Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Friends and Experiences

This week was a relaxing week for the group. We spent a lot of time catching up on things after last weeks trip to Florence. On Monday October first, we attended class in the morning where we took the first test in our new Education book titled "History and Social Foundations of American Education."
 This class has proven helpful in and outside of the classroom. When trying to relate to European students our age it was nice to have a solid understanding of what they do with most of their time. In the afternoon, Danny and myself who are both work studys on the farm harvested Chestnuts. This task involves walking down a steep hill to the chestnut grove and picking up the fallen husks which hold the chestnuts inside. Once you open the husks and remove the chestnut, you have to discard the husk off the side of a hill so it is not confused with the other husks that contain new nuts. This seems almost like a never ending job due to the constant falling of new husks. Once you get into the groove and embrace the ambiance of the grove this turns into a very enjoyable task. We are looking forward to the annual Chestnut Roasting festival which will take place this coming weekend up at Schloss Tirol.

On Tuesday the group had another workday filled with chestnut activities. The girls, Sebastian, and the Cates' went down to the grove to continue harvesting newly fallen chestnuts, while Danny and myself prepared the picked chestnuts for roasting. This process involved rinsing the chestnuts off with cold water in baskets, then dumping them into a large bucket filled with water. Once the nuts have been dumped into this large container, the good nuts will sink to the bottom and the bad ones will float to the top. The nuts that float to the top are either rotten or have some worms crawling around in them. After a good washing you dump the chestnuts onto a table to dry in the sun and then sort them. You have to meticulously go through all of the nuts one by one and sort them according to size. After all of the sorting is done, the chestnuts are ready to be roasted and sold to the people and tourists of Dorf Tirol. After a long day of work the group met together and feasted on some delicious soup and an elaborate cheese and meat spread with the family. All in all it was one of the best work days to date.

On Wednesday we attended morning classes with Professor Cates and DeRachewiltz and enjoyed a great lunch, as we do everyday here at Brunnenburg. Danny and myself spent more time picking up chestnuts after lunch then headed off to get ready for our afternoon class which was being held at Schloss Tirol. This particular class was very special because it was taught by our own Siegfried DeRachewiltz, who has spent over the past 20 years building this living museum literally up from the ground. The castle's construction was started in 1070 and continued its second building phase in 1138. The castle contains elaborate portals which are basically large doorways that exhibit engravings of religious symbols. Many of these have been preserved by moving them from other locations around Tirol. Some images on these portals include animals like the lion, eagle, dove, stag, gryphon, monkey, and a peacock. It was very insightful class filled with first hand experiences and tangible material that was presented and absorbed much deeper than any book could ever be interpreted. I would say the best part of the whole museum was having our professor, a Harvard scholar, explain to us what he is passionate about and spent his life working on.

On Thursday the group attended our German, Education, and English class. The English class had the great pleasure of getting a lecture from Richard Seiburth who was Siegfried's room mate while attending Harvard. Richard Sieburth is a translator, essayist, editor, and literary scholar. He has gained widespread recognition for his numerous translations from both German and French literature, and received a number of awards and prizes for his work. He spent most of the class giving personal insight on Pounds Cantos. He spent a good amount of time painting a picture of what Pound was going through during the lengthy process of writing the Cantos. The subjects discussed bounced around from ancient history, modern history, WWI, WWII, federal banks, politics, love, and many other topics. I have to say on behalf of the group that this was one of the best and most educational hour blocks we have ever experienced in our collegiate history. As for the rest of the day we went to lunch then a few of the students continued to harvest the last of the chestnuts. That evening Danny, Sebastian, and myself went to the far side of Meran to a popular burger spot named Hoppum Poppum. This is an interesting attraction because they have imported old Airstream RV's from America, gutted them out, and made them into fully functional burger making machines. We stayed there for a while and brought the girls back some dinner at the castle. Danny and myself along with my friend Martin decided to go out after and quench our thirst at a local pub where we made a bunch of new friends who were excited to meet Americans. This was a great way to end a week filled with tests, field trips, and harvesting.

On Friday the group caught up on some sleep and worked on some homework. It was a very uneventful day but much needed. Saturday the boys and myself took the cable chairs down to the city of Meran after visiting my local burger lady Marion at the wurstelstand. We enjoyed a few beverages and watched some local farmers in a street fair. They had live music and dancing, as well as traditional treats and drinks. After walking around town and meeting up with some friends we decided to head back up to the castle. That evening we went out to the discos in Meran and Gargazon. These places are where most of the people our age frequent on the weekends, and we have made many good friends through these establishments. After a long night of music and fun we took a taxi home and caught up on some much needed rest.

On Sunday the group and myself did some reading and homework followed by our usual tea at 4 with Mary. I have become quite fond of tea time here at the castle. Its interesting how much you learn when your not in a classroom with a book, but when surrounded by friends and experiences. Mary brews up some of the best Earl Grey I have ever had, and of course stuffed me with all types of traditional cakes and cookies. After about three pieces of cake and seven cups of tea you really get the blood flowing... I often bring up our acoustic guitar and provide a musical ambiance for the occasion. During tea time we are often joined by family members, farm hands, and one of my favorite people at the castle Mario. Mario is fluent in many languages including Russian, German, French, Italian, and English to name a few. He is in charge of tourism and the up-keep of the agriculture museum here at the castle. Brunnenburg was his home when he was fifteen, and he is incredibly knowledgeable on many topics that have to do with the surrounding European areas. After tea time we all relaxed and prepared for the start of a new week and planning for our fall break.

                                                 Submitted by: Michael Lorenzo Iannuzzi

No comments:

Post a Comment