Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Can't always get ...

Even now after having been here for so many years, whenever I meet new people and they learn that I'm American they ask me the same question, "Why did you move here?" The "here" is usually emphasized. Even if they don't say it in words, you tell in how their eyes light up with their imagination of what "America" is...big and beautiful, the land of plenty - full of opportunities, big cars, big houses, big roads, big cities and big national parks, big cheeseburgers. "Why did you move here?"

If you've been reading OliveKnitting for a while you'll have heard me try to answer this in the past. My reasons for coming and my reasons for staying are different. This is obvious and normal and natural. I'm a different person now than I was 10 years ago. If I'm living my life well, I'd like to think that I'm a different person today than I was yesterday. So I continue to think and answer honestly, for myself more than for the person asking, why do I live here?

Something that was true 10 years ago and is still true today is the human scale of life here. Things are small - small shops, small houses, small cars, smaller roads, small people.

Now, don't get me wrong. I'm not saying that small is good and big is bad. They are just different. Big is expansive, full of choices, efficient, plentiful, beautiful. Small is intimate, simple, delicate, sweet. Of course there pros and cons for both.

Seems that I think harder about this question and the differences for my life on days like Thanksgiving when my big, beautiful family is gathering at my parents' house for a plentiful feast with food and family and friends.

Seems that I also think about it when I go to buy a rake.

David and I have been cleaning our land. We started about a week ago, working a bit each day to get this horrendous job done. It's only horrendous because we've pretended that we didn't have to do for the past 3 years. So what should be a couple days of weed whacking is now a winter season's project of chopping down weeds that are as big around as my thigh.

David is the whacker. (Remember that experiment in which I tried to learn to use the weed whacker? Failed). This leaves to me with the hand trimmers to cut vines and to try to get all the fallen weeds in piles for burning. Yesterday I went to the Self to buy a proper rake (You might remember that we don't have one). I went to the Self...the Home Depot- Italian style (smaller, simpler, more delicate). After wandering around the place for 25 minutes looking for the rake section (note to myself: if you don't know the Italian word for the tool you want to buy, look it up before you leave the house), I finally found it. The Self's "rake section" had two rakes in it of the style I need. TWO.

Now, don't misunderstand me here...a choice of two is still a choice. And I've really become used to the diminished selection I find outside of the State. I'm ok with that. I actually usually like it. I'm very indecisive so a lack of choices has really made my life simpler, sweeter, more human as it were.

My choices were these: 1)large, plastic, and expensive or 2) small, metal, and cheap.

I went with number two - exclusively for the "metal" attribute. I've noticed that limited selections really helps one to prioritize needs. Whilst price and size are important, I realized that, when push comes to shove, I don't want my new rake to brake on first use, so metal it was.

However, when I got to the land (which will be referred to from here on out as "The Park" because it's so awesome up there when it's clean it feels like our own private national park - park Italian style, that would be. It ain't no Yellowstone).

Here's the land that I need to rake:

Here's the rake:

Let's look at it again:

Rake - Italian style. Small. Human. I guess this will give me and my land that intimate experience I was looking for.

I also stopped by the grocery store to get something for Thanksgiving. We will be celebrating properly at fellow American Christine's house on Sunday but I thought it would be nice to do something at home on the proper Thanksgiving day with my small, intimate, simple family. I could have gotten a turkey if I had ordered it a week ago. I knew that so I wasn't really disappointed about having to get a chicken.

Here's our thanksgiving day bird:

Let's look at that again:

Small, delicate, sweet.

I guess we can't always get what we want but we all get what we are looking for.

Happy Thanksgiving to all you Americans. While sitting at your big, beautiful tables full of plentiful food, enjoy the intimacy. While David and I are sitting at our simple, little, intimate table we will most certainly be thankful for the plenty.

If anyone is wondering what Italians do on Thanksgiving, here's a clue...

Don't get it? Here's another clue...


  1. Happy Thanksgiving to you two also. It seems we all have a lot to give thanks to.
    With that little rake you should stay busy all winter. Glad to see David is not bringing the chain saw out again to "harvet" the olives.
    Talk to you later - EarleinDenver

  2. Mike in Boulder8:32 PM

    Don't be too concerned about the questions from locals about why you moved there, even after this much time. I had a friend, now deceased, who lived in Worcester, about 40 miles west of Boston. He said he had lived in the same house (built in 1750!) for 50 years--and the locals still considered him a newcomer!

    Mike in Boulder

  3. Anonymous8:30 PM

    Hope that small intimate bird was enought of a feast to celebrate
    the coming of the pilgrims to the U.S..
    We really like your small intimate world over there, even the small road (where I smashed my rental car
    whilst leaving this year).
    Glad to hear that you are becomming farmers and clearing the land, probably for a larger vegatable garden next spring.
    Hope the Olive harvest is bountiful an financially rewarding.
    Be sure not to rake up too much debris with that really small intimate rake!

    Wayne & Denise TFC