Monday, July 30, 2012

A delight to the senses

This post was written over several days, starting three Wednesdays ago. 

The endless, occasionally disruptive chorus of cicadas (I’m thinking of morning meditation today, when I chose my meditation practice over perpetuating the functionality of my eardrums). Charles chanting post-lunch to break the silence that we humans impose on ourselves for one lunch per week. The sweet breeze swooping in almost silently to provide some respite from the ongoing heat that has yet to be broken by any precipitation in over a month. The occasional yip from our canine companion who shares the ups and downs of our day with us. This is what 13:34 on a Wednesday at the Art Monastery sounds like.

Of course, there is also the constant breathtaking visual of the surrounding hills, the fig leaves that delicately shelter the ripe figs from the sweltering heat, the chairs nestled between an opening in the trees that overlook the valley, beckoning to any visitor to pause and ponder the grandeur of this landscape that envelops us. 

Finally, one cannot ignore the fading tickle of our tastebuds having just been tantalized and awakened by Emma’s casually outstanding meal of vegetable chow mein for lunch. Sure, we may be in Italy, but Emma has found an enchanting way of replicating (foreign) tastes of home with local ingredients and those that have been imported, thanks to our discovery of a multicultural grocery store squeezed between the bus station and the train station in Terni—a key location, it seems, given the constant transit of foreigners in that part. Though the produce at this store varies, we have been fortunate to have plantains, sweet potatoes, and ginger grace our p(a)lates over these past six weeks. 

Side note: I used to despise peas—like, they would incite a gag reflex in me. The only way in which I could consume them without a consecutive display that would make people in my surroundings quickly disperse was if I ate them in a samosa or in curries. Here in Italy, I dont know what happened, but I have on occasion crowded the rest of my food on my plate to the side in order to delight in peas unadulterated taste. WHAT HAPPENED? I mean, its not like Ive started eating that unruly, disgusting spawn of the soil cilantro (shudder). No, they're just peas... and they're not eggplant (swoon) or anything, and, in theory, peas still gross me out, but I have grown to love them.  

Don't tell my mom.

Peas in chow mein!
Peas with a ridiculous assortment of food!
Peas and white beans!
I made myself rice pudding for breakfast a few days ago. Ta-da!
On days off, when our spectacular cook is entitled to not cook at all—but she often does—we sometimes order pizza. Of course, theres no delivery, but we live within walking distance of three pizzerie. Life aint so bad, eh?
Italiane—le più amate is inscribed on every one of these pizza boxes. The thing is that Italiane has no grammatical referent; by gender and number, it could refer to either the pizzas or Italian women. So, the caption could translate to "Italian [women]: the most loved" or "Italian pizzas: the most loved." Hahahahaha. (Upon further inspection, there's also a vespa, grammatically feminine, on the box. I guess it means that things of Italian origin are the most loved. Ah, yes...)
Our humble dining area at sunset
VEGAN COOKIES AT THE GROCERY STORE! Breathe. Okay, I've seen vegan foods at the grocery store in the past, but seldom do I ever see the Vegan logo. Rock on! On a side note, these cookies weren't very tasty, but they were tasty when dipped in coffee.
Emma felt like having sandwiches, and I have to say that I totally dig when her cravings match my own. She made the panini from scratch and we chopped up all the fixings. Heeeck, yeah!
Polenta... fresh rosemary from our garden... rock salt... Aaaahhh, the little things in life...
Bread. All kinds. All the time. Fresh. No order of adjectives necessary. Just periods. Period. Bread. Face. Yes.
After two months here, in addition to the two that I spent here last year, I can say that my role here and the daily routine have finally become clear. Despite the rigid schedule, what one learns quickly about its rigidity is that it must be responsive to massages—that is, it must allow flexibility for surprises and the unexpected, like needing to be ready in ten minutes in order to play the role of interpreter on a friend’s visit to the pharmacy, or pausing to accommodate a visit from our wonderful landlords, which interrupts the planning and filming of our humorous and sweetly sincere IndieGoGo thank-you video.

IndieGoGo Thank You from Art Monastery Project on Vimeo.

In short, living amongst the Art Monastery community is a delight and treasure for all of the senses. For now, let’s ignore my trying to avoid burning my wrists and thighs on my laptop as I sit in the sun, not to mention scalding the soles of my feet on my black flip-flops that devour the merciless heat, or being blinded by the reflection of my MacBook’s shiny metal. Oh, Sun, your touch is a vital part of this experience, too.

Gratefully and scaldingly yours,

Vegan in Suburbia 


Josiane said...

The way you described the sounds in your first paragraph really grabbed me, and made me wish I was there. It's really nice to get a feel for things through a different sense...
Oh, and taste, of course! Food, food, food! It all sounds so delicious... and that, too, made me wish I was there, of course!

It's nice to read that you're having such a great time in Italy that even a previously despised vegetable has become a real delight. Enjoy! :)
It's great that your role now feels clear - clarity often makes life so much easier in so many ways... Yay for that!

KTBuns said...

Wonderful imagery... it's almost as if imagining my ceiling fan is the same Italian breeze could come true! Always the highlight of my day/week to read your beautiful posts, my dear. :)