May Day in Italy

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I failed at the detox. No surprise there. Valeria and her pesto is hard to resist. Today is the first of May and an international holiday. I blame myself for being naiive, but I thought May Day was about flowers and that spring was coming. We never had the day off from school or anything, I thought it was one of those feel good holidays liek Mothers Day.

However according to my Italian family, I learned that in Italy as well as the rest of Europe (and the rest of the world I later found out), the day is meant for the “common people”. It is a day to come together in the countryside and have a big feast. And that, we did.

This chair was randomly set up next to a recovering olive tree with an empty bottle of champagne. It was too funny.

We drove into the countryside somewhere between Cupramontana and Staffalo to Luigi’s summer family home. It was a beautiful place (just like every freakin place I encoutner out here) with plenty of olive trees. However, due to the heavy snow this past winter, much of the olive grove had to be cut because the trees were damaged. A cute little tent area was set up and many long tables awaited our arrival.

Of course there was plenty of wine, too much food, and great conversation. Most of the people in attendance were actually Dutch or Belgian transplants. It was so interesting to hear so many languages going on. And I was so impressed with the ease these northern euopeans had of switching from Italian to English keeping in mind they also have a native language of their own. In all the chaos of 50 europeans milling around drinking wine/champagne, I met a nice American man named Richard. Richard is probably in his late 40′s and originally from Philidelphia. His story of how he came to be here was quite unique, although sad in some parts. But he has been in Italy now for about nine years. Gave up a wonderful tenured position as a computer science professor (one of his students helped co-found Google apparently) to move out to the countryside of Italy. I think he appreciated the refreshingness of talking to an American, even though I’m half his age. We talked about many great things, which of course resulted in a political discussion. Wha – wha.

While the amount of food was overwhelming, it was really great to have more vegetables this feast. I had fresh fava beans which were DELISH. And there was multitude of fruity desserts. I counted six different desserts…I felt like I was still recovering from brunch on Sunday so I was a little less enthusiastic with the picture taking.

The weather was fantastic…a little bit too warm at first but we were saved by some overcast clouds towards the end of the main courses. Right when it began raining, Luigi’s father gathered everyone for a fountain unveiling. He restored this fountain, which was originally made by Austrian prisoners. The Mayor of Cupramontana was in attendance so it was pretty official. You can watch the hilarious video here:

That was my May Day. Turns out as I’m writing this, demonstrators are rioting in downtown Seattle. :( Hoping my former coworkers make it home safely.

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