Monday, September 6, 2010

Formaggio di Italia

   Mozzarella di Bufala.  A specialty of the Campana region of South West Italia.  There is nothing in Italy that makes my taste buds as happy as this.  Having the opportunity to visit a water buffalo farm where the cheese is being produced literally 20 feet away from the pens of buffalo was an amazing experience.  For this I am forever grateful to my group's private driver, Raffaele Iaccarino.  He picked us up from our hotel in Sorrento and drove us down to Paestum.  He waited for us to tour the complex of temples and the museum, before he took us to our amazing lunch.  Raffaele got us a backstage tour of the mozzarella factory.  Sadly they had just finished making the cheese we were about to consume.  

   From the second I took a bite of the literally minutes fresh mozzarella I was hooked for life.  When I tried the SMOKED Mozzarella di Bufala I thought my tongue was going to fall off.  Couple this with the good wine, good friends, and our singing friend Raffaele, this makes the Paestum excursion one of my best memories from Italy.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness

   I feel as if in the last four months or so, everything has gone completely right for me.  Between massive changes in my personal life, my trip to Italy, scholarly pursuits, and my new friends I have been happier than I can ever remember. 

   At the same time I can't help but feel that while everything is going right for me at the present moment, any day now everything will just collapse in on itself and my new happier life will come crashing down.  Maybe this is a unfounded fear but I feel that it is reasonable and the only thing keeping me sane right now. 

   On a completely unrelated note... Today school was evacuated due to a "bomb" scare.  There is a institute for the study of the Civil War in my schools History Department.  They have housed two cannon balls for years but today they decided that they may be dangerous and decided the best thing to do was call in the army to remove the "civil war relics".  Basically our History Department looks ridiculous now because
1.  A cannon ball can't just explode.
2.  We've had it for years.
3.  The news were all over it.
While that story has nothing to do with the topic of today's entry, I found it worthy of writing. 

  Now I'm calling it quits for the night as I am very tired and have work early in the morning. 

A Presto!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Primo Entrata - Pasta. Pesto. Passion.

    I'll start with this:  I'm not a writer, I never have been, and I don't pretend to be.  However, my friend Nubia has started a 30 Day Writer's Challenge which has led to subsequent blogs from other friends.  Reading said blogs has made me want to write, not necessarily to be read, just as a way to vent and possibly cope.  So if you choose to read... beware.  Deal with the grammar mistakes and the poorly written rants and don't say I didn't warn you.

    I spent this summer studying and living in a small Tuscan town in the middle of Italy.  Montepulciano, a medieval hill town located centrally between Siena and Florence, both of which have spent centuries fighting for control of Monte.  My decision to do study abroad was mainly just a way to break the monotony of going to work and school.  Anyone who knows me knows how much I love food, and seeing how I always wanted to go see the Colosseum, Italy was of course the right country for me.  I went to talk to a professor from the program before I applied and he sold me on the idea.  I now realize just how much I owe to this man.

   Never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined what I would encounter on this trip.  We're all fed the bullshit in school that you must study abroad, expand your horizons, globalize yourself, "it will change you".  Turns out, those are the closed words to truth, I've ever heard.  This summer I lived in and traveled around the most beautiful cities, towns, and countrysides that I have ever seen, let alone been in.  I've met some of the coolest people of extremely varying backgrounds and interests, both Americans and Italians.  I've discovered a renewed passion for food.  A renewed passion for friendship.  A renewed passion for life.

    My sister bought me a book on Italian Culinary before I left.  It is appropriately titled "Pasta - Pesto - Passion" (I'll return to this in a later blog).  In America we think "French Fries - Hamburgers - Speed", or in other words "Unhealthy - Processed - Laziness".  In this way I'm very sad to be American.  I feel that our great country completely overlooks the most important parts of life.  Life isn't about becoming the CEO of a company, having a big house, driving an unnecessarily large expensive vehicle.  Life SHOULD be about enjoyment.  Friends, Family, Food... being happy. There are three things Italians cherish; Their mothers, their families, and their food/wine.  Living in Montepulciano for almost six weeks, I truly felt as if though I was a part of the Poliziano's family.  I had a home in that town in which I found a home in my heart.  I know.  That last sentence is a complete ball of mush, but by God I mean every word of it.  I love that city and the people in it.

   My trip to Italy truly has changed the way I see myself and the world.  Over the next 30 days I'll use this blog as a metohod of both venting my angers and thoughts and of coping with my post Italian depression/stress.  Much more to come.