Sometimes all you need is a new perspective in order to appreciate life. Going from the hustle and bustle of the American lifestyle to the slow and drawn out living of Italians was a new one for me. Every day the sun peeks over the mountains, bringing life to the land at five in the morning. That's all fine and dandy, but when you have been awake for more than twenty-four hours, you resent it. That gosh dang sun couldn't wait a couple of hours for me to get situated into my new home and acclimatize with the seven hour difference. But that was not the point. The sun was there to remind me that the trip of a lifetime had begun and that no matter what, I was going to love every second of it. If there is anything that describes an afternoon in Italy, there is none other than gelato. It is akin to a snowcone in Texas, where the heat plus the sweet, icy, deliciousness that is gelato completely melts your heart. When we went to get gelato after class, the whole town had shut down. Apparently the Italians take siestas in the afternoon, except there is an Italian term for it that I don't know. The gelateria that was closest to the center was a victim of the siesta plague, so we had to find a new place to engorge frozen sugar water. Down the hill just a tad was another place that had not closed, so we decided to stop in and give it a try. Upon entry, I noticed they had a gelato flavor named “100% nut”. I wondered what type of nuts were in this mystery nut concoction, so I took a taste test. Turns out the Italians like to shorten words just like Texans do; nut= nutella.
So turns out there is a bit of America in Italy! Agave americana, that is. The century plant is a succulent that is native to parts of Mexico and Texas. The agaves are monocarpic, which means once they flower and set seeds, they die. A sad fact, but there is also beauty in senescence. The huge stalks of the agave are a monument in themselves. Sometimes they can reach to impressive heights, towering at twenty six feet. There are tons of these century plants scattered around the landscape here in Italy, reminding me that no matter how far away from the United States I am, I will always find fragments of home in the unlikeliest of places.
And with that, I leave you with a bit of (sassi)ness. (vietato gettare sassi translates to “do not throw stones”)
-Ciao from the one and only Keith… Just kidding there are two of us. This is Keith Tamborello