Burnt out and frustrated

Lately, I've been feeling a little tired, frustrated and burnt out. At the beginning of the year, I'd set myself the goal to post every day either on this blog or my creative writing blog. I've been maintaining this practice and have made a routine of preparing three posts here on Sicily Inside and Out…

An introduction to Flamboyant Italian personalities

Life is always a challenge for an ex-pat living in Italy. There is a constant struggle with the language, continually being reminded of an outsider by snide remarks and condescending quips about your accent. Yet ex-pats develop a thick skin and put up with many frustrations so we can soak up the beauty, way of…

First Days living in Sicily

During my first days living at Sinagra, I noticed people had a strange way of treating me. It is as if I’m a novelty. I am a new plaything, a foreigner whom people regard with curiosity. I quickly became the subject of local gossip. Walking out into the main square in town with my husband,…

How to peel a fico d’india

The exotic prickly pear (fico d’india) is a delicacy in Sicily and thrives around the entire island. Known also as the Barbary fig (opuntia ficus-indica) it is a species of cactus cultivated throughout the world in arid and semiarid areas and is thought to be native to Mexico. It is best to taste them after…

Secluded Sicily: Longi

Longi is a tiny mountain village perched literally on a precipice with one road in and one road out in between the two other rugged mountain towns of Galati Mamertino and Frazzano' Every time I visit I am amazed at how Sicilian’s were able to build a town in such an unwelcoming part of the…

Smoky roasted Artichokes

The Sicilian spring is moody as the weather fluctuates between rain and days of glorious sun. The Sciroccio wind whips itself up from the African desert and pushes the seasons along. White blossoms in the fruit trees blend with shadowy greys. The spring is an armistice which allows the winter to gradually surrender itself and…

The complexity of Italy’s cheating heart

  I often exchange stories with other ex-pats about the Italians who have lied and cheated us with ease and nonchalance which is both infuriating and puzzling. Not to say other countries don’t have problems with corruption as the world is rife, but in most Anglo-Saxon countries a politician or public servant or any other…

Things to do in Sicily

I am constantly sitting down and planning out trips to do through Sicily. Often I don’t do everything on my list as I run out of money but I am generally happy if I do one of the trips every year as they are based on my experiences living here on the island. Sicily is…

5 easy steps to becoming a good tourist in Italy

  1) Don’t complain too much So it really doesn’t matter if you can’t track down your favorite candy bar or if they do things differently here. Italy is an old country so things are kinda slow, it will be dusty and a little dirty but that’s to be expected. Nothing is going to be…

Going home: an expat’s internal conflict

Every time I go home for a visit I get terribly excited, start making lists of what I want to do, who I need to see and what I should buy so I can make the most of my three months in Australia (as my Italian husband travels on a short tourist visa- I’m sure…

North verses South in Italy: from stereotypes to rampant individualism

    Yes, there is a difference between Northern and Southern Italy; in fact, it took a major political and social movement to merge the different states of the Italian peninsula in the nineteenth century. The process began with the Congress of Vienna at the end of Napoleon’s reign in 1815 and continued with various…

Leading an authentic life in Sicily

My friends and family think I am totally insane to be living my life in Italy, they are waiting for me to come to my senses and move back to Australia, like I’ve been playing around for the past decade of my life. The truth is it’s been more than chasing a dream, I’m not…

Sicilian Tomatoes, Benedica

The fertility of Sicily’s volcanic soil is well-known and thanks to the Sicilian habit of having a vegetable garden I’ve never been without fresh fruits and vegetables to prepare throughout the year, from eggplants, capsicums, chili peppers, basil and tomatoes in the summer to peas, potatoes, pumpkins and broad beans in the winter. There is…

Flowers and lights for our ancestors

November is a sombre time in Sicily, traditionally it’s not all jack o lanterns and candy rather its about taking flowers to the cemetery and lighting artificial lights instead of candles in memory of the dead. All souls and dearly held saints are prayed for in religious services in the Roman Catholic church and the…

Fall in Sicily

The beginning of Autumn in Sicily can be abrupt. The gradual changes from one season to the next are now a thing of the past, there are no more slightly shortening days or time for the leaves to go from greens, yellows, warm rusty reds or browns, now the fall begins with heavy rains and…