Jilbo Baggins

Cinquecento

Theme day!

Five favorite Sicilian idiosyncrasies.

Uno (1). “Va bene.” This is pretty much Italian, and not limited to Sicily. However, I’m experiencing it here the most, so you get what you get from me. “Va bene” means “okay” for all intents and purposes, or “it’s going well/it goes well” if you want to get into a literal translation. I hear it ALL The time, and I love it.

Due (2). Focusing on the chile pepper as a symbol, but not really using it in your food. Yep, Sicilians aren’t known for spicy food. It *can* be spicy, but it isn’t really a food trait the way it is in Thailand or Mexico. You know, the other places where chile peppers are prominent parts of culture.

Tre (3). The cornetto – or “horn.” This can be the shape of the chile pepper (loose translation), the symbol your hand creates when you tuck your thumb and middle two fingers into your palm and then raise your index and pinkie fingers (note – there is another name for this and please use this gesture with caution!!!), OR, it can be a delicious pastry (i.e. croissant).

Quattro (4). Unpredictability. If you didn’t grasp that theme from the previous idiosyncrasies, I’m bringing it front and center now. No matter what you think you know about Sicilian food, driving, culture, formalities, informalities, style, shop hours, anything — you can easily find an experience that obliterates the rule you thought applied.

Cinque (5). Warmth and hospitality. The unending theme with the unbroken rule is that of a willingness to accept newcomers and endure poor language skills from foreigners. Heck, it’s right there in the history of the island, and it holds true today. In so many other cultures, there is mistrust or even suspicion and disdain expressed toward outsiders, and there is a dosage of that here, but it is by far the least prevalent attitude I have experienced.

Bella Sicilia!

Cento – as they say a picture is worth a thousand words and I was quite verbose in the “cinque” portion, I will leave you with this lovely photo, today. Looking forward to catching up with you tomorrow, leave me some comments about what you’d like to read about and see in photos on the blog and I’ll do my best to comply. Oh yes, and if you are scratching your head at the blogpost title, just put your mind grapes onto the Lord of the Rings trilogy. A truly geeky and great friend of mine let loose with Jilbo Baggins after LOTR became socially acceptable. Ha ha, love you Mike!

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1 Comment

Filed under 5-100, Adjusting

One response to “Jilbo Baggins

  1. Zina

    I’d love to hear more about food (and see photos) and local cultural norms. Every time I read about one of your food experiences, I feel hungry!

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