June 15, 2015
I go to the convent early in the morning. (Ex-convent, actually.) I use the terrace as my office. Anna, shiny as the rising sun–arrives with my cappuccio. I squirm at being served because we’ve become kissing friends. Here are the things about her that I bet you cannot guess:
*She works 3 jobs.
*She has 5 kids.
Italians have one of the lowest birthrates on the planet. “And what surprises people more than my 5 kids,” says Anna, “is that all of them are with the same husband, and we’re still together!” Her oldest, a girl, is studying architecture in Venice.
People from Northern Italy claim that Sicilians don’t work hard. I have not found this to be true. Anna has two waitress jobs and teaches gymnastics to seniors. For fun she does amateur theater. How does she manage it all, looking gorgeous to boot? “I’ve taught my kids that a family must collaborate. Everyone must do what they can. The little one picks up her toys, and the bigger ones clean and take care of their clothes. I do most of the cooking, but my daughter Lucrezia makes wonderful pastas with sun-dried tomatoes, zucchini, and eggplant.”
Her customers tell her things like: You cheer us up and If there were a contest in Italy for the most beautiful barista smile, you’d surely win.
Anna’s dream, like that of many Sicilians, is to spend a bit of time in the US. She’d like to improve her school English by helping out in an Italian restaurant. Any ideas? Please let me know.