Is this really my first post from Sicily? I bought a new power cable this week and have slowly been catching up with the world since then. I almost didn’t want to turn on the computer again, it was so freeing to be without it. It’s the same way with my camera (although I am planning to buy a disposable camera to capture a few key memories).
I’ve been here for over a week now and am truly enjoying it. As expected, I spend more time working here than at the B&B. I’ll do a post on my typical day, later. The family (Piero who is the husband and a bit older, Maria who is the wife and probably in her forties, and Ruggero who is the cute if somewhat spoiled five-year-old son) are excellent hosts. They give me a lot of trust and responsibility, and take care of me in so many ways.
Today for il pranzo (lunch) we ate linguine con pomodorini e frutte del mare (linguine with cherry tomatoes and seafood). Maria is such a good cook. We are always joking that this should be a Michelin-rated restaurant. They actually do want to have a very small restaurant at some point in the future. At any rate, lunch was amazing. The seafood was delicious and consisted of shrimp and mussels purchased at the produce market in Siracusa when the family went there yesterday.
The meal was a perfect picture of life here: traditionally Sicilian, filled with kindness and generosity. I didn’t realize this before, but lunch (as explained to me by the girl helping here before) is the most important meal of the day here. The family always eats together, so I eat with them and we ALWAYS have pasta: farfalle, linguine, spaghetti, etc. For the first week I was horrified at the thought of all the white flour I was consuming, but I (and my body, I hope) have gotten used to it by now. And Maria always gives me such a large portion. My plate is always pre-served with pasta, and then we help ourselves to salad and vegetables as soon as there is room on our plates, for which I am extremely grateful. Maria noticed on the first day that I was eating my pasta slowly and diving into the side dishes, so we talked a little about how I like vegetables. She agrees that they are good for you and thankfully prepares some every day (the most unique was zucca or pumpkin, steamed and prepared with olive oil and vinegar). But still, a generous serving of pasta every day. Last year in Italy I was cooking for myself (that’s not actually fair to say…Anna Gansert was cooking which was much, much better) and so the food was influenced by but certainly not typically Italian. So this has been a new experience for me.
Besides the special lunch today, the other astonishing demonstration of their generosity came Wednesday night when I was preparing for my free day (we had just worked out my day off that morning, very last-minute, very Italian). I was reading all about Siracusa in the hostel’s guide book, and just before he left for the night, Piero came up to me saying he had “un piccolo present” for my trip the next day and put some money in my hand. I was surprised and touched. I didn’t really know what proper protocol was in that type of situation, so I tried to demonstrate my astonishment by weakly protesting and my gratefulness by thanking him profusely. I hope he realized how much it meant to me. It covered my bus fare and some of my food for the day.
Tonight after check-in (6-9 p.m.) we are going to a pizzeria. I am still full from lunch. Ciao!