2. Phew! If cynthia=madre=true, I’m glad I got to the “madre” part before making a comment about the comment that didn’t sound quite right!

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