Ahh! At last after a summer of titilating suspense, of shocking rumor and intrigue, Pangea welcomes her newest blogger.  In swarthy summer heat and grime he has descended from the mountains, swashbucklingly late, to share with us his bawdy adventures and sage advice.  Enter–Farmer Rees.

My apologies to everyone for jumping into a blog that has been going strong for over two months now.  Feverishly hopping between luxury hotels’ computers in Europe along with an extended stay in rural Appalachia hasn’t allowed for a great deal of internet time.  I’ll try to do some catching up in my last few weeks on the farm before I head to Moscow.

Let’s start in northern Italy, on the evening of my arrival into Milan from Boston.  After a train ride further north of that dusty fashion capital, I found myself in the grandiose lakes region of the prealps.  I arrived there in mid-May straight out of the last few heady days of Sophomore year.  My goals were life, adventure, High Romance.  I hadn’t found a whole lot of that after a four hour wait hitchhiking, during which I received one 2 km ride.  The ride saved me 30 centson a bus ticket I eventually bought.  And so after a long day of travel the bus dropped me off, exhausted and dehydrated, in Menaggio, halfway up Lake Como.

The lake’s rugged beauty eased my early frustrations as I headed up the steep hills, looking for a spot to toss out my sleeping bag and enjoy the sunset, some stars, and a long, jet-lagged snooze.  INstead I found a great deal of barbed wire and guard dogs in this rather ritzy Italian villa (home of George Cloony–in my hitchhiking daydream, he picks me up and we shoot the breeze).  It was only after I had disrupted a pile of adorable sleeping kittens and scaled a vertical jungle and a iron fence that I came to a delightful resting spot: a sort of magic garden, fenced in, but apperently deserted, with blooming wildflowers and a majestic view of the lake and Alps.

Oh Youth! I cried as I descended the hillside for my bag that I had left near the bottom.  Oh glorious, unkempt, sorrowful youth that will allow one to travel several thousand miles and toss out a sleeping bag in a strange land!

My ruminations were something high and noble of this sort when I noticed an apartment building at teh base of the hill had a couple inquisitive faces watching me out of its open windows.  As I came level with them thy began shouting at me in the sing-song ups and downs of this sonorous Romance dialect.  Oh language of eternal fire! Words of Dante and some opera! Oh Youth! My reveries were unphased as I continued to tromp down.

I really was tropming now, or more likely falling all over myself, slidding down the mountain (Oh Youth!) when I saw more and more heads poking out of windows. My reveries were cut short.  “Bonjourno” I cried. “Scuzzi, Scuzzi.”  As a Slavacist, my improvisation was fairly feeble.  “Problema?” “Signor duda duda mia jari pizzeria Luigi?” they asked (Oh youth, dante). I answered with a far off gaze and a sweep of my arm that was supposed to indicate that I was taking in the view, that I was flailing about on this hillside intentionally, that I was muddy and such, for the spectacular view. “Vista” I yelled and made the sweeping arm motion again.

More and more of them came to the windows. There was more shouting in the pleasant rollercoaster tongue.  They ran inside grabbing tottlers and grandmas.  The whole apartment was a hive of activity.  To each of them I gave a cry of “Bonjourno!” and “Scuzzi” and replicated the arm motion which had become a favorite of mine.

Presently, I reached my bag and awkwardly half hid behind the bush it was propped against as I waited for the commotion to die down so that I could reascend to my magic garden, sleeping patch.  I stood there smiling aimlessly for nearly half an hour, greeting new faces at the window.  Oh Youth! I mouthed morosely, what a bumbling fool you are.  But the garden sang to me, and so I waited.

Afterall, a half-wit American making sweeping arm motions and straining his entire Italian lexicon is only so interesting, and with tiem everyone went back inside to dine on their fine olives and cheese and primi and secundi and wine and pizza pies.  My stomach growled as I duked it out with one solitary old man to leave me to my hobo peace.  He had watched me from the start, gravely and silently, and he did not leave now.  I tried to stand very still. He took out his binoculars, and I decided it was time to go. A hostel would do for my weary soul.  The old man had won the staring contest.

But my grand, Romantic vision was, in fact, not for naught!  As I defeatedly picked up my bag and began the climb down, a bright-eyed girl with full, rosy cheeks and hair braided in dark Italian mystery poked her head out the window and asked in broken English if I was all right.  She told me that her family was terrified for me (or of me?), asked me if I were hungry and so on.  I stood enraptured, with a hand upon my breast, calling up to this fair Juliet foolish things like “I love Italia” or “Are the kittens yours?” until her mother came to the window and sent me on my way.

This post is already far too long, and I need not go on a t length about the white rose which I borrowed from a Mother Mary shrine (she, or at least John Lennon would approve of my hopelessly inexperienced Romeo and Juliet story, I hope) and gave to my young bella; of learning her name to be Anna and telling her mine was Antonio; of dreaming of the fateful Veronese kiss that was not; and of the night spent half asleep in the rain, without stars, fearful of the guard dogs, and waiting lonesomely, lost to the world, for daybreak.

Excuse me while I grow some eggplant.

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