I sit in a cold olive press factory on the Molise, Lazio, Campania border. I have been invited here by a man I met just days ago, by chance in a hilltop town near Termoli. He took it upon himself to give the Americans a tour of the olive press that we stumbled upon, and crashed the party. He was the tour guide and he loved that. We exchanged numbers at the end of the afternoon and he invited us to Caserta where his press was to see his operation. We thanked him and said maybe we would stop through.
That night my phone rang over our late lunch and it was Nando. Ciao Angelina! Come Stai? He wanted us to know again that he’d love to have us come by and see him. And so with our plans changing around us anyway, I called him back the next day and said we’d be there in a few hours. Nando would take care of the rest.
And that is how I got here. Simple exchanges through broken Italian between people who just reveled in new experience and new people. We watched the press all day as farmers and their family came by with sometimes truck loads, sometimes just a trunk full of their harvest. Each harvest was weighed and dumped into the press and monitored by the best looking man in Southern Italy I’d seen thus far. Green jump suit and all. Later Nando introduced us to every member of his family, every person that came through to chat and took us to have the best pizza in the zone. Two bottles of wine and three pizzas later I had a new friend and business partner. Nando and I are going to experiment with importing his olive oil to the States. This is what happens when you let go. Note taken.