Three weeks ago I stepped off a treno regionale in Pontedera with my backpack, the growing need for a cafe, and absolutely no idea where I was going.
All I knew was the name of a farm out in the middle of the Tuscan countryside and that someone was going to pick me up at the train station to drive me there.
Clearly, I was well prepared for an adventure.
And what an adventure it has been. It’s full immersion here, in both language and culture, making me the resident English translator and American interpreter.
Of course there was a lot of adjustment needed in the beginning, for example on my end I had to learn that “c” is actually pronounced like “h” and that “mi garba” is not a made up word.
On Diacceroni’s end, they had to learn that I can’t eat an entire pot of pasta for every meal and that if they mumble their question there is no guarantee that I will answer correctly, infatti I will probably decide to answer a completely different question than the one asked.
We also learned that I have a severe lack of knowledge in Tuscan cuisine, which has resulted in an interesting habit of the ragazzi not telling me what I am eating until after I have it in my mouth. This is how I discovered that hammering my tongue with a block of ice would be a more preferable experience than munching on some nice zuccherini in alcolici con menta. Honestly this one was colpa mia, considering I should have known something was up when they pulled out a mason jar full of toxic looking green liquid, lit a small white cube they had pulled from jar on fire, and then told me to eat it.
But despite the minor challenges that come hand in hand with immersing myself in a lifestyle so completely different than anything I’ve ever experienced before...
life on the farm has been nothing short of amazing.
Surrounded by rolling hills of green accented by stunning sunsets, I’ve spent my days wandering muddy trails, eating hearty Tuscan cuisine, and feeding that creative spark.
My favorite part about my little sojourn though has been the people here. Tuscany is exceptionally beautiful, but it’s the people here that really make it something special.
Take for example Big Maurizio the gentle giant who is very concerned that I don’t eat enough and Small Maurizio the mother hen who gives me apples with dinner because I need to eat my vegetables (not sure what apples have to do with eating vegetables but they are deliciously fresh so I’ve decided not to mention anything). Then there’s Moira the expert cappuccino maker who likes to tell me how crazy everyone here is and Sechi the eccentric electrician who wears a jacket that says ‘I play golf’ everyday even though I am 100% sure he has no idea what that means. Or there’s Giulio who literally only knows the phrase ‘oh happy days’ in english and sings it randomly throughout the day and Peter the horse man from Belgium with his trusty sidekick Thor the dog. And of course there’s Massi, the capo of them all, who enjoys arguing about water filters and the simple life.
So, what is it really like living on a farm in the middle of Tuscany?
It’s a satisfying challenge that will take you so far out of your comfort zone you’ll need to take a pullman through tiny Tuscan villages full of really fast talking Italian teenagers to find your way back. It’s an opportunity to embrace a lifestyle so utterly different than your own and to learn how to make friends in another culture. And most importantly it’s one hell of an adventure, full of humorous miscommunication and mouth watering food and slightly insane but amazing people.
Oh and mud, there’s a whole lot of mud.
P.S. Dying to see Diacceroni in person? Check out them out here.