I hope that by the time you get this letter it has yellowed. I can feel the sun soaking into this page as I write. I think the most important skill that I’ve learned here is ambidexterity. Because as I sit here, in this Italian golden hour, smelling rosemary and hearing splashes by the river, I write to you with one hand and with the other I drink a lemon soda. A homemade lemon soda. One I contributed to! Cara, the orchards here are amazing. My host family introduced me to the farmer and now I work there on Thursdays. He pays me four euro per bag I pick, but really I’d take the soda as a payment. Oh, Cara, you’d love it, lemons and oranges and peaches and blaring sun! I really don’t think I can leave. And the fruit doesn’t even compare to the people. Their lifestyle is just gorgeous! Early rising, afternoon naps (before afternoon espresso), late-night dinners and later desserts. Conversations sweeter than amaretti* and smiles wider than the Riviera. The house I’m staying in is about thirty minutes walk from the nearest town, so my host family have let me borrow an old bicycle to use to bike around. But this isn’t just any bicycle, it’s olive green and vintage. I cycle everywhere. I think in these three months alone, I’ve done more exercise than I’ve done in my whole life. This place is just so beautiful that I want to see it all. On one fine July day, I cycled three hours to a vineyard. And let me tell you, it has rained on one day of the eighty-eight that I’ve been here. And this fine July day just happened to be that day. The vineyard owners were gracious enough to let me eat with them until it stopped raining (which it did eventually). I think they pitied me, the young Irish traveller with improving Italian. And you cannot even tempt me with Dominos now, because I know that the pizza I got in that little vineyard is the nicest I have ever and will ever taste. I suppose I miss the boggy walks, grey skies and Taytos back home. And I will visit soon, I promise. I promise I’ll pry myself away from this paradise as soon as I’m strong enough to. But until then, I’m going to adventure here, with my developing Italian and I’m going to work on my colour. I do miss you, Cara. But for now, ciao! Love, Caoi P.S. *amaretti are little almond biscuits, crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside. (Made from actual stardust).
When I visit you back home, I’ll make sure to stockpile them for you.