Sicilians celebrate a lot, celebrate random things, celebrate life, celebrate everything. Sicilians have festivals to celebrate anything from chestnuts, to honey, to death... yes, death. They also celebrate life, birthdays, flowers, and well... everything else. With parties, feasts, festivals, or just by laughing and enjoying it with a GOOD glass of wine (and telling you ALLLL about it). From this, I have learned that life is to be celebrated... it is worth being celebrated... every day.
2. Be proud.
Sicilians are some of the most prideful people I have EVER met. They aren't conceited... but dangit if they aren't PROUD. They are proud of Sicily and all it has to offer. Sicilians absolutely love to tell you about Sicily, where to go to see the best of it, and how to get the most out of your experiences here. They love to take you out into the countryside and offer you the freshest fruits, nuts, and berries right off the vine. They adore showing you the views of the mountains and the seasides or the vineyards and letting you taste their homemade wines and pastas. Sicilians have taught me that you don't have to have everything... you just have to know how to take pride in yourself and your country. Be proud of who you are and where you're from.
3. Getting lost can be a good thing.
Something the Sicilians tell us before every trip, "Get lost together..." At first we were completely opposed to the idea... who wants to get lost in a completely foreign land? And then it happened. We got lost in Venice... and it wasn't that bad. Actually, we found the most amazing restaurant, and we got away from the touristy BS, and we found some unique shops, and we found the "real" Venice... and it turned out to be pretty amazing. Then we got lost again in Barcelona, and again in Paris... and you know what? Same thing happened. We loved it. Sicilians are pretty smart... When you get lost (unless of course you are in a REALLY SCARY NEIGHBORHOOD and/or ALONE) you find some really neat stuff and you stop caring about the touristy BS... and you just have fun TOGETHER. Kind of romantic actually... :)
4. It's not ALL about work.
Don't get me wrong... Having a job is a GOOD thing. But Sicilians aren't exactly known for their hard work... and um, you know how Mexicans take a Siesta after lunch? Yep, they have that here too... Sicilians know how to work when it's time to work and how to have FUN when they are off! Also, they take a ton of vacation days... and I mean tons. The whole month of August to lay out on the beach? Sure, no problem. That's my kind of life. :)
No, not like a college frat boy... but at supper or with friends. Don't become a sloppy mess but enjoy the wine and have a good time. These people DEFINITELY know how to make wine, how to enjoy it, and how to have a good time. I've never been more inclined to sip wine -- at almost any time of day -- and I've never enjoyed it so much.
6. Coffee is amazing, but Starbucks didn't invent it.
Did you know that coffee existed before Starbucks? I didn't (kidding...) But now I know how to enjoy many different kinds of coffees... not JUST my regular at Starbucks :) Because of this culture, I know how to use a REAL espresso maker! Not the fancy-schmancy electric ones from a dept. store that cost hundreds... but the little ones you use on the stove! Oh, and I know how real coffee tastes... not watered down "Cafe Americano" -- hehe!
7. Be generous... but also don't be afraid to ask for favors!
I have never in my life experienced such giving people... and the friendships they gain from it are the best. Seriously, our friends here are willing to give rides to/from the airport, cook and deliver meals, help us find the best stores, take us to the right mechanic, help us when we're stuck in the language barrier, even loan us their VEHICLE, and basically be on call 24-7 for anything and everything we could possibly need. But what do they expect in return? Friendship!! And it's worth it! But along with this I have learned that asking for favors is ok! People don't mind helping out. We would never have experienced half of the things we've done if it wasn't for a few favors along the way!
8. Babies... Everyone loves them!
Sicilians absolutely ADORE babies... and it doesn't matter WHOSE baby it is. Seriously, they will walk up and pick up a RANDOM STRANGER'S child to love on him. And they have absolutely no shame in pressuring young couples to have babies for them to love on :) When I first arrived in Sicily, Claudia picked us up from the airport and gave us flowers and 2 "good luck for babies" candies! Hahaha... and sadly she could only find blue. Eeek!
9. Cooking together is quality time.
Every time I'm around Claudia and her family, she or her daughter's always ask me to "cook with them" lol At first I found this strange, being invited over to make Tiramisu... and eat it... and go home. Weird? Not here. Cooking together is FUN and you do a lot of learning and talking... so you aren't JUST learning how to cook, you're also learning about each other.
10. Sleep is important, but fun is more important.
As I said before, Sicilians take a siesta (called Reposo here though) after lunch, so they obviously see the benefit of sleep... but they stay up LATE! They don't eat supper until around 9PM and are often up late partying, entertaining, or just hanging out at the local Chiosco (a "hut" in which they sell drinks and snacks). Oh and did I mention that the bars and clubs here stay open until 6AM... and some are open 24 hours a day! Say what?! Yeah... apparently fun (aka drinking and being with friends) is more important that sleep... but they do make sure to get plenty of sleep ;)
I hope y'all enjoyed a few fun facts that I've picked up from living here...