I have often read about people expresing a desire to take part in a culture exchange with a person from a different country. This always made me think to myself, first of all, what would I exchange? I am American. What is our cluture? Hamburgers? Baseball? Then I thought even if I figured out what to share, how would I share it? Should I make a power presentation and bring visual aids? This idea of a cultural exchange was always intriguing, I want to learn about other people's cultures, but also daunting because I did not now what I would give in exchange. This weekend I found out.
I stayed on an olive farm in Tuscany this weekend where there lived a wonderful, little boy named Pietro. Pietro was very excited about Halloween. He talked about it all day Saturday and repeatedly chimed out, "scherzetto o dolcetto" (trick or treat in Italian), usually from the top of an olive tree. He also talked about carving a pumpkin. On the farm they grow many things but unfortunately not pumpkins. After we finished dinner that night, Christina, the farmer, brought in a butternut squash she had picked from the garden and offered it up to be carved. We, five adults, sat around the table thinking how to carve the squash. I must admit that at first I was skeptical. There are many differences between a proper carving pumpkin and a butternut squash. One of the adults suggested to cut the very hour glassly shaped squash into two pieces and at that suggestion the possibilities started to come to life quickly, followed by the jack-o-lanterns.
The squash was cut in two. The seeds taken out and the center cut away. Pietro drew the perfect face on each half with triangle eyes, a small triangle nose, and a sweet little smile. I carved out the pieces and then Pietro, who had the perfect sized hands to fit inside the small squash, removed the cut out pieces. We lit little tea lights and put the two squash faces on top of them and here are the results: