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The Italian job: My summer labor

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06.09.2021

In July, I moved from the U.S. to Italy. I planned to start my new life with a five-week vacation, by far the longest of my adult life. In the process, I would attempt to embody dolce far niente, literally translated as “the sweetness of doing nothing.” That would largely entail hanging out with my family, eating Italian food and a hard-core commitment to frequent naps. After all, I’d worked as an adult for 45 years, and almost every day for the last eight.

But my son-in-law Vito was renovating the house in Puglia that belonged to him and our daughter Caroline, acting alone for months now. As luck would have it, he is a veteran contractor (as well as an artist). He had started as an apprentice to his uncle at age 13. And within days of my arrival in the town of Martina Franca, Vito asked me to help him redo the house.

I was thrilled to pitch in. I typically sit all day at my desk in front of a computer. My most strenuous physical activity during my work hours is typing. The heaviest object I lift is a paper clip. Besides, I’d long since outgrown my youthful knack for dolce far niente. My biggest incentive to join........

© NY Daily News


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