I apologize for the brief break in programming… I’ve had a crazy few days! The past two days have left me speechless quite a few times, and have tested me (in a good way). I have been exhausted and my allergies have been bad, so it can be difficult to feel positive, happy, and cheery all the time. Despite all of this, I think that I’ve done a good job at pushing through it. Something in the air here is making my nose stuffy, and my skin itch like crazy, but only at random times and it’s very brief. I’ve noticed that it is bad when I walk near a certain type of plant here, so I’m hoping it’s because everything here in the air is new for me!
Yesterday was beautiful, and filled with friends and laughter. It was Elena’s birthday, so I surprised her with a handmade drawing that reads, “Happy Birthday Elena”. She has been amazed by my art, so I wanted to make her something. I would have loved to buy her a present, but it would be impossible to do it without her knowing. She was so surprised! We went to the mall yesterday morning because she wanted to, and then went to her Mom’s for lunch. I ate a ridiculous amount of food for lunch, and truly almost exploded. In the evening, we drove to Siracusa to have lunch with their close friends, which turned out to be a 5 course seafood meal at a restaurant on the sea. Their friends brought along some of their friends (confusing, right?), and they are from Roma. They offered to let me stay with them for a weekend so that I can visit Roma!!! The couple is so kind, and the daughters have done studying abroad programs in America before, so they can speak English. I am so flattered that they are willing to have me into their home, and it’s a dream come true to have locals show me around. I’m so grateful.
After dinner in Siracusa (which was around midnight), my host parent’s showed me the town. Little did I know that Siracusa was the place that I had been dreaming of in my head for my entire life. From the narrow streets, the romantic restaurants, the epic views… I was truly speechless. My Mama asked me if I was OK, and I told her yes… I simply had no words for how amazed that I was to be here.
Today was so simple and beautiful. I knew that we were going to a barbecue, but I wasn’t expecting this. Some of my family’s friends from Giarratana own a large farm, and this is where we were going. There were about 20 people, and we ended up spending about eight hours here. They barbecued chicken, pork, bacon, and sausage… all of which came from their farm and was prepared fresh this morning! The sausage was the absolute best that I’ve ever tried.
The barbecue was so amazing because there was only 1 person (besides my host family) that spoke English. He said that he “LOVES AMERICA!!!!!” and we talked all about his travels here. I’m apparently very interesting to every single person in Sicilia, so everyone else asked him to translate questions for me, and give them my responses. I am continuously amazed by how kind the people are, especially to a foreigner. They treat me as if I’m royalty. Take note people, I could get used to this.
The best part of the day was when the children wanted me to play with them. A few of the adults and I went for a short walk, and the children wanted to come with us. Two young girls in the group study English, and were eager to impress me with what they know. It was adorable! They wanted to practice everything, and in return I tried to give them their word in Italian. I’ve discovered that anyone here is more open to me when I attempt to speak in their language, which is natural. We did this for almost an hour, and then we went back to just running around on the farm.
Another highlight of the day was trying chipola. It looks like a lemon, but has a more wrinkled skin. It smells slightly lighter than a true lemon. The difference is that with chipola, you cut the skin off and eat it like an apple. It has a very light lemon flavor that is slightly sweet, but has the texture of an apple / cantaloupe. It’s difficult to describe! The locals said that it is good for cleansing the stomach. I believe it!
PS – Pictures are coming soon! My computer has decided to sync my entire IPhone instead of just my pictures, so I don’t have time to wait up right now.