Work in Progress

“In the best travel, disconnection is a necessity. Concentrate on where you are; do no back-home business; take no assignments; remain incommunicado; be scarce. It is a good thing that people don’t know where you are or how to find you. Keep in mind the country you are in. That’s the theory.”
–Paul Theroux

A human who loves the world, finds beauty in the unknown, and can't keep her feet on the ground. I like finding unique (and cheap) ways of making my way around the globe. Interacting with people while living, learning, and loving the culture I'm surrounded by.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Candid with Candido

While workingaway in Montefegatesi I had the opportunity to meet whom I like to consider my soul-mate. That might be taking it a little to far. Whatever. There were so many "best" things about living in the village and working for such an amazing family, but mainly I enjoyed all the free time available to me while I wasn't watching the kids. The girls who were here before me made it a priority to take me over to some mysterious Italian man's home to play some card game. When we finally made it over there, I fell in love as soon as I walked through the door. His house was adorned in photographs, memories, old records, and classical books. I took a look around and realized this place looks like I could be living here.

Candido was an elderly man, in his 70s or 80s, who clearly enjoyed the company of the American visitors that frequented the village. He was as grumpy as he was sweet, which I loved about him. We opened a bottle of wine, cut up some cheese and I took a seat in his comfortable living room facing a set of sliding doors with a view of the green, lush Tuscan mountains. He shared his photography with me, most of which made up the decor in his home. We looked through old records and I shared my obsession with the sixties, to which Candido boasted about his presence at Woodstock in 69. He played The Beatles for me, and from that point on it was pretty obvious this was the coolest man ever.

I don't remember how many times I hung out with Candido, but throughout that time I learned not only a load of things about him but many things about the history of the village as well. He taught photography at a school in NY and claims to know several famous film makers and actors, including Robert De Niro and Martin Scorsese. Robert was the one who convinced Candido to move to NY, and I've heard stories of the pair of them practicing for De Niro's role in Taxi Driver.

His father was born in Montefegatesi, and his father before that. During WWII his father was a partisan in the Italian resistance to the war. In the midst of the war his father returned to their family home in the village to hide. Nazi soldiers came knocking on their door, telling them that unless their father surrendered - they would all be killed. Hiding in the basement, his father heard the threats and gave him self up, later to be shot in the village square in front of family and friends. His friend, Christopher King, liked the story and decided to shoot a short film in the village based off it. One night we settled down with our standard glass of wine and assortment of cheese and watched it. I've been racking my brain for the last 5 minutes and can not remember what the name of it was. It was fun to watch because it was filmed throughout the village and in Candido's current home.

I learned that the root word of Montefegatesi - fegato, means "liver".  and how Montefegatesi was named after the deep red color of the rocks in the area.

I almost didn't see Candido before I left. I had attempted visiting him a few times and he was never home. The morning of my departure I somehow found 5 minutes to walk to his humble abode prepared to burst into tears if he wasn't there. I didn't even have enough time to sit down, but I made sure to give him the biggest hug I could manage. I thanked him so much for letting me hang out with him, I wanted to make sure he knew how big of an impacted he made on me. Before I left he thanked me for, "being alive, and being myself."

Sometimes the people you'll meet make up a lot of the experiences you have, especially while traveling the world. When you make connections that are undeniably deep and beyond explanation it makes you feel like a bigger part of the world. Making an impact on someone is a way of putting your footprint in the sand. 

In the film he showed us, they are casually rolling gnocci in the kitchen. I begged Candido to teach me how and arranged for a few of us workawayers to make dinner together. Definitely one of my favorite memories, and something free to take home :) I was well drunk by the time the serious gnocci production started, so that part I have had some trouble recreating. I am making progress though. The sauce on the other hand... oh I make a mean sauce. 

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