The rectum is the butt hole. The anus is the cavity just beyond.

Days 15-18 Sunday-Wednesday September 22-25 Tuscany

Sunday was a total leisure day. We had the farm totally to ourselves the whole day so it was a mix of eating, yoga on the deck, napping, reading and lounging.

At one point we were cuddling and I said, “Oh! You’re pressing on my poop bag….er….my….large intestine…..wherever my poop’s waitin.” Kris said, “Your rectum.” I pooped and then several minutes later he said, “I meant your anus.” and I said, “Isn’t that the same thing?” and he said, “The rectum is the butt hole. The anus is the cavity just beyond.”

In the evening everyone came back and we had dinner together – Paolo, Alexandra and the Russians – Olga, and her grown son, Richard. Olga and Richard were hilarious going back and forth like an old married couple, and Olga has the most fantastic accent. She speaks fluent English, but with a classic thick Russian accent.

There we all were – two Americans, a Romanian, an Italian and two Russians. I wish for all of my friends to travel (outside of the U.S.A.) There is nothing in the world that can compare the experiences you will have.

Monday was our first official work day. We were up early and were put out in the olive grove to trim the trees in preparation for the harvest next month. That was a bitch. I said, “Didn’t the dove bring an oilve branch back to noah’s arc and that’s how they knew shit was cool? Like, the bird had obviously found dry land or something?”

4 and a half hours of trimming kicked our fucking asses. We ate lunch and then passed out, resurfacing to watch the sunset with the geese and eat dinner. At dinner – I saw a cat pee. We saw this stream coming from way up high in a tree and we followed it and it lead us right to a cat’s ass. Hilarious.

Tuesday we totally lucked out. We finished with the trees in an hour or so, and then we had just had to fill buckets with water and carry them to the cherry trees. We were done by 11 and that was our day. Alexandra made a fantastic bean soup for lunch and then we had a really fun siesta. We both had head colds, but also had the giggles. So it made for a really hilarious couple of hours in our room.

Alexandra told us some great stories about strange guests that have stayed here. She said one fancy looking couple complained about “the sheet (shit) of the geese” and another woman was screaming in her room – Alexandra heard her all the way in the main house. She went to see what was wrong and “the woman had her feet on the bed and was screaming. Her husband has a broom and is trying to smash a lizard.” Later on Alexandra told us “If you ever come back to Italy – you stay with me in the house of Guiliano (her boyfriend)” She is so sweet.

I wondered out loud – “I can’t remember if I pooped out my garlic….”

That night for dinner Paolo bought two whole fresh fish and a load of fresh mussels. We had the sea food, along with boiled potatoes doused with olive oil and parsley, and cabbage salad.

Wednesday we lucked out even harder. We got up early, prepared to work, and then the phone rang. It was Paolo. He had missed his train so Alexandra was driving him to Rome (3 hours away). He just asked us to feed and keep an eye on the puppies. So we had another totally leisurely day to ourselves.

Kris was posting something on Facebook about how stupid hash tagging is and I said, “You should post that with an ironic hash tag.” He looked me square in the face, dead serious and said, “I’m never gonna hash tag.”

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Just regular old tomatoes, de-fucking-hydrated

Day 14 – Saturday, September 21 – Breakfast in Rome, Dinner in Tuscany

It’s funny – I had goodle’d “best breakfast in Rome” because I forgot that Italian’s don’t actually eat breakfast. They drink espresso and have a pastry. So that’s exactly what we did.

Just a few blocks from where we were staying there was a little cafe called “Friends” where we had (aside from that French cafe run by the German couple on Kaua’i) the best lattes of our entire lives. I realized that the test of a great latte is that it can be served in a glass without a handle because it’s the proper temperature. The milk should not be so hot that you can’t grab the glass with your bare hand, and not so hot that you can’t drink it immediately. The espresso should be smooth, not bitter tasting or burnt. And there should be there perfect layer of thick creamy foam on top. We have been so conditioned to drink shit coffee and think that’s just how it is. No wonder I always needed to put loads cream and sugar in anything I ever drank.

We savored that shit, along with our two croissants, which were filled with the most delightful lemon cream.

Shortly after we headed back to the train station and easily found our train. It was super new and comfy and we had a table in our little nook.

After a quick 90 minute ride we got off in Grosetto and bought bus tickets inside the train station. We were told the bus stop was just outside to the right. But we didn’t exactly know what bus to get on. So I just started poking my head in to each bus that pulled up and asking “Montenero?”, figuring someone had to say yes eventually.

The fourth or fifth bus did, but the driver said something in Italian about the town of Paganico. I gathered it was that we needed to change buses in Paganico. The bus ride was stunning – weaving through tiny little roads through the hills of the Tuscan valley. We got off in Paganico, as did two other girls. The driver was saying something to all of us in Italian. I had absolutely no idea what he was saying so we just followed the other girls hoping we were all going to the same place. The girls walked along the back of a building, through a parking lot and to another random bus stop. Thankfully there was a bus already waiting there and the driver said yes to Montenero. That was another beautiful bus ride. The driver let us out at the one stop for Montenero and guestered up the hill at the town.

My phone wasn’t working so we couldn’t call the Paolo at the naked farm. We saw a sign for Teranera (the farm) that pointed up the hill towards the town. So we started huffin it up the fucking hill. At the top of the hill it pointed down a path for Teranera. We followed the path and continued following the signs, which led us on a fucking hike

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Finally, we arrived, two miles of uphill later, and everything was just as it should be.

When we first got there I didn’t see Alexandra (the girl that worked there when I was here 3 summers ago), but she popped out a few minutes later and I was glad she was as excited to see me as I was to see her. We went into the kitchen and chatted for a bit and then she showed us where we’d be staying. There weren’t any guests at the moment, aside from Paolo’s friends from Russia, so we were lucky and got to stay in the the small apartment all by ourselves. How nice! I was expecting to be in a tent like I was before. We showered and got unpacked and by the time we were done, Paolo had surfaced. He is such a cute old guy. He is pushing 70 and is still so sharp and in such great physical shape.

While Alexandra made us dinner, Kris and I took a walk around to see everything. There are two swimming pools, a tennis court, outdoor showers, 5 horses, 6 geese, 6 puppies, a couple of big vegetable gardens, the olive trees, the grape vines, and the other houses on the property.

As we were walking back to the main house the dog, Tommy, ran up to us and was growling a little bit (maybe because the girls had just brought the little puppies inside for the evening? And Tommy was feel protective?) but it didn’t seem like any big deal. But he ran right up to me and bit the holy shit out of my leg! I’ve never been bitten by a dog before. It was so lame.

Alexandra saw the whole thing and felt so bad. She brought me inside and gave me disinfectant spray and bandages and an ice pack. It hurt like a bitch the whole rest of the night, but it seems like I’m going to live.

Alexandra made us dinner which she apologized was just leftovers. The leftovers were delicious – pasta with tuna, cous cous and vegetable salad, another salad of fresh greens from the garden, and wine. It was so yummy.

They had jars of sun dried tomatoes curing in the kitchen that had been dried in their brand new dehydrator. For the first time in my life it occurred to me that sun dried tomatoes are just dehydrated tomatoes. Is that not the stupidest thing ever? My whole life I have loved sun dried tomatoes but never imagined what the secret recipe was to make them. And this whole fucking time they were just regular old tomatoes de-fucking-hydrated. It almost topped my “I can’t believe it’s not butter” revelation.