Ciao a tutti,
This is the first blog of 2018 coming to you from my bedroom in Ragusa. I’ve missed this place so much! I love my bedroom here… I can lay here with the windows open and have fresh air, and the room just inspires my creativity. Being back in Ragusa feels surreal to me right now… many things are the same, but many things are different. Regardless, it is the Ragusa that I love so much.
There were no words to describe my exhaustion yesterday. I made it until around 8:00 p.m. before I crashed. My adrenaline kept me going for most of the day! Once I realized that I had been awake and moving for more than 24 hours, I really began to feel it. I’m lucky that my host family and friends totally understood why I was quiet yesterday… I wasn’t confident that I was even speaking English or forming coherent sentences because I was so tired.
Yesterday was everything that I hoped for and more. Elena and I stood in the middle of the street in Marina di Ragusa, hugged each other, and sobbed when we first saw each other. I’m blessed to have such a wonderful relationship with my host family. I don’t even like calling them a “host family” because I just refer to them as my family now… that is what they feel like to me. I met Elena and Francesco at Marina di Ragusa with my grandparents, and then we went to Nonna Maria’s house. I reunited with her, Sofia, and Emilio! Sofia and I tackled and squeezed each other the moment that met again. Emilio was tired from school, so he was a little bit confused as to how or why I was there. Maria made me my favorite meal… tomatoes, mozzarella, and bread. It’s so simple, but I love it. Then, we drove home, relaxed, and had dinner. Elena made us chicken, salad, bread, and we snacked on provola. The food here is so simple, but so good. I already notice a difference in how light and good I feel as compared to when I eat anything in America. If I were to have as much bread as I have eaten in the past two days in Pittsburgh, I think I would be dead by now from the pain. Here, I eat it as a snack and with every meal. All of us caught up on life from the past year during dinner, and Elena told me that so many people have been asking to see me! She told everyone that I was coming, and I can’t believe that some people remember me. The fisherman at the supermarket, the woman from the children’s store at the mall, the parents of children in Sofia’s class… they all make me feel so special! I remember every single person that I met last year, but I can’t believe that they remember me. The people here are so thoughtful and kind. I feel so honored to be a part of this community!
This morning, I was reunited with ricotta and nespole 🙂 I HAVE MISSED RICOTTA SO MUCH! I can’t describe my love of ricotta to anyone. Also, my nespole…. oh I love nespole. They are little stone fruits that resemble apricots, but are lighter in flavor and don’t have fuzzy skin. I spent most of the morning playing with Sofia. We watched cartoons, did each others hair (I looked fabulous), and ran around the house. Our main endeavor this morning was to kill a little bug that was annoying the heck out of all of us. When it was trapped in the laundry room, Sofia and I spent about an hour inside throwing her slippers in all directions to catch it. Sofia was the one who actually got it in the end! I was able to go for a run this morning, which I love doing here because the air is so clean. I feel like I can breathe so freely, and I feel so good after a run here. We stopped at a few villas to help put away umbrellas and canopies because the wind is crazy here today! Then, we ate lunch and are now relaxing. Tonight, we are going to Marina for aperitivo with friends, and I’m sure it will be a late night! Our friends had a baby girl while I was gone, so I get to meet the little cutie tonight 🙂
All of the simple but amazing things that I’ve done in the past 24 hours are exactly why I chose to teach English abroad, rather than any other travel abroad experience. You develop a new appreciation for the small things in everyday life when you are able to live them in a new place with new people. I’ve found myself enjoying small tasks more at home because I was able to recall how much they meant to me last year in Ragusa. It is so interesting to observe myself now with these experiences after getting to know this place so well. I’m loving every second of it, but am looking at it now as the person I have become after my experience here last year. It’s helping me to realize how much I’ve changed, and how beneficial it was for my entire life.
I can’t wait to see what adventures I’ll have in the next 5 weeks, and to share them with you!
***An edit that I’m thinking of now… today while we were running errands, we all sang Occidentali’s Karma and Bohemian Rhapsody together in the car like old times. Memories like these are my absolute favorite because they truly make us feel like family. I surprised Sofia by singing every word to Occidentali’s Karma! She laughed so hard. I also learned that she loves Moana, which makes me SO HAPPY. I always listen to Moana in Sicily because it makes me feel a certain way. She reminds me of a little Moana. 🙂