29 September 2011

goodbye to the cloud village

As a person who savors change and loves to travel, I am rarely in the same place two years in a row. And yet, that's exactly where I found myself when I returned to Baiardo. It had been exactly 52 weeks since I'd sang karaoke with the boys on Children's Night and stolen a Bajardo hat in the process. Although almost nothing about Baiardo itself had changed, I was the only person from previous summer who was around to appreciate that fact (besides Jimmy of course, but he's as much a part of Baiardo as anyone could ever be, and I have a feeling he'll be there forever).

Fortunately, I was surrounded by new friends who kept my focus on the present. Lewey was still in Baiardo, and we happily resumed our roommate-ship. My darling Kat Hall returned to me on Monday, and Jeremy showed up the day after that.

We spent our days down in Sanremo, swimming out as far as the buoys in the bay and sunning ourselves on the beach. Occasionally, we made a big day of it and accessed the internet to see what was going on in the outside world, but of course we weren't in much of a hurry to do that.

In the evenings we ran down to the main square of Baiardo to stock up on wine, sometimes returning to the top of the mountain with a crate full of bottles. Eventually the restaurant stopped selling us the red because they didn't have enough for their dinner service, but I kind of preferred the white so I wasn't bothered.

Later on, we'd have dance parties at a few of the different houses, or sing-alongs, or we'd play King's Cup. Everyone brought something to the table in a very literal sense, which meant that sometimes you put down your glass and found it filled with something very different than what you'd been drinking before. More than once I started to take a deep drink of what I thought was refreshing white wine, only to find that my glass had been refilled with something much stronger, like limoncello or whiskey. Jeremy ran into the same problem with grappa, which led to him standing on a stone wall overlooking a steep drop down the side of the mountain, saying, "Don't freak out guys; I got this," as he nearly lost his balance.

I got a pleasant surprise in the middle of the week when I checked my camp assignment for the following week and found that I'd be working with Jeremy again. We hadn't really expected this just because the odds weren't in our favor, but our company always seems to know who to place together (i.e. me and Josephine, coworkers for something like seven weeks in our first summer).

On Friday night, Kat and I mixed up nearly ten litres of authentic sangria. Believe you me, that girl and I know our sangria. She's worked as a barmaid in England, and I worked as one in Peru, and of course I did study in Madrid. I was even using the time-honored, traditional, top secret Cova recipe. As we mixed in bits of fresh fruit, and sugar, and rum, I pointed out that we had first met one year earlier, when I'd returned to Sanremo from Nice and stopped in at new tutor orientation to meet my team.

We listened to music, painted our nails, and watched episodes of Community on my laptop as the sangria matured in the fridge all afternoon, the strong aroma tempting anyone who passed our house. Oh, what's that you say? You don't usually put a fifth of rum in your kettle of sangria? Well you're lame.

And that was the night that nostalgia truly set in. I swear, it wasn't just the sangria. Standing upstairs in House Four, hanging out with Kat and getting ready for the evening, I couldn't help but remember that I'd been in the exact same room one year earlier. That was where I first started to think about going to Argentina. For better or worse, that room was an important setting in the more recent events of my life.

The next morning I took the early bus down to the train station, then spent an hour anxiously waiting for Jeremy to take the second bus down. He managed to make it just in time, although he was a bit worse for the wear. I saw a few friends and managed to take a cute picture with my Josephine before heading out on the 9:15 to Milano Centrale.

One last thing to wrap up Baiardo for 2011--I've said it before, and I'll say it again: that wine, three euros or not, was probably the best I've ever had.

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