#FoodFiction: “Find Your Passion”

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Questo racconto è il risultato della collaborazione tra SapereFood e Umbra Institute. Dopo aver visitato alcune importanti aziende della regione, gli studenti hanno scritto delle storie di fantasia sperimentando la tecnica promozionale chiamata “product placement”, ovvero l’inserimento di un marchio all’interno della narrazione.

by Emily Paladino

Inspired by the location of Tenuta Lunelli, Carapace

It is a universal truth that everyone should balance out their passions. Do not waste all of your passion on work, always save some for the person you will be with when there is no more work. For the last eight years I have been working my way up in this company which has given me endless responsibilities. However, with these responsibilities come a surplus of high class parties and social events.  I wouldn’t say they are all enjoyable though. I have always seen it as a high expectation for us to have to go out til late on a Tuesday only to wake up hours later for a long day of work. So naturally, I was not exactly looking forward to another event. I have mastered masking my true feelings about them. I put on an elegant dress, pinned up my hair, and did my makeup including a painted on smile. It was just another night and they all end, temporally, until the next one comes. I should be more excited about it. I do not have time to see my friends and I certainly do not have time to date. These events should be the best part of my weeks yet I am so devoted to my work that I do not have time to even think about pleasure.

When I arrived at the winery I could not believe my eyes. I was staring at the structure of a turtle and was convinced it could not be the winery I was looking for.  Luckily, my boss pulled up next to me so I knew I was in the right place. There was always mingling involved in these situations. I talked to people for a few minutes and then we went our separate ways, never to cross paths again. I walked in completely in awe of the architecture. I had never seen such a creative design. I needed to know more about it. The waitresses and waiters seemed too occupied attending to the guests and I did not want to overwhelm them, so I kept my questions to myself.  In the corner there was one man who seemed about as tired of mingling as I was. I walked over in hope of taking a break. He welcomed me to take a seat and I asked him how he was enjoying the party. To my surprise, he wasn’t there for the party. He had been working at the winery since it opened. This was great news and I was excited to be able to ask questions about this magnificent building. He seemed even more delighted to answer. His eyes lit up as he explained the history of combining art with wine. To him, the process of winemaking was a delicate form of art that he has dedicated his life to. He suddenly grabbed my hand and took me down the windy, intricate staircase. This was it, the place where all the magic happened. His passion was spilling out as he showed me the different barrels explaining in detail the antique process of creating wine at a modern vineyard. He brought me through the winery, to the tasting room, around the large and complex aging and storage cellar. I had no idea how much went into creating a bottle of wine. I even got to smell the barrel used for the 2013 grapes. As I inhaled the aromas, Antonello explained every last scent in the mixture. Out of the whole property, my favorite part of the night was when we opened a bottle of wine overlooking the beautiful green hills that were filled with vines of locally protected Sagrantino grapes.

We talked for hours that night. From our jobs to our families to our biggest fears, I have never learned so much about someone that quickly. The conversation was paired with a bottle of Montefalco Sagrantino that was harvested in 2013. He told me in detail about how special this harvest was. How each harvest is different but they all bring specific memories back to him, and how every last grape was harvested by hand. He explained how 2013 was an unusually hot summer, but the mixtures of soil made the vines resistant to being affected by summer drought. This wine has been in the bottle for a little over a year and before that spent 24 months a large oak cask. I had never thought about all that went into one bottle of wine. I had always mindlessly picked wine solely for the design on the bottle. There was something so attractive about a person who was so passionate about his work. I was completely lost in conversation and before I knew it the sun was rising and I did not have long to get ready for work.

From that day on I hung out with Antonello almost every night. When we were not hanging out, we were communicating in some way. He was always on my mind. Every dinner that we ate, Antonello would bring a new bottle of wine and informed me about what made it special. For the first time in my life, I felt like I had the best of both worlds. I was balancing my job while falling in love. I did not feel too overwhelmed because I was too happy to feel rundown. My favorite nights were the ones we just stayed in by the fire talking about our days and discussing the new bottle of wine.

Two months had passed since the first day I met Antonello. I wanted to constantly be with him but my workload became so demanding. I worked my whole life to get this position and I was determined to keep it my main priority. Daily encounters with Antonello dropped down to barely once a week. We were growing apart not because we didn’t want to be with each other, but because we didn’t have enough time in the day. I was really missing him, but staying preoccupied with work helped to fill that void. At this point I brought in more success than ever to the company and as a result, my boss offered me a new promotion. Being 30 years old, I realized that this was the time in my life where I should be focusing on my own success. The only downfall about this promotion was that I would have to relocate back to America. I have lived in Italy since I first finished college and I have become so fond of it. Moving to America was not exactly what I hoped for but it might be a good thing to get to be back with my family. I accepted the job before discussing it with anyone. I realized that it was time for me to head back home and I could not wait to surprise my family. I found myself only thinking about what was to come and not what was in my life at the moment. As I was packing up my apartment, my doorbell rang. Antonello was standing at the door with a bouquet of flowers and of course, a bottle of wine. Oh my goodness. With all of the emotions I was feeling I never once thought to even call Antonello. We never actually stopped seeing each other; we just started to see each other less. There was absolutely no excuse for me to not discuss my future plans. When he saw all of the boxes filling my living room, his face looked puzzled.

I explained everything to him. How I have worked so hard to get to this place and how it just wouldn’t be right if stopped trying before I made it to the top. I knew that I was capable of going all the way and bringing even more success to my company.  To my surprise, Antonello was happy for me. He congratulated me on the promotion, handed me the bouquet of flowers, and walked towards the door. My heart stopped, I didn’t want him to leave. He told me that I missed the chance I had to talk to him about it. He was right. He deserved to hear about the offer before I made my decision. Although we were drifting, I still enjoyed his company more than I had ever enjoyed anyone’s. Suddenly, I found myself at a stand still, but it was too late. To me, I felt as though going back to America was what I was meant to do. Antonello was a great phase and I would never want to take away the time we shared together.

My decision was made; there was no looking back now. Two short week’s passed and next thing I knew I was on a plane back to America. When I thought about Antonello it would leave a pit in my stomach. I told myself it was the right choice. My job had been a passion of mine for over 10 years and the passion that he and I shared lasted only a few short months. Who knows where we would be in our relationship right now. When my job was tiring and at times boring, I found myself not having any passion for it. I always wanted success but once I had it the magic was lost. What good is having all this money if I do not have anyone to enjoy it with?  If there was one thing that Antonello taught me, it was to always do what you love.

* * *

Five years went by and I had finally made it to the top of my company. I was in charge of deciding where everyone was located. I decided that it was time for me to go back to Italy. I became too caught up in the fast pace life in America and only worked myself harder. This brought me more success but has only left me more tired and less happy. The happiest I had ever been, was in Italy. I thought maybe going back to the place where I spent the best times of my life would help me find the passion for my job again. Two short weeks filled with packing had passed and suddenly I was on my way back to Italy.

To celebrate my return to Italy, my colleagues there threw a surprise party. I was brought to the venue in a limo and I had no idea what to expect. The wheels stopped, the driver opened my door, and I stepped out with butterflies in my stomach. When I looked up I saw the beautiful turtle structure sitting on a hill of vines. My body was instantly filled with every emotion imaginable. Joy, fear, nostalgia- I cannot believe that I stood there again just five short years later. I did not know what to expect and was nervous that I would bump into a familiar face, who surely wanted nothing to do with me.

The party was going smoothly and I was having too much fun to think about what could happen there. I talked to people I hadn’t seen since I moved home. It was so nice to catch up with everyone. I was enjoying every moment of this party because it was not like a normal social event. People were dancing and enjoying themselves which is always refreshing to see. As I was dancing someone tapped me on my shoulder. I quickly turned around, excited to see what old friend it might be. Antonello… Antonello was standing in front of me and asked for the next dance. The two minutes felt like ages. We did not talk during the dance but instead gazed into each other’s eyes. My heart was beating and I did not know what I was going to say. After the dance he pulled me over to the same table we sat at the first time we met. I could not believe that there we were again. I knew I had to apologize. I poured my heart out and told him how I wonder what would have happened if I stayed. He was sorry too. He regretted everyday that he did not beg for me to stay. He said he even contemplated picking up and moving to America. Massachusetts I might add, where there is no vineyard to be found. He said that the summer I left, he bought every bottle of the Montefalco Sagrantino that we drank our first night together. It did not remind him of that unique 2013 harvest, but instead the memories that we shared together. His eyes were filled with passion as he assured me that he truly did love me. I found myself falling back in love, until suddenly I beautiful women walked over. Antonello introduced me to his wife of three years Elisa.

Umbra Institute

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