As I told some of you, though maybe not most of you because I have checked out of life and stopped caring about keeping in touch because my internet situation is so bad, I went to Sicily over Easter weekend. I flew down from Roma and spent Friday – Tuesday in Siracusa. I’ll skip out on all the boring details but I will tell you that this was by far my favorite place I have visited since being here. It was a beautiful city, the people were extremely welcoming, and the food was UNBELIEVABLE (which is really the only real reason why I liked it).
Sicily also introduced me to some of the best old Italian people I have met thus far, so I decided to make a collective list.
1. The Nonna who attempted to teach me how to make orecchiette in Mola di Bari. God bless this woman, because I know how much of a hopeless case I was. I never knew that rolling out pasta with a knife and then doing a perfect pop – flip from your thumb to your pointer finger was so incredibly difficult. Nonna smiled at me a few times, but mostly she whispered legitimate directions in my ear and I know that the dialect she was speaking were not actually words of encouragement, but something more along the lines of “this girl has absolutely no life skills whatsoever and I would never marry her to my hot Italian grandson.”
2. The old crazy in Ricigliano. This character spoke in some sort of backwoods, top of a mountain dialect that I don’t even think was a real language. After being harassed by my father for 20 minutes to ask someone in this “town” (strip of 5 houses) where his cousin Gina lives, I finally broke down and began a “conversation” (neither of us understood anything that the other said) with this man and tried to retrieve directions. Seeing as I couldn’t formulate anything he said into Italian, I told my parents a made up answer (past the trees, on the left) and continued walking. However, this was not the last I would see of this man. After we did actually find the house (I had to speak to a younger person who spoke real Italian), the old crazy came up to our car and started yelling something through the window that I think had to do with Gina and her whereabouts, but I cannot be positive. The encounter ended with us rolling up the windows and driving away, so I would say that this old Italian person is one I would look out for in the future in case he is still angry.
3. The old man from Catania. Upon my arrival in Sicily I went to get a pizza pocket from a little shop. There was an old man in there eating a large plate of spaghetti and a glass of wine. After I finished my pizza pocket and left he came out on the street, ran through the crazy Italian traffic like only someone with a lifetime of experience would do, and started yelling at me about how much his wine in the pizza pocket shop cost. This then led him to tell me how bad quality the wine was and that I should never have eaten in the aforementioned pizza pocket shop. Grazie, il vecchio.
4. The Nonna on the bridge in Siracusa. This Nonna was GREAT. It was Saturday of Easter weekend and she was walking around handing out pamphlets like there was no tomorrow. When she approached me and my roommate and told us directly that we were stranieri (foreigners) I knew we were in for a treat. She spent the next 10 minutes enlightening us about how Jesus is not God and then made us take home some well worn Church booklets … from 2003.
5. The old man of paradise from the same bridge in Siracusa. He was passing out little pictures of God’s paradise and explained to us that if we created love in our families, this is what our lives would look like. I wanted to ask him how a grizzly bear playing in the middle of a meadow with a 5 year old was considered to be paradise, but I couldn’t remember the word for grizzly bear and I really didn’t want to hurt his feelings.
Currently, the list stops here, but I am going to do everything in my power to meet as many old Italian people as I can in the next 15 days. They are really the greatest part about this country and I am scraping my memory to make sure that I haven’t forgotten about any of them. Also, I really want one to cook for me and introduce me to their extremely attractive grandson who has the life dream of moving back to America, living on a beach, and contributing a lot of money to our new life together while I read books for a living. I’ll keep you posted.