Day 22: Last day of harvest – Cheese Farm

I apologize for not writing for so long. It’s been a crazy week. Our hours have been wonky and by the time I finish editing my photos I am too tired to write about anything…I’ll try to get some writing in tomorrow morning as it will be my last day here and all I am doing is packing and having lunch with everyone.

Had to share this great photo of Helena. We learned she is 83! This woman still kills chickens with her hands and harvests grapes faster than any of us and she is 83! Lisa and I wanted to know what her secret is…

So today was was our last day of harvest. Hillary left us on Monday after the festival and we’ve all been a little sad without her presence – even though it was as silent as it was. I brought my phone with me today to capture some video…so when I get home I’ll try to piece it together and I’ll post it.

Today we finished gathering the red grapes from Manciano, which is my favorite vineyard. It has an incredible view and the vines are nice and tall and provide some good shade. The rows are a little shorter so they don’t seem like they go on forever like they do in San Paolo. I thought I would cry because I was so sad everything was coming to a close but I didn’t. I couldn’t help but just be happy and appreciate what I was experiencing in that moment. Although when we shared some good laughs, I couldn’t help but think about how much I am going to miss these people. I’ve been struggling to think of reasons to look forward to home, but the thought of going back to my normal life seemed rather dull. Don’t get my wrong, I love my life. I’ve been blessed to have some incredible people in my life, but obviously the experience is just not the same as being out here. But I just recently found out that my amazing friend Graham is in town (Seattle) for a while and not only do I rarely get to see him, but he is going to pick me up from the airport and we are going to see one of my favorite bands, Hot Bodies in Motion (check them out if you don’t know them). So I am insanely excited to see a good friend and have a mini trip to Bellingham. I think subconsciously I may be avoiding going home until I have to return to work on Monday.

I spent much of this morning’s harvest talking about Graham and his dad Jim. Jim, who was an incredible father figure in my life, passed away last summer after a battle with pancreatic cancer. I always think about him when I am traveling because he was the only that really gave me the last push to start my travel experiences. He was incredibly inspirational, heart warming, and reminded me to live my life happily. I carry his memory and hope his spirit follows during my traveling because he reminds me to take everything in and have fun at the same time. At one point, I stood up to take a break and looked over my shoulder at the view. How lucky am I? Here I am, harvesting grapes in the countryside of Italy with one of the most incredible views one could ever work in. Taking everything in and savoring the memories were my main priorities this morning.

Lunch was bitter sweet. I felt pretty nostalgic. Remembering Daniela’s home cooking, the laughs, the conversation, and random guests that would just walk into our kitchen. I reminded Corrado we had not gone to the cheese farm as he has promised so he said we would go if we finished early today.

We dd make it to the cheese farm but only had time to buy cheese. No tour. Still…the place was amazing. Yummy cheese. We went out for appetizers and came home for a cheese feast. What a grand way to spend my last night in Italy. Here is a great photo of Valeria and Corrado from happy hour. 🙂 It pretty much epitomizes their relationship and personalities. I love them!

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