Thursday, September 12, 2013

From Shanti to Preghiera

Buon Giorno! Greetings from Perugia! I have moved on to my second HelpExchange stint at another B&B called La Preghiera in the middle of the country, about 5 hours away from The Shanti House. But before I elaborate on that, let me backtrack and give you guys the scoop on the last few weeks at the Shanti…


My previous post was all about my day off spent at the Cinque Terre.  My friend and co-worker, Shanty and I spent the WHOLE day there, jumping from one village to the next. We went swimming, went hiking, took loads of photos, ran like we’ve never run before (to try and catch the last train), and managed to see absolutely EVERYTHING. If you’re ever planning to see or hike Cinque Terre,  I would recommend doing it in 2 days instead of rushing it like we did. There were definitely areas where we wanted to stay longer but couldn’t because we were pressed for time. The trains don’t run as frequently as we thought, so a lot of time was spent just waiting for the next train to arrive. I was SO exhausted, I ended up with a crippling migraine that lasted for 2 days. Look at my photos though… It’s definitely worth the pain, right?
But what I didn’t mention in the last post was that – in Cinque Terre, we were being followed by our very own paparazzi.


I mentioned a few weeks ago that 3 Polish Documentary Film Makers were going to The Shanti House to film me and my other work volunteer peers for a Documentary about working and volunteering abroad. Well, they arrived and they did just that! They conducted interviews with all of us, asking us questions about our stories, and why we were doing what we were doing. They filmed us working around the Shanti, and tagged along on our day off at Cinque Terre… It wasn’t too bad… they filmed us for a bit, and then joined us for a dip on the beach afterwards.
This was taken during my interview! :)
I think they have a really good thing going for them… The subject (working/volunteering abroad) is really interesting, it’s useful for travelers, and it’s going to be a helpful tool for anyone who wants to be able to travel on a budget. The project/documentary is called, “Don’t Pay Me”, and you can check out their website here.


After 3 and a half weeks, a truck load of pasta, 20 jars of Nutella, 30 new friends and one heck of a farewell party, my stint at the Shanti House finally came to a close… I am both blessed and cursed for the experience. Blessed, because it was *so* special to be a part of the Shanti Family… Cursed because nothing will ever compare.

My last night at the Shanti... A farewell concert at the basement!
Now, every other place I’m going to work for will pale in comparison. The Shanti Experience truthfully and genuinely made me fall in love with Italy, the language, the people, the food, everything! I didn’t want to leave… I wanted to stay and sweep their floors forever… but just like anything else in life, there comes a point where you just gotta move on… There’s still so much of the world to see, so much to discover! The beauty about it though is that I know I can always come back… and I will J
With Franco and Martina, the BEST hosts you could ever ask for!

Now, I’m at this new B&B called La Preghiera in a little town near Perugia, the capital city of Umbria… right in the middle of (nowhere) Italy.
It’s a beautiful place… definitely more luxurious and upscale compared to The Shanti… but the experience is different. We don’t/won’t have as much interaction with the guests, for instance… It’s a proper bed and breakfast, much like any other posh ones out there… Beautiful, clean, proper, and quite lavish… There isn’t as much freedom here, and it isn’t as relaxed either…  It’s not awful or anything… I’m just biased because I think The Shanti House is perfect. 

This is my room!!!
I will say though, that the best thing about this place so far is the company. I have 3 other “co-workers” staying/volunteering here with me through HelpExchange, and I *loooove* them . They are the perfect representation of one of the reasons why I travel – which is to meet amazing and like-minded people. They all have interesting stories… Stories that I can completely relate to because they’re similar to mine. Why we left home, why we’re traveling, what our next steps are… I’ve only been with them a few days, and already I feel like we’ve gone through a war together.  My blood brothers… or something dramatic like that. The point is – I’m so glad they’re here, I’m so glad I ‘m here with them, I’m so HAPPY that I met them, and I’m sure I will be best friends with them by the time my stint here ends (if we aren’t already). :)

Top to Bottom: Eduardo, whom I will marry for love, Richard, whom I will marry for convenience, and
Gracie... whom I will visit in Taiwan :)


I dunno, man. There’s really something special about Italy, and I can’t put my finger on it. When I chose to stay and explore this country, my intentions were only to experience the food, see the beauty, and learn about the culture… but what I’m getting is so much more than what I had anticipated. I really didn’t expect to love it so much here – and I haven’t even SEEN Rome, or eaten pizza in Naples yet! Ayyy Dio Mio… Who knows what will happen… I still have a *lot* of time here and it should be interesting to see what develops.

In the meantime… I have some ironing to do.

Ciao! ;)