What I’ve Learned in 10 Days

Ciao tutti,

I’ve been saving a post like this for a day where I don’t have a crazy adventure to write about. Today was one of those days, but it’s not a bad thing! Today was very normal and relaxed, which was much needed for all of us.

I want to preface this by saying that this post is not meant to be assumptive or to generalize all of Sicilian culture. I’m writing this because I think that Sicilia is under appreciated, and there are so many beautiful quirks that make this place special. Some of these unique facets also apply to Italian culture, and some apply more to Sicilia. These are some of the things that I wish I had known before coming here, but I want to share with everyone now!

Sicilian’s like everything just so.

I wish I had a better way to word this, but because I don’t, I’ll give some examples. It can be 75 degrees outside, but if the wind is blowing slightly, it’s far too cold. If they are walking 10 feet from the house to the car, they must put on a jacket to feel just right. They like to have organization, but they don’t like to make set times for plans. I could right a novel about how finely balanced life is here. It seems chaotic, but somehow everyone just understands the implied rules.

Italians and Sicilians greatly respect the world status of Americans, but appreciate it when you try to blend in with their cultural norms. 

Sometimes, people of foreign countries to not appreciate American tourists, and I can see why for obvious reasons. As Americans, I have quickly discovered that we take our everyday freedoms for granted. We can dress however we want without being judged heavily but others, we can boast about our uniqueness, and we can try anything that we want. As Americans, we are encouraged to try different activities or paths until we find the right one. It’s not the case here, and the people expressly wish for it. Regardless of what your political opinion is, the United States is incredible and you cannot appreciate what it is like to be an American until others literally wish to be you because you are. I try to respect their cultural norms of greeting each other, saying goodbye, and dressing like them. In return, I am treated as family and have been welcomed by everyone.

If you ask the right way, any rule can be bent. This is especially true for family matters.

I read about this through doing some research, and I witnessed an example of this being true from the moment I stepped off of the plane in Catania. One of the security misunderstood my question about where my baggage claim are was, and I accidentally left the secured area without my bag. My host mother asked just the right way, and they bent the rule and let me in. I even see this between Sofia and her mother, and between other family members. If you convince someone that what you want is important, any accommodation can be made. It’s incredible.

Most importantly, bread is life.

It’s a sin to not eat bread with every meal.

I’m planning to do more posts soon, and I know that I had thought about more to write. Unfortunately, its midnight here, I’m tired, and I’m distracted by the horrible itching of the bug bites.

Abby

 

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