First of all, I should note that the long awaited work permit finally arrived and I gladly hopped on the nauseating bus to Siena to claim it. I tried not to mask my disappointment that it expires in six months, which means I’m going to have to go through this whole process again all too soon. On the plus side, we pressed the hot-off-the-presses card into action with some work at Poliziano, a full week last week and three days this week. The tourists are still pouring in and I’m happily serving up wine and educating them as best I can on the vino, as well as giving them tours of the cantina. I was like a little kid as the merlot grapes began to be harvested last week and I got to show off the de-stemming machine with actual grapes in it. I must say to be involved in this way is much more pleasant than actually snipping grapes. Not sure if I will do that this year, taking it a week at a time.
In other work news, I did my first stint as a translator for a weekend. Not Italian to English, which you’ll remember I did for a cooking class last year. But English to Italian! Anyone who knows me can tell you that I don’t have an artistic bone in my body. Yes, I write and I like to cook, but that is creative not artistic. Art involves skill and as I quickly learned lots of vocabulary in Italian which up until now, I had no use for and therefore no exposure to. Franca, the artist who organized the class assured me that my Italian was sufficient and that the American artist coming to teach the class didn’t speak a word of Italian so my English was needed. Okay, they were desperate so I agreed to give it a go.
It was actually a really fun experience. It was a class of about ten students who were learning “country art,” the type of primitive, kind of cutesy stuff that is popular with my mom and apparently a bunch of Italians. Who knew? It was a bit slow going as the teacher, Terrye, who was from Oklahoma, was sweet as could be and a great artist but, as she freely admitted, wasn’t an experienced teacher. This made translating what she was doing a bit hard since I had no idea… She said, “Do what you like” a lot, which became the running joke of the course. Fai come ti pare! It all worked out in the end and I enjoyed my time with the whole gang. Also Franca the organizer and her husband Paolo were wonderful hosts and cooks so we all had fabulous meals over the course of the weekend. My brain was tired at the end of each day, but it was a great experience and I’m glad I did it. Still don’t have an artistic bone, but at least now I can tell you a little about how it’s done…in Italian.