Pantelleria

Yes, I have WiFi connection here!! (however I will post photos later when I get back to Seattle because I am too busy to do scan them in this week)

Wind storms woke me up before sunrise.  My room is perched like a loft.  Soft white curtains close off my room from the rest of the Warehouse.  Three rooms and our in-the-event-of-rain indoor yoga are here in the Warehouse.  A porthole window looks over pink flowering oleander.  The oleander sways in the wind.  Just beyond the oleander is the sea!  The gusty winds were the last thing I heard when I fell asleep last night and the first thing I heard this morning.  I also wake up to this fresh Pantescan air which seems perfumed with sweet unidentifiable scented flowers and the smell of the sea.

The Warehouse is a 100 or 300 year old (depending on who you talk to!!) large dammuso.  The dammuso (dammusi is plural) is the unique architectural symbol of Pantelleria.  The building style developed sometime in the 10th century.  Architectural characteristics include walls made of lava stone that morph with the landscape.  Extraordinary thick walls (2 meters thick!!) keep the interior cool in summer and warm in winter.  But the main reason for the thick walls is to absorb the pressure of the vaulted roofs.  The vaults on the roof catch every precious drop of rainwater, streamlining it into the underground cistern which every dummuso has.  This particular building was actually a warehouse and was converted to living quarters in the 1970’s.

“Non ti preoccupare!” “Don’t worry!” is the key phrase here.   I have heard it one too many times already!  Yesterday was a very busy and stressful day for me.  The group arrives today and Erminia, Ninetta, and Giulina seem to move to a different beat, a very slow one.  They seem to be in no hurry to get all in order before the group arrives.  I am panicked that nothing will be ready in time.  I find myself saying, in an incredulous tone to Marilyn, “She is just now going to get the cheese?” or “The new mattress arrives when? In the morning?”  Non ti preoccupare, Francesca! Beautiful Giuliana rolls herself a smoke and lights up while cleaning a room.  “No, Giuliana!  Per favore, non fumi qui dentro.”  (in other words, smoke outside please)  No problem.  She casually takes her cigarette outside, leaving me wondering if it were not perhaps better to have let the cigarette dangle from her mouth while she mopped down the floors.

And having written all this, I love the staff!  I wish I could be more laid back like these island folks, but the fact is that I have a huge responsibility on my shoulders.  There is a lot to get in place before the group arrives.  “Non ti preoccupare, Francesca!”, I try to tell myself.

Once the group arrives, the behind-the-scenes stress is gone for me.  The retreat flows.  I am one with the moment.  What happens, happens the way it is supposed to unfold.  I find myself opening up to the moment, to the retreat participants, to the wonderful staff who really work hard (at their own pace) and pump out an amazing product:  luscious food infused with love, passion, smiles, laughter, light-heartedness, beauty. I find myself swimming in the full beauty of this island.  I see the participants unfold and open up like those beautiful rich pink oleanders swaying in the wind.  Once the retreat begins, I enjoy every moment: from teaching yoga to translating and interpreting for the tours, to eating, to laughing, to being with the group.  I am in the flow.  This is what I love most about giving retreats and why I do them.

So, meanwhile, until the group arrives, I have to decipher and accept my staff’s tortoise-like movements and try to relax and get into the flow and groove of southern Italy’s island time.

I woke up early today to blue sky, the sound of wind gusts and the agitated sea.  Brilliant sun now and then, shadowed by big fluffy clouds.  The windstorm is supposed to calm down today.  I will now have an espresso, take a walk to Elephant Rock, and later do yoga with Marilyn and anticipate the arrival of our group.

Today I promise to smile when Erminia or Ninetta or Giulina says to me, “Non ti preoccupare, Francesca!”

FYI, this is an interesting website about Pantelleria. Famous travelers to the island have comments at http://www.pantelleria.co.uk/discover%20pantelleria%20island.html Pantelleria was where parts of the movie Il Postino were filmed. I love how Gabriel Garcia Marquez describes the island (click under “people”).

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3 Responses to “Pantelleria”

  1. Nikoel Says:

    Ahh, Fran! You are too cute. It’s not your fault you’re an American. I’m pretty sure patience is something every one of us struggles with. 🙂

    Those buildings sound ingenious! I want one!

    Like

  2. Rick Clark Says:

    Culture shock with a spiritual flourish, a language lesson to boot!

    r

    Like

  3. Halina Stolar Says:

    Fran! I nearly cried seeing the pictures of Pantelleria! It was so wonderful to see Erminia and Giuliana and Tonino again! And of course you and Marilina (^_^) I had forgotten that you told me you’d have the retreat in the same place. I saw my room and its breathtaking view and I once again offer up a cosmic “thank you” to the universe that I was able to go last year. I haven’t even read anything though. I was so engrossed in the photos.

    Keep having a wonderful time, enjoy life like you always do and remember: “Non ti preocupare Francesca!” Love and namaste ❤

    Like

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