Today I am sitting here in my very own farmhouse, deep within the rolling hills of Tuscany. It’s as nice as it sounds. The weather up here is gorgeous and the house is 500 years old (as told to me by the incredibly nice owners staying next door). I’m here for a total of four nights, and I have to admit, when I first got here, I was…sad. Because this place is beautiful, and romantic, and so very clearly a honeymoon-esque place to be.
And I’m here alone. Ah well, such is life.
I’ve cheered myself right up by finally having no plans at all. There’s not even wifi here, and my phone signal is straight out of 2006. This means I’ve spent a lot of time staring into the middle distance with the sun on my face and the goats baaing behind me.
Did I mention this was a working farm? The people who own it have everything- goats, pigs, rabbits, horses, sheep, chickens- even their own vineyard! They own the entire mountain we’re sitting on, as well as the one next to it. Of course, this means we’re approximately 20 minutes from any sort of store. Obviously I didn’t think this through, because I realized very quickly I had no food and no means of retrieving any (most people drive themselves here). However, the first night I was here, they cooked me a fantastic meal (of all homegrown foods) and even gave me a bottle of their own homemade wine. Ah-mazing.
The next morning, they even took me down to the village supermarket so I could get groceries for the next few days. Pro tip here guys: don’t ever attempt to use the self-checkout in a foreign country. Everything is different. When I first started scanning my items, the woman manning the self-checkouts pointed to the sign above me, saying “10 items maximum,” which I very obviously missed. (I had like 25). Then, when I went to ring in some bananas, she literally shouted “stop!” ran over, and showed me that you have to pre-price all your produce before getting to the checkout stand. Of course I had like…10 items of produce, which I shamefully went back and priced out while leaving my basket hogging an entire checkout stand.
Then she had to come over to verify my age for my wine.
Then I accidentally took an item out of the bagging area and she had to unlock the register so I could continue.
At this point she just gave up and scanned all my groceries for me.
She left me to pay and I thanked her profusely while I finished up.
Then I couldn’t figure out how to get out. I was locked in the grocery store.
Finally, I walked up to her, as shamefully as you could possibly imagine, said “scusi,” and then gestured helplessly at the locked doors.
I think she probably wanted to fall off her chair in laughter, but she was very graceful, scanned her badge at a kiosk (you’re supposed to scan your receipt) and let me out.
My embarrassment was palpable.
Next time I’ll just starve.
-Carissa “what’s Italian?” Ragland