I don’t really know how to title a post like this. Or to talk about it really. In the spring I stumbled across an Italian internship program on a 13th century villa in Tuscany. It seemed awesome. For three months you lived and worked on an estate, learning how to care for animals, vegetables, or the vineyards. In exchange for working 30-35 hours a week for them they help reinforce your Italian, teach you about Italian culture, all while in the heart of Italy. Over the past months I’ve been keeping an eye on it, and the timing worked out where it would be worth applying.
I spoke to a friend who had worked there and he cautioned me, for each of the 8 spots open they get at least 10 applications. You have basically a 1 in 10 shot at being accepted. But, after an informal phone interview last week I awoke this morning to an e-mail informing me I had a spot waiting for me for the spring internship program at Spannocchia!
The internship runs March through the first days of June and while I don’t know what I’ll be working on yet (those decisions are made the first week we’re all there) I’m completely humbled by this opportunity. Admittedly I’ll be working my ass off, but, for me, food is a pretty important experience. I don’t really eat meat, unless it’s ‘happy’ (you know, free range/grass raised etc etc; happy!). And I’m ok with that. So that have this opportunity to learn about wines, or vegetable production, or raising and curing heritage animals is astonishing, and I hope will be inspiring as to how I think about food.
6 years ago I was in Italy, Parma to be exact, visiting a high school girlfriend trying to rekindle a relationship. It worked for the short term, and while the relationship ran its course, my love and appreciation for Italy has remained. I was treated with such kindness; people opened their homes to me to share meals, couches and stories. The gave me rides and sent me back to the states with the largest single piece of cheese I’ve ever laid eyes on. I spent a birthday on the top of the Duomo in Florence. I’m psyched to be spending another birthday in Italy.
And so you may be wondering. What does this fabulous adventure going to cost your ex-AmeriCorps, employed part time individual? Well, aside from a $1,000 plane ticket: $300, plus personal expenses. Think about that for a sec. All meals. A bed in a 13th century castle. How much better can it get?! (I’d take a job fighting wildland fires in the northwest when I get back to the states, but that may be asking more than the universe is willing to give).