Food & More Food (and some Beach)

Ciao tutti,

The title of this post basically sums up the past week of my life! I haven’t posted as frequently because I wanted to take a break from my computer and phone. Now that it’s July, it’s hit me that I don’t have long left here. I would rather spend it with the incredible people here and experiencing every moment instead of being on my phone or computer. I’ve been so happy with this decision, but as a result, it means I’ve been staying up very late and can’t keep my eyes open to type anything.

Today was a busy day! We relaxed during the morning, but then Elena and I ran fun errands all afternoon. She went to her esthetician, so I went with her because I love that place. It’s relaxing to even just be inside. Then, we went to the mall because it’s officially sales season here. It’s a real problem living so close to a Zara during their sale season. Although I’m trying to not buy much for myself, I bought a few things for great prices! I even got a beautiful pair of sandals from PrimaDonna for 30 euros. I’m happy with what I got! During the evening, we went to Scicli. This town is famous because the movie, Montelbano, was filmed here. I ate dinner about ten feet from the famous “inspectors office” in Montelbano. There are famous landmarks from Montelbano all around Scicli, Ragusa, and the surrounding areas. It’s easy to see why they chose this region… it’s perfect.

Since my last post about Modica, my days have been normal! I’ve spent a lot of time with my family and friends here, and have lived my “normal” days. I’ve been to the beach most of the days, and visited Sampiere beach again! Sampiere is in Donnalucata, which is a beautiful coastal town. I went to Sampiere on Sunday, and the water was abnormally crazy! It was a beautiful, hot day, but it was very windy. We kept needing to run from the waves and move our bags because the water kept coming up further on the sand! During the morning, we had to do a check in at a villa. I got to experience the craziest instance of how small this world is. The guests in this villa were from Germany, and one of the men was married to a woman from Iran. I started to talk to her, and she asked me where I was from. I explained, and told her about Duquesne, and she has a friend to is a professor at Duquesne! She showed me a picture, and I know that I’ve seen this woman at school. It was absolutely crazy! Then, we got to talking about what I study and what I want to do, and she told me about her company. She works for CosNova, and international beauty company. She was impressed with what I study, and that I was able to so easily speak to so many foreign people and connect in a matter of seconds, and told me to add her on LinkedIn. She said that if I’m ever interested in a job, she knows one for me, and the offices are on Fifth Avenue in New York City! So crazy. Obviously, I couldn’t say yes right now, but it was a wonderful connection to make.

Saturday was a very busy day. I went with Elena to three of her villas to help with check-in, check-out, and supervising the cleaning crew. It was a hectic day, and INCREDIBLY hot. Saturday was the 97 degree day, and it stayed hot even into the night. In the evening, we went to her villa in Giarratana to introduce the guests in this location to their chef for the night. These guests were from Norway, and they arranged to have a special family meal prepared for them. The chefs for the night were Francesco’s cousins, and this is something that they do on the side because cooking is their hobbies. We helped to prepare some of the meal, and decorate the dining area for the guests (we didn’t get to eat the food). I learned how to make arancini, Italian “pigs in a blanket”, a chicken recipe, couscous, and fresh pasta. They were making much more than this, but this is what I was able to help with. I was elated to be able to help, and even just to watch them cook was fun. They cook with so much passion and love that watching it is like a show. The chefs ending up staying until after midnight by the time that they finished cooking and cleaning, but the guests were extremely happy and enjoyed their night. The pictures don’t do justice for how much food was actually in the kitchen. They had about 15 large bags filled with ingredients to cook with. I wish that I had a way to let you experience how amazing the house smelled… I was starving. After we finished helping the chefs, we went to Nonna & Nonno’s house to eat pizza and relax. It was the perfect ending to a crazy day.

 

During one of the evenings in the past week (I can’t remember which), we visited our friends farmhouse in Giarratana. It was so relaxing and beautiful. The people are SO kind, and they always ask me if I can come back and stay with them. The husband wants to learn English because he rents villas for one of his jobs, and it’s crucial to speak English in this situation. Their children study English at school, and the wife just wants to learn. They are so welcoming to me, and the husband actually hugged me so hard that it hurt my back last time. I never said anything because it’s not the worst problem to have. It was very sweet. I also got to play with their two friendly German Shepherds and have a beer, so I was pretty content. I ended the night by watching the wife and some of their other friends prepare fresh bread and focaccia in a wood oven. Here’s a description of one type of bread that they made (it was incredible) – Think of the asiago cheese cracker sticks from Trader Joe’s. Imagine that they were as long as your arm, slightly less salty, soft, and warm on the inside. I almost died when I tasted it.

I’m hoping to get back to posting more regularly now. I have another blog post coming up for Greenheart, and I’ll be going to Palermo this weekend! I’m sure that I’ll have exciting things to share soon.

Abby

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