Saturday, March 20, 2010

Even here, in Sicily...

Journal Entry
March 15th - Catania, Sicily

I am watching three young boys, about 10 or 11 years old, playing soccer in a pedestrian way that’s runs off the corner of some random piazza near the center of Catania. The youngest, more Indian looking and obviously the runt of the group, is stuck at goalie with the other two just unloading their hardest kicks at him. His goalie gloves are about three sizes too big for him. Big kid almost hit a lady walking by in the head with the ball! Close call. Nearby a group of older men, all with moustaches and goatees, hold bags of bread and talk about whatever relaxing subject that may come into their thoughts. They will soon have to return to their waiting wives who are slaving away in the kitchen for the evening’s meal. Until then they are content to observe the neighborhood and its people. The boys keep testing their luck, kicking the ball purposefully toward the traveler and his backpack. He seems to be writing something down. They chase a neighborhood girl with their football; she just popped out to tease them. The Arab owner of the Internet café just noticed his baby boy was brought there by his mother. He greets the infant with a large smile and gently lifts it up into the air to give him an honest look- “Has he really grown that much today?” Friendly parking police walk by and offer a pleasant smile. “Hey, kick the ball toward the foreigner again!” The gentile men continue to practice their art of people watching. A young, bearded man, with baggy dark pants, facial piercings, and a general “punk” look about him bothers a passer-by for a cigarette. Internet cafe owner stops his child from entering the street and then tosses him up into the air…the same way I imagine any father would. Stop the game- an old couple walks by- “game on!” and the tallest boy boots the ball once again. A woman on the balcony shakes out her jeans that have been drying in the still-cold spring sun. That same sun can now only be seen on a few rooftops in these evening hours. The clouds are still bright but few. The boys will keep playing all evening, but they know mom will call them in for dinner soon. Almost hit another woman walking by. A young man briskly walks down the street with his gaze down on the ground, talking on his cell phone. An old man slowly strolls down the same street behind him, taking his time. He reflects on the changes this part of town has seen over the years as he peacefully plays with the keys in his hand. The difference between generations still exists here in Sicily. The wife of the Internet café owner takes the children for an evening walk, and the father's heart aches while he dotes on them as they turn past the fountain and out of sight. Love of family still exists here in Sicily. The older kid takes the huge goalie gloves from the young Indian boy and decides to finally give it a try. In his first kick, the young runt scores on his taller counterpart. The bliss of childhood still exists, even here, in Sicily.

(My current farm, an Orange and Mandarin orchard, just north of Catania)

Monday, March 15, 2010

I feel like I'm Falling....

I must admit, for a few days there I was considering falling off of the grid and staying out of contact for a few more weeks. The freedom of not having internet, a cell phone, keys in my pocket, or even carrying my wallet around has been so gratifying I cannot begin to express it. I had a very special 3 weeks at FeudoTudia, the last Wwoofing farm that I was on. Sudhir and Gila were great hosts whose warmth grew everyday. I can honestly say that each day brought something new and interesting (and at times just plain weird). I will miss tying vines in the perfectly still hills of central Sicily, I will miss the communal meals with wwoofers and hosts all sharing experiences, I will miss the group sing song that inevitably follows when we wash dishes, I will miss the lazy afternoons and their freedom, I will miss Houdini and La Tigrota (dogs- one young loving and peppy, the latter being old, crusty, and withered). I may miss the wwoofers the most. My time at Tudia was uniquely divided into two parts- the Vermont Girls/Cesco half, and the 6 boys all-star crew. Some of those great wwoofers may follow closely behind us to our next farm, and I cannot wait to continue to make more memories and concentrated awesomeness with them.
But at last, as the title of this blog originally intended, things must change. We move on, our surroundings change, and, if we are doing things right, we change. I am changing and the process is great. Of course my essential self will always be who/what it is, but there are some subtle internal changes happening in me that I hoped would happen when I set out on this trip. No, mom and dad, I have not figured out what I want to do with my life…sorry. I have, however, accepted the fact that I don’t need to figure it all out at age 24 and that- guess what- I may NEVER figure it out! The key for me is enjoying how I pass the time trying to figure out this big mess of life. Many of these changes may not be tangible or quantifiable, but I feel they could be leading me closer to being myself, knowing what that is, and being happy with it.
Other thoughts: I am really enjoying sharing this experience with Curt. Especially right now. This last week, home sickness has officially set in. I know this feeling and I know it all too well. My daily thoughts turn from wherever I am and its beauty and awesomeness to my friends and family and wondering what they are doing or wishing they were there with me. “Hmm, mom and dad are just getting up for work right now. Probably a boring ol’ Tuesday, they might very well be scratching the ice off of their windshield at this very moment.” Or “Oh man, Kale is at that show right now!! Man I wish I could be there shaking my thing with him on the floor.” Or “darn, today is ______ birthday!” or “I wonder if grandma and grandpa are bickering over which TV channel to watch or the temperature of the heater.” Anyways, in a time when I am fully appreciating the gravity of my homesickness, it is nice to be able to knock on Curt’s door and ask for a hug. He is like a little pinch of home that I take with me everywhere. He reminds me of the wonderful life and people that I have left behind to explore the world and myself a little. Each day I get to see more and more of exactly how special he is and how true, warm, and open his character is. I feel fortunate to be here, doing what I am, with such a great person. Thanks buddy.
All mushy and warm feelings aside, my beard is finally getting pretty gnarly. By gnarly, I mean it looks like Abe Lincoln’s neck beard at age 13. Can’t win ‘em all!
I love and miss everyone and I will try to post a picture blog soon of my new farm!!

Upcoming Agenda:
New Wwoofing farm in Paterno, Sicily. March 15- April 4th
2 day layover in Pisa. Probably visit Florence as well. April 4-6th.
Visit our best friend Steve doing the Peace Corpse in Morocco. April 6-18ish.
2 Day layover in Madrid. Visit a few friends. April 18-20ish.
Return to Wwoofing farm in Ireland. Spend a week working and visiting Irish friends. April 20-27th.
Fly home. Hug family. Happily ever after. April 27th.
Summer Begins…

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

This will tide you over...

Unfortunately I do not have time to write an elaborate blog about my recent adventures Wwoofing here in Sicily, but I did want to poast a few pics with brief explanations. I must say, I have felt more alive in these past few weeks than I have in a very long time. I only wish I had all of my family and friends here to share it with me. I guess Curt will have to do for now :) I love you all and MISS YOU!

My last weekend in Ireland Curt and I went with a friend, Tricia, up to Northern Ireland. This is me next to the Giants Causeway. I took so many pictures of these weird little rock formations. You can't see them as much here, but I thought I'd give you a quick shot of what ol' Halskies is looking like now-a-days :)

Our last day on the farm in Ireland, Curt and I played on the trampoline with Rosa. She cried when we left, and we were very sad to leave. We will return to our friends in Ireland for about 1 week in the end of April before we return to the states.

This is the farm and the rolling hills of Tudia, my current farm in Sicily. It is so green, quiet, and expansive here. Everyday I look out and cannot believe how my life has brought me here to this moment. I am so grateful for it.

These are all of the Wwoofers breaking from work for lunch. It was a big happy family of 4 girls and 1 guy from Vermont, 1 Belgium guy, 1 French guy, and Curt and Myself representing Seattle. Now the 5 Vermont folks have taken off and it is just the four of us guys, I must say they are incredibly fun to be around.

A dinner with the hosts (pictured at the end). Salute! Cin cin.

The view I wake up to every morning, and the vineyards that I am currently pruning, pulling, and tieing to the trellace system.
Curt on a hill hike. We just about take one everyday:)

Thats about all I have time for right now. In 1.5 weeks Curt and I will move to another farm near the coast of Sicily and then we must plan out a way to pissibly visit my friend Steve in Morocco. I miss everyone and trust that even though I am having a very valuable and rewarding experience abroad, I often think about those in my life that I love so very much.


ps-check out the website of my current farm,

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