walking in Sicily in the springtime


Last Wednesday was such a perfect, blue-sky day!  Lena, Gil, and I took our usual weekly walk to buy fruits and vegetables, and along the way I took some pictures of our town in the spring.  Don’t you just want to bury your nose in those beautiful wisteria blossoms?


Above, a mural of our town showing a festival below the cliff.  On the right, Lena pokes through her snacks for the good stuff while I do my shopping.



^^^ Already I can’t walk anywhere without a big bottle of water to keep me hydrated.




On the left, I picked some wisteria blossoms and hung them up at home as “spring mistletoe.”  On the right,  I bought these fish in town and then realized they weren’t gutted!

Funny story about those fish, actually.   I saw the fishmonger’s truck and spontaneously decided we’d have fish for dinner.  The fishmonger saw me waiting with my children and broke into a huge smile of recognition, saying to the five men waiting around me that the signora would go first.  After some discussion, I made my selection and was about to pay for them when I realized I was out of cash!  Embarrassing.  He told me not to worry, he’d set them aside for me.  Around the corner to the bank I went, hurrying as quickly as I could when I have a two-year-old who loves to press the ATM buttons for me.

When I came back around the corner… the fish truck was gone!  Dismayed, I asked a man in the piazza when the fishmonger would be back.

“He went down that way,” the man said.  “He’ll be back in 10 minutes.”

“Ten?” I asked.  “Or twenty?”


I sighed, deciding I couldn’t make two babies wait in the piazza for 10 minutes.  I turned my stroller towards home.  Suddenly I heard someone calling, “Signora!  Signora!”  I turned around and saw an elderly man who had been another customer at the truck… and he was holding my bag of fish!

“He gave the fish to me,” the gentleman explained.  “Here you go.”

I handed him the money to give back to the fishmonger, thanking him over and over.  What a kind, trusting gesture!  I was so touched.

It’s moments like this that I feel most at home in this little Sicilian town of ours: when people take care of me just because they want to.  They know I’m American, they know I’m probably here with the military, they know I’ll come and go just like whole generations of military families before me.  And yet my impermanence does not stop their warmth and generosity to me.  When they admire my children, wave at me in cheerful recognition even though we’ve never spoken, nod politely as I move through the piazza, call “arrivederci!” every time I drive by, pile oranges from their groves into shopping bags and tell me to come back for more, slip fresh eggs from their chickens to my daughter, memorize my order at the store… I actually feel at home in Italy.

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14 Responses to walking in Sicily in the springtime

  1. esther. April 22, 2013 at 4:41 pm #

    Oh this is just divine! I was thinking how lovely it would be to spend a few days with you in Italy – watching and absorbing every little detail as you live your life. I’m so glad you feel at home!

    • Becca April 23, 2013 at 1:48 pm #

      I wish you could come visit, Esther! I’m sure you’d find a lot of grit and grime here, though, that just doesn’t make it into pictures. :-(

  2. David April 22, 2013 at 4:50 pm #

    1) Lena is more and more gorgeous every day.
    2) Love your account of feeling at home in the town. :)

  3. Shannon April 22, 2013 at 4:52 pm #

    I LOVE that picture of Lena on the step. She is precious. I love your story about the fish too. This place is really awesome sometimes!

  4. Steph @ meet.make.laugh. April 22, 2013 at 5:02 pm #

    That must be such a neat feeling, to have somewhere so different from home start to feel like home. How much longer are you in Sicily for?

    • Becca April 23, 2013 at 1:50 pm #

      We’ll be here for about another 15 months, Steph. We leave in July 2014 or thereabouts. With so many of our friends leaving this summer, though, it seems like it will arrive in the blink of an eye.

  5. Carrie April 22, 2013 at 5:28 pm #

    Your town is so beautiful!

  6. Johanna April 22, 2013 at 6:50 pm #

    I LOVE this story (although I admit that I keep picturing y’all at Eastern Market!) Miss you so much!

    • Becca April 23, 2013 at 1:54 pm #

      We’ll be back at Eastern Market soon enough, I feel sure. Would also enjoy a nice leisurely walk through the Charlottesville Farmers’ Market with you!

  7. Autumn April 22, 2013 at 7:06 pm #

    aww that’s so sweet! and I agree with David — Lena just keeps on getting prettier!

  8. Lucy April 22, 2013 at 10:14 pm #

    What a sweet story about the fish and the local people. Did you enjoy eating the fish?

    • Becca April 23, 2013 at 1:56 pm #

      Yes, they were delicious! I only wish I knew the fishmonger’s schedule; it’s always happenstance if I run across him. Whenever I do these days, that night’s dinner plans get postponed and we eat fresh fish instead!

  9. Ali April 23, 2013 at 6:44 pm #

    I’ve been reading your blog for a few months and love to see your life in Sicily! My friend worked there last year, and from her pictures and yours it looks like a lovely place! I felt compelled to comment on this post, especially after reading the last paragraph. I lived in Tanzania for a year in 2010-2011, and the love and acceptance of the people I ran into every day in the village made it feel like a second home to me. I definitely miss it now and long to go back to the village where people learned my name and grinned when I spoke to them in my limited Swahili. Acceptance is what makes a place really feel like home. Glad you have found that there in Sicily!

    • Becca April 24, 2013 at 8:48 pm #

      What a kind comment, Ali. Thank you! You are so right about acceptance making a place a home. I wonder how many immigrants in the States would agree with us? And how could our responses to them really make them feel at home?

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