First impressions of Italy

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“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived”

-Henry David Thoreau

Italy! I’ve been here for one month but it seems like it was yesterday when I got on the plane from Mexico City and arrived here after a 12-hour flight; I guess time also flies.

It could be said that I time-space traveled, since I’m about 10,166 km away and 7 hours ahead from Mexico, so I was lucky I arrived on Saturday and start working on Monday because time travel has some side-effects like the well-known jetlag, which made me stay awake at midnight and sleepy during daytime for a week but I got over it and so did Erick, my Peruvian volunteering colleague.

Once the activities began, I found “La Buona Terra” quite lovely; a sustainable farm located in the town of Passignano sul Trasimeno in the region of Umbria, the “green heart” of Italy. So, having just earned a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Management, this opportunity was like heaven on Earth. The people were so welcoming and I found myself suddenly surrounded by dogs, cats, hens, horses, cows, sheep, goats and a grumpy though nice pig.

After two weeks, we were called to attend the ‘on-arrival training’ for one week in Rome, “La Città eterna”, where we could meet about 25 other volunteers coming from 12 different countries. We shared Italian lessons, volunteering experiences (and pasta!), while letting ourselves be amazed by the city during long walks to see the Colosseum, Fontana di Trevi, Piazza Navona amongst other truly living works of art.

When we returned to La Buona Terra, my thoughts were filled with new Italian words and my heart was inspired by my Roman memories to keep working. That week we helped to make pizza, visited the Lake Trasimeno beach with two of our volunteering friends and I spent my first international birthday in the farm with my new human and non-human friends while eating two different cakes. Sweet, isn’t it?

Last week I helped to harvest lavender to extract essential oils from it, we also harvested friendly organic potatoes, I milked a sheep for the first time, we collected eggs and cleaned up the stables (to remove the stuff stables are filled with); we collected firewood and after we helped sheep shearing.

So far, this experience has brought me tons of lessons about humility, when recognizing that I don’t know how to do certain things but I’m willing to learn; cooperation, because this kind of work requires efforts from everyone; interculturalism, because we’re all different threads of a colorful tissue; and harmony, since I’m beginning to rediscover myself while being in the woods, just like Henry David Thoreau did. Let’s find out how this story goes, see you next time!!


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