It’s November and as I sit in my kitchen with smoke wafting in from Marinella’s woodstove, I hear the echo of the words of one of my dear friends in New York… “the stores have Christmas decorations and your last entry was June.”
I know I have been extremely out of touch, but only because I was working at the winery like a fiend this entire season. I opened and served more wine that I thought humanly possible and gave so many tours that by October I was wondering if they were still interesting. My mind was put at ease by one visitor who wrote in the guestbook: “Best tour since the Vatican.”
My last day in fact was Friday so I now have plenty of time on my hands as well as a good splash of panic as the winter looms ahead. The good news is that it was great season and I had work that gave me a lot of pleasure. The grape harvest finished and the olive harvest began. I just sampled the new oil last night, freshly pressed from the harvesting of last weekend with friends Adrian and Gill. It is delicious. Which made me start thinking about all the things here in Tuscany that I love and although the road has been a poor one, how I have found pleasure in even the simplest things. I still don’t have my citizenship, but I have planted some roots here and in my heart if not on paper, I am becoming Italian.
You know you’re becoming Italian when…
You take inordinate delight in the olive harvest, carefully gathering every last olive because you know that after they are pressed you will feast on a deep green, spicy oil that awakens your mouth and makes you feel one with the earth.
You can tell the difference between the Vino Nobile produced by Poliziano and all other wineries.
You take pleasure in hanging out the laundry during the summer knowing that it will dry crisp and fragrant from the hot Tuscan sun.
You are resolved to having damp clothes in the winter because the sun has gone south for the winter and his cousin, the fog has moved in.
You find it wasteful if you have a light on or something plugged in when not in use.
You don’t cringe when you are dining with friends and they serve you tripe, or tongue.
You have abandoned some of your obsessive tendencies and learned to eat pork sausage without cooking the hell out of it.
You get excited for the first walnut of the season so you can make your wish.
Hearing sirens is an oddity and brings immediate concern for your older neighbors.
Scarves have become a major part of your wardrobe.
You carry a twenty tucked in your wallet for taxi fare in the event of an unplanned bus or train strike.
You know your bra and shoe sizes without looking up the conversion.
You can make bread or pizza dough without measuring ingredients and it is delicious.