Today marks a week of living in Sicily. Like many beginnings in new places in my life, has a potency that I am unlikely to forget. Because settings have always been important to me, I found myself putting a lot of energy into observing this place where I will spend the next several months. I enjoy the exploration of both the aesthetic landscape and the social dynamics (though I find the latter more exhausting as an introvert). My senses are heightened as I take long walks in the hills (once with Fiona and my new macro lens), explore the garden, and observe the towns and cities Fabrizia and I have visited on film research expeditions. There is so much to take it, so much to think about capturing for the documentary, and so much beauty and newness to simply take pleasure in. Similarly, I have to be on full alert at all times when listening to the Italian chatter that surrounds me, trying to interpret it as rapidly as it is spilling from the Sicilians' mouths (and often failing). But I learn a lot about the people that surround me by observing their body language, their relational behavior, and listening to what I can understand of their speech. When I get to speak in English to Fabrizia, Fiona, or one of the frequent American guests at the school, the ease of it relaxes me and I find small talk easier than I ever do at home, simply out of gratefulness that the verb conjugations and the vocabulary flow without strife. But the work in Italian is well worth the effort, as I am ultimately here to learn and to document Sicilian life, not English-speaking people on vacation. (Though the chance to meet travelers who are passionate about food is a treat!)
My work hours are spent prepping for filming, making our new film project website, writing schedules, doing research, and being Fabrizia's right-hand woman for all that needs to get done on the film. She has also taken me on two research adventures for the first festival we are shooting, La Festa di Morti ( the Feast of the Dead). To see the website and to read my blog professional blog entry about the first trip, click here. Giacomo, the film maker, arrives from Milan on Oct. 25th and I'm thrilled to meet him and begin working. I'm hoping he'll teach me some of his skills as we go along, as I love his work. (See his website here.) We also have been emailing back and forth about time-lapse shooting of landscapes, which I'd love to experiment with for the film.
I'm grateful that my days are also filled with activities in the school, as the work is more social. This week I have entertained guests over long meals, joined on tours of the garden, peeled about 400 tomatoes in a nearby factory for the Anna Tasca Lanza products production, helped skins hundreds of cloves of garlic in the courtyard, and have practiced my food photography on all the wonderful dishes created here. And I also reserve time for myself, to rejuvenate my body, taking runs and doing yoga on the garden porch, as I did this morning. And, most importantly, have been finding time in the morning and evenings to find a quiet place up the hill to pray. I'm trying to be very intentional about the routines I create here, as I know they make all the difference for my happiness in a place.
I'm a graduate student at Duke Divinity School, and a recent graduate of Pomona College, who is setting off to find my calling in the world. This blog is to keep in touch with those I love and to share my journey with others.