Perspectives on a Small Sicilian Town

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A few days ago, my husband and I arrived in Cianciana, the small Sicilian town in which we had bought our retirement home – we aren’t quite there yet, retirement I mean, but we have our plans all made.  The house we bought is 3/4 of the way up the hill on which the town stands.  You can see in this picture that we are surrounded by mountains and we look down on all kinds of interesting things in the town.  For example, there is the Sicilian-Argentinian lady across the way.  She was born here in Cianciana but grew up in Argentina and now spends 6 month here and 6 months there.  We can see into the top floor of her house from the terrazza on ours.  She is a widow now and for the first couple of days I was worried because she is elderly and seemed to be always alone.  But now I see that her son and daughter come and visit her as well as some of the ladies in the town.  We spoke to her two days ago.  She was so happy to meet us, but was disappointed that we didn’t speak Spanish.  Interestingly, in this town we get asked if we speak the following languages in this order:

  1. French
  2. German
  3. Spanish
  4. English

I took both French and German in school but I remember little of French and nothing of German.  I wish I had paid more attention in school!  (How many of us have said just that?)  So many times Nick and I are asked if we are American that it is kind of a treat to be asked if we are English all the time. “Siete Inglese? Are you English?”  “No, siamo Canadese. No, we are Canadian.”   “Canadese?  Mio fratello e’ in Canada. Montreal.  Canadian? My brother is in Canada.  In Montreal.    Si chiama Gaetano.  Lo conoscierli? His name is Gaetano.  Do you know him?”  It seems as if everyone has a family member in Montreal.  I had the same experience when I lived in Japan.  “You are from Canada?  My friend is in Canada.  He lives in Toronto.  Yuki.  Yuki from Toronto.  Do you know him?”  I should mention that we live on the west coast – thousands of kilometres away from both Toronto and Montreal, the two largest cities in Canada.  It’s unlikely we know either Gaetano or Yuki.  But, ya never know.

Anyhow, I digress.  One of the things that I noticed on our first morning on the terrazza was the tiled roofs of the houses on the streets below us.  They have interesting angles, shapes and colours.  I also noticed that many of them have rocks sitting on the tiles to, oh, keep them from sliding off and hitting people on the head I suppose.  Speaking of being hit on the head, I narrowly missed being hit by old cleaning up water as I walked home today.  A middle aged housewife tossed the dirty water out her 2nd (we would call it 3rd) floor window.  It hit the ground just as I was stepping onto the sidewalk and out of its trajectory.  Thank goodness because I had just taken a shower before I went out and God forbid that I have to take a second shower in one day!  But I digress again.

Back to the tiled roofs.  I took a number of pictures with different settings on my camera.  I would love to know what you think.

One:

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Two:

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Three:

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Summer Sanctuary

Summer Sanctuary

In a few months this will be my view. I work as a teacher in a high school from September to June every year and I have been doing this since 1983. I have started teaching the children of the students I taught years ago! I love teaching and I love working with students. I still try to learn and improve my teaching practices every day. But, let’s face it, 30 years of teaching takes it’s toll. I have tendonitis in my shoulders from years of writing on the blackboard/whiteboard. I have tennis elbow from carrying books around. I have arthritis creeping into my hands from all the computer work. I have arthritis in my ankles exacerbated from years of standing in front of my classes and walking around to see how they are doing with their work, and I have arthritis in my neck and upper back worsened by years of bending over papers and marking. Yup, it’s official. I’m tired. But, there is something wonderful looming on the horizon! Last summer my husband and I flew to Sicily and bought a house. Nothing fancy, just a tall, four story stone house about 150 years old. It sits on a hill in a lovely mountain village, but if you are facing the right way you can get a glimpse of the Mediterranean. People I work with were talking about me in the staffroom when I wasn’t there (I have my spies, muahahahaha!) saying things like “Is she crazy?” “She’s really lost her mind this time.” “They are going to lose their shirts!”. I should say, there were people who were excited for my husband and I. From those people we heard “That’s wonderful! I wish I had the guts to do that!” But it didn’t take guts, it took a dream. A wonderful dream that Nick and I nurtured until we could make it possible. And so, this summer, and a few summers after, we will be spending summers in Sicily. Once we retire we will spend much more time there and I will sit on our terrazza, looking at this view and sipping il cafe’ every morning.