Tag Archives: il mare

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

Summer Morning Breezes


  1. Scrumptious breakfast omelette, by Dave, of pistacchios, havarti, and egg whites; he griddled slices of olive bread, too; finally a glass of carrot & orange juice.
  2. Meandering our way, “sensa” (without) the GPS, to Lido Azzurro.
  3. Explaining in mangled Italian that I wanted sun beds “lontano” (far) away from the DJ (too much bass disturbs me).
  4. Delightful sunsoaking and floating in the Ionian Sea.
  5. Watching first a French, and then a German crime show dubbed into Italian, and listening intently for comprehension.

A difficult aspect of living abroad is missing out on special moments with family. My dad celebrated his birthday this weekend and I left him a message, but it wasn’t the same. I’ve lived away from home since I was 18, so I’ve been reaching out creatively for a long time. Then, when I married, I came into a warm fold of 14 more people to get to know (and who get to know me). It’s been great. In honor of family connections, I’m linking to my brother’s blog (http://dontbeafraidtobeawesome.wordpress.com/2011/08/29/balance/). And, cheers to my immediate family: Mom, Dad, Jenni & Jim!

1 Comment

Filed under 5-100, Adjusting

Lido Azzurro


1. Sleeping in.
2. Great workout.
3. Visit to Enna, charming hilltop town (look for pics later his week).
4. Granita di limone on a hot afternoon.
5. Delicious pizza delivery while we did laundry, aruula, prosciutto and parmigiana. Yum!

Today is my first post from my beloved iPhone, while soaking up sun at Lido Azzurro. We saw thousands of cars lining the beach road, and lucked out with one of the final spots in Azzurro’s parking lot. This lido has much to offer: DJ, lifeguards, sand volleyball courts, kiddie pool, and more. We rented beach chairs and an umbrella. Uncle Bill, it is a lot like Mexico, beach vendors and all. As peaceful and relaxing as this is, I am thinking about my friends enduring a different sea phenomenon, Hurricane Irene. May you all be safe while she passes.


Leave a comment

Filed under 5-100, Adjusting

Il Mare (The Sea)


  1. Swimming in the Mediterranean: at Agnone & Aci Castello.
  2. Explored neighborhoods & decided on one area to focus on for housing search.
  3. Purchased 1st Italian-language dvd: “Il Grande LEBOWSKI.”
  4. Finished a project related to applying for jobs.
  5. Got laundry done for the week.

The sun was high overhead, the sea was sparkling blue, the lava-stone felt rough and uneven as our toes gripped tightly to the rock. We perched on an outcropping at the base of Piazza Aci Castello. Below us: gorgeous azure waters; in front of us: the chance to jump. The rock ledge raced into the sea and left room for us to jump, yet everyone there gave pause before jumping to meet the sea’s welcoming waves. Finally, I jumped! The water was perfectly warm and pleasantly salty. We bobbed among the sparkling blue waves, planning our evening and feeling content.


Filed under 5-100