30 August 2011

little village in the sky

For me, it is becoming a time-honored tradition to flee to Baiardo when I have nowhere else to go. Really, it's the only place that will take me in when I'm out of both money and energy. It also happens to be one of the most awesome places I know. The wine is cheap (like seriously cheap, like three-euros-a-bottle cheap), there's always good company to be found, and you can't beat the view.

I was one of two tutors on the last bus up to the little town, and I had plenty of time on the way to reminisce about my last stay there. It had been exactly 50 weeks since my last stay--350 days.

I found Baiardo relatively empty. I'm not sure what I'd expected, but maybe I'd been hoping for a repeat of the year before, with the same people and same weather and same food. Because that wasn't an option, I acquainted myself with a few new people and enthusiastically greeted those I already knew (including British Will, my coworker and darling from earlier in the summer). Then I made an early night of it, climbing up into my little bed on the floor of a wooden loft in a house that was built, oh, just a few centuries ago after watching a film with a couple of other girls.

Despite the inconsistent temperatures, rustic furnishings, and high probability that I had insects traversing the landscape of my body the entire night, I slept like a rock. I imagine my sleep would have been perfect if not for one tiny incident: At approximately four in the morning, one of my loftmates, Lewey, drunkenly crawled back up the ladder to his pillowless bed and, in his confusion, attempted to rest his head on the side of mine. It was an honest mistake, as our beds were quite close together and both on the ground, and the poor boy just wanted a pillow, but I still haven't let him forget about it. I know I have chipmunk cheeks, but my face is not a pillow.

I spent the next day searching for internet down in Sanremo. When I arrived back up at the top of the mountain, there were a few new guests drinking wine by the fountain in the piazza, so I joined them. There was a girl who could read palms, and Jimmy was around as well, but the biggest surprise was probably Derrik, who was one of the guys I sang karaoke with at Children's Night last year. Within a few hours, we were all drinking three euro wine and listening to music in one of the more cave-like houses. I even rapped a little bit and had a drink thrown on me by an Irish girl. The night ended well after the sun came up.

The next day was an unusually productive one for me. I woke up around midday, washed all the dishes (not just my own--take that, Mom and Dad), cleaned the stovetop, rearranged the bookshelves, did my laundry, laid out, and painted my nails. Massive success.

Monday night was more of the same. We had dinner together, and then those of us in Casa Due hosted a little get-together. Enrique from San Diego acted as our deejay, but the best music by far that night was provided by a German guitarist, who was recording some promotional videos in an alcove next to the old church. It was well past midnight, and we sat there listening to him play flamenco tunes, and I felt that peace that you feel when you're happy and surrounded by good people. I saw the sun rise again a few hours later, but apparently I missed Enrique doing sprints around the old church, shouting about how his head was hurting.

Everything would have been absolutely peachy had I not discovered in the shower that I'd only managed to shave one of my armpits the morning before. That's what I get for staying up all night. It's not like I was trying to impress anyone or anything.

What can you do? That's Baiardo for you.

23 August 2011


So Trento was great, and my host family was incredible, but as Amanda Bynes says in 'She's the Man,' "the time comes for a man to move along." So I boarded a train with Jeremy (my P90x partner) and we managed to transport our mildly hungover selves to Gianico (but how we got to be hungover is another story for another day).

At Gianico, we were just a couple of players in a camp full of big personalities. Combine that with the fact that it was a one week camp, and we barely had a moment to relax. There was something to do almost every day after camp. On Wednesday, for instance, I got to see some prehistoric rock carvings, which are actually right up my alley, and on Thursday, we went swimming in an ancient lake on top of a mountain. Do you like pictures? Because I got 'em.

Friday was all about the show. Mine was about the Little Mermaid and the drama that ensued after the infatuation between her and Eric wore off. He sat around the house all day, watching tv and yelling for her to make him a sandwich--in short, he was a triflin' fool. Finally, Ariel kicked his sorry bottom out because he couldn't help her pay the bills. I actually had the kids learn and rehearse an a capella version of Destiny's Child's 'Bills, Bills, Bills' (a la the Warblers from Glee), and it was sounding pretty good, but I ended up cutting it because I knew it would go right over the audience's head. Still, it was a pretty creative show, and a couple of the kids went all out with their costumes.

The best part of the night, though, was probably when we went out for drinks afterwards. I was totally not prepared, to the point that I was wearing my tutor shirt and Chucks. Fortunately, a few of my quick-thinking lady tutor friends managed to make me over in the bathroom, and I emerged looking pretty decent. We danced well into the night--or at least until 10:30, when I had to be home.

And that's Gianico for you.