Monday, October 10, 2011

La Dolce Vita

I love this expression.  The sweet life.  It reminds me of how young people use "sweet" to describe an experience. I have been thinking about my life here; now and in the future. It is a sweet life.  I wonder though, how my life will evolve and change.  Knowing that I will return to California in 3 weeks holds me in the tourist frame of mind, and it is a sweet place to be.

We have continued to have extraordinary eating adventures.  The last one was a lunch at a villa in the middle of a growing industrial section of Ponte Patolli, a small town close to us.  The villa and the family has been there for over 300 years. It is a brother and sister who now run it as a catering restaurant. They were lovely people, who spoke excellent English and were very kind to us.

We had been there last winter with our friend Matteo.  We walked in and there was no one about.  Not unusual for lunch.  Many places here serve only dinner.  As we walked into the lobby, lit only by the sunlight with an 8 foot tall fireplace facing us, a woman came rushing is with zucchini flowers in her hand. We asked if we could have lunch, and she said, "Come no?"  Why not.  They bustled about and set up a table for us in the garden.  They were clearly not set up for lunch, but they accommodated us none the less.

The villa would be a great set for an E.M. Forrester movie.

We had a very interesting discussion with them about their life.  The Stoic One thought their life must be hard, trying to eke out a living in this large, aging property.  The sister said, no, life wasn't hard at all.  She was doing what she loved, where she loved doing it and had her family all around her.  She had a garden where she grew the food that she prepared.  She said it would only be hard if you expected to make money, which she did not.

I must say this is such a foreign concept.  It made me realize how much of "American efficiency" is all about making money.  It is only being here in Italy that I realize there are people who are motivated by other things.  I mean I guess I have always known that, but I thought those people only said that because they couldn't make money.  Now, I see that there is a different passion for people than money, accumulation and achievement.  La Dolce Vita is not about making the money.  It is about enjoying the time, spending it the way you want regardless of your financial situation.  This brother and sister exemplified these values.  And yes, the zucchini flowers were sublime as was the rest of the food.

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