Written by Jake Cappuccino, Student, CET Intensive Language and Culture Studies in Catania
Sicily moves slowly. Contrary to the frenetic, hectic, go-go-go American way, Sicilians take life in stride, one easy step at a time. Consequently, I find that I walk faster than almost everyone in Sicily. Yet, as of the five days that I have been in Sicily, my pace has slowed considerably as I subconsciously ingest the Sicilian way. The “pausa” or the mid-day break, exemplifies the sometimes vast differences between our cultures. In the afternoon, the city all but shuts down for a few hours; the Sicilians close up shop, return home, and do as they please for a few hours. Some nap, some eat, and some work, but many do not. Then, as if on command, the pause ends and the city restarts with the sounds of vrooming mopeds, honking cars, and Italians shouting.
Sicily is, however, similar to America in some ways. No words can quite capture the hustle and bustle of la fiera, an outdoor market in which vendors sell goods of all kinds, the goods ranging from souvenirs, clothing, and trinkets, to fresh produce, fish, and meat.
Some of the market items operate on a bargaining system where one can in fact haggle over the price. Sometimes, if you purchase a lot from a single vendor and are lucky, the vendor just might throw you an extra item. America does not have many outdoor markets quite like this, but the loud noises, funky smells, and fast pace certainly remind me of home.
Catania is different, but I find that I am falling in love with Sicily. From the night life, to the days on the beach, from the food, to the weather, it seems to this American that the Sicilian way never forgets life and its pleasures. After Catania, I know I’ll be more aware.