Mt. Etna


  1. I especially loved my morning ritual yesterday, I really noticed how routine it is and how it grounds me and prepares me for the day: put on the water for my tea, tend to the cats while it boils (refresh water, food, litter box), steep tea, shower (or get dressed if I showered the previous evening), tea is ready to be packed up (if I’m leaving the house) or poured to sip (if I’m staying in). Either way, I’m ready for the day!
  2. Salvo, our apartment agent, is awesome. Read more about him with the photos below.
  3. Pre-visit to the apartment before the housing inspection. I do not accompany the housing department specialist to the the inspection (today!!!). Instead, yesterday Salvo and our landlord Filippo walked through the apartment with me to discuss some details that might come up during the inspection and to get my preferences. This is certainly more of a full-service renting experience than I have ever had!
  4. Arranged furniture in my head for a few hours following the visit.
  5. Thrilled to imagine waking up to, doing dishes while looking at, enjoying a glass of wine with dinner under…our view of Mt. Etna!

Italian is a romance language, and like its brethren, it is beautiful to hear. Yesterday I delighted in listening to Salvo talk to Filippo. What was even more fascinating and satisfying was watching them talk. The wide range of facial expressions, hand gestures and body positioning kept up a beautiful sort of dance between the two. It is this aspect of language acquisition that is so attractive and probably the most difficult to learn as a foreigner. Yesterday, I learned that even when Italians are mad about something, when the conversation ends, the smiles return and they laugh easily anew.


Here is the view of the Ionian Sea from the house, you can see it there on the horizon, right?



Salvo (sunglasses flipped up) and Filippo  (sunglasses on his face) are on the rooftop terrace, that leads out from the kitchen. Salvo is pleasant, sensitive, and hard-working. His family emigrated to Australia when he was quite young and returned to Sicily when he was about 12 years old. He was bitterly disappointed to return to a country he did not know to speak an unfamiliar language, and he can still remember the scene at the shipyard when his boat arrived from Australia and he had his first impressions of Sicily. You wouldn’t know it to look at him here (or in real life), but he claims to be 54. He has worked with the Sigonella community in some capacity for nearly 40 years, starting by working on an ad-hoc basis as a translator and liaison. He held a variety of jobs on base after that, and most recently he worked in the housing department. At its heyday, Sigonella had about 10,000 community members whereas it is currently around 2,000-3,000. Thus, when the housing department staff was thinned, Salvo and his colleague started their private apartment consulting business.

The terrace essentially hugs the kitchen and laundry room, and if you followed Filippo and Salvo around the corner, pass by the olive grove to the south, and come around, you would see this impressive house, one of our neighbors. Yes, that is one home; check out the fabulous driveway!



Finally, the moment you’ve been waiting for, continue your gaze across the front of this house and through to the north, but start craning your neck UP a bit to see beautiful Mt. Etna. This photo does not do her justice to the impressive size she has and the beauty in the blues and greens of her slopes yesterday. You’ll either have to wait until my photography equipment improves, or until you make us a visit at our house. We’d love to have you over.


1 Comment

Filed under 5-100, Adjusting

One response to “Mt. Etna

  1. Ashley

    I’m catching up your blog (when my email dress changed, my subscription stopped working. I find the daily email updates about your blog are just the nudge I need to take a break from whatever I am doing and read your postings).

    I am LOVING living vicariously through you. I cannot wait to come see you, Mt Etna and all Italy has to offer as soon as we can!

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