The trials of raising a bilingual child in small-town Italy

I'm raising my child to speak English in Italy, not just anywhere in Italy but precisely in a small town in Sicily. Unlike the major cities on the peninsula like Rome, Milan, or even Palermo, with large ex-pat communities and English international schools, I'm the only English speaker in my local community. This is great…

10 irksome culture shocks in Italy

It's been a while since my last rant about the irksome parts of culture shock in Italy. I've learnt to adapt to most of the stuff I used to find bothersome; after all, you cannot pretend that an entire culture will change to fit your convenience. I take culture shock with a smile and try…

Hunting near Capizzi

Capizzi is clumsily spilt on a high hill; its stone houses have been plucked out of the Middle Ages. The streets are made of tightly paved stones and tiny dwellings like huts huddled together to create a mosaic in different shades of charcoal.  The road snakes up the hill to Capizzi reaching a peak at the head of…

Creativity and mental health

The last two years have been tough on everyone. Our lives were disrupted, and we were forced to scale down our lives. Many people lost friends and family. Others are still suffering from stress, anxiety and depression. I don't want to harp on the negativity, but I, too, have been struggling. I have had problems…

Fashionable English

Sometimes, well, Italy is an awkward fit for me. Actually most times, which is ok, as I am generally self-conscious in everyday life. It is strange to think that someone genetically 100%  Italian would find life in Italy to be uncomfortable. I would be a sought-after show pony if there were a pedigree for Italian-ness.…

A Sicilian wedding baptism

It's wedding season in Sicily, which means the usual array of pretty spring brides and grooms. Many people finally get married after postponing their weddings for two years of Covid. While others, funnily enough, have decided to make Covid babies and then celebrate a wedding and baptism together. I'm sure my dear Sicilian grandparents would…

First and lasting impressions of Palermo: stereotypes

Image from Carmen Laeuzza unsplash.com Looking above the street level on Via della Libertà, I see high rise 'Palazzi' buildings and elegant apartment buildings all along the road as far down as I can see. The street is lined with multi-storey buildings with intricate stonework, some with particular wrought iron designs and glass panels. They…

A taste of local politics

This year it is election time in my small Sicilian town. I've never been one to follow politics on any level unless it has to do with a particular issue or social problem. I can never muster the energy to pursue it. Yet, I am constantly surprised at how deeply political everyone is in Italy.…

The Fertility of Sicily

An old Sicilian mantra says in Sicily there are only good or bad seasons. In a place of few subtleties, there is only the bountiful or frugal and little in between. Sicilians are born out of their land and are shaped by the seasons the landscape creates. A Siciliano will hibernate in winter and interact…

Saint Leo is back

May is usually the month when the inhabitants of Sinagra have their annual appointment with their Saintly patron of St Leo. It has been two years since the festivities have been allowed to occur, thanks to Corona, so this year's 8th of May celebrations were filled with emotions for the Sinagrese. I can honestly say…