Friday, June 18, 2010

The Experience of Heritage and Place in Sicily

Part I: Genetic Markers

Cathedral in Notto, Sicily

While being 100% Ethnic Mutt, there are a few pure origins in me. The first is cultural, my paternal grandparents are from Mexico; the next is ethnic, my maternal grandmother was full-blood Northern Italian. What I found in Sicily is that an impressive number of my natural tendencies seem to match closely with the Italian Genetic Code.
Piazza Duomo for Breakfast

First, and always first-thing, BREAKFAST. Most people consider it a bad and unhealthy habit of mine that breakfast consists of tea and brioche. Well, the Italians don’t and this traditional breakfast is the first manifestation of my Italian heritage. The best part of my vacation days was always at the cafĂ© on the Piazza Duomo having tea and a croissant with the my Italian brothers and sisters.

While on the topic of ingestible items, my tastes seemed to match perfectly with Giusi’s. She determined early on that I always made the correct dining choice and left it to me to pick restaurants and sometimes even what she ordered. Fortunately, Giusi and I were soul sisters, with our tastes and humors closely aligned. It was a lot of pressure, but having the trust of Giusi in food selection was an honor I wouldn’t have deserved without my grandma’s Italian blood. Dinner with Giusi, Normal Guy, Phil and Lena (taking the picture).

I think this one was obvious before I left for Sicily, and I’ve always just chalked it up to being a girl, but I love shoes. So do the Italians. Memories for the rest of my life will pale in comparison to the shoe shopping treatment I received as Giusi’s shop, Millepiedi, where I sat in the middle of a hundred pairs of shoes trying to find that one pair that would work for the London pub crawl and a few extras just for fun. Not only do we Italians love shoes, but also we love the process of “discovering” them. Edwards' Italian shoes from Millepiedi

The final, but most fun, genetic match I discovered was a mutual love of the opposite sex. It is no secret that I love men. Love, love, love men! It was clear in Sicily that men love women, women love men, and there is absolutely NO SHAME in behaving as such. Compliments, attention, and eye-candy abound in this pheromone-enhanced culture. Any time I was without Edwards, I got to taste the charm that is Italian men and while I’m not sure exactly what the cute, blonde Sicilian was saying as he gave me a private tour of the Duomo, I did understand that he felt I was as beautiful as the Duomo itself. Ahhhh, I love being Italian! My favorite male specimen!

As a nod to Edwards (as this was meant to be “our” blog), the kind of rock and type of climbing available in Sicily also seems to match our preferences. If we were rich people, we’d be there now, restoring an old farmhouse, harvesting olives from mature trees, and climbing in a spectacular cave with undiscovered artifacts of the Byzantine known only to those strong enough to make it up the routes. Italy has no shortage of climbing to suit our physical needs and our lifestyle goals. Now, all we need is a mastery of the language and we’ll fit right in! Normal Guy on a very hard route in a very nice cave.