Cook The Farm: A walk around Regaleali

by bolhuisadmin

Today I set out on a jog/walk around the estate. For those of you who don’t me well, I do not run or jog. I prefer my spin classes at the gym, but of course, this does not exist when living in the countryside in Sicily. So in an effort to explore, and perhaps eventually ditch some of the extra holiday pounds I went on a looooooong walk. I really didn’t know what I was getting into to be quite honest. The property is huge, and I knew this, but I learned today that when one actually goes around the entire loop, it is quite the loop. I fear I may be a bit sore tomorrow since it’s been a while since I was able to even get in my regular workouts at home with the holiday season and then preparing for my trip.

So I set out along the uneven pathway and took in the scenery around me. When entering the main gate, you’re greeted by a row of olive trees that line the pathway, and naked grapevines cover the hillsides. Eventually the eucalyptus trees shoot up in all their magnificence. I love these trees, they’re so elegant, and their fragrance is intoxicating. The wind hums though the grasses and the trees creating a symphony. Clouds create shadows of mystery over the sheep on the hillside, flocks of birds fly in quizzical patterns. Wild flowers pop up among the hillsides giving a splash of color amongst the green.Little birds skip though the air between the trees and vines. Sounds of water stream in the distance. Butterflies dance in front of me diving in and out of figure eights. One followed me for some time down the main road which connects the two entrances to the estate.

Butterflies or “farfalle” as they are called here(yes, its like the bow tie pasta) are a symbol of a sign sent from a loved one as a reminder that they are always around. When my Dad passed away, I was sent so many butterflies, I was surrounded by them in my everyday life, and in the most unexpected places. I would see them fly across the freeway in front of me, or floating about the lemon tree in my backyard. To me these beautiful creatures are both significant and special.

In many ways I feel similar to the butterfly in that it starts out as a caterpillar, goes through a transformation and ends up coming out the other side as something so beautiful and magical. Everyone goes through life transforming, and becoming a new person based on the challenges and experiences faced. For me being here, in this new environment, and taking a risk is a huge step in yet another transformation. It’s a different kind of transformation for me because there is so much meaning for me being here. Coming to Sicily, and being a part of this program is a dream come true. It’s something I have wanted to do before I settled on going to culinary school in the states. Had it not been for my Dad, I wouldn’t be here. I wouldn’t have followed this dream.Through my grief I learned that life is short, and I believe it is important to take risks, follow your heart and let nothing hold you back from becoming the person you were meant to be. In the process of becoming who you need to be there are risks, and yes, this can be a fearful process, but its a necessary process. In turn coming out the other side as a changed human being, a strong and loving individual is worth all the sacrifice. The past two years I have learned so much about myself, but I absolutely know that this experience will change my life in so many unexpected ways.

A key thing I am learning here is the value of time, but in a different way than I would usually appreciate my time. I am learning there is so much merit in slowing down and taking everything in. Slow down and smell the roses, they’re beautiful and delicate. Something so simple as eating a meal surrounded by friends and family and actually taking the time to appreciate what’s in front of you is worth wonders. Our days here are very full so far, but there is not a rush from one thing to the next. There is an incredible advantage in experiencing the elements in which we are surrounded. Already my brain is buzzing with so many thoughts and ideas for the future. With that, on to the next week which is full of cheese, one of my favorites! Buonanotte to all!

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