Anna Has a Dream

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:

Sicilian Barista, copyright Jann Huizenga

*She works 3 jobs.

*She has 5 kids.

Really!

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.

anna

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Festival Crowd, Part 2

June 6, 2015

I was happy to spot this beauty with the scarlet scarf. I had only ever seen them tied about men’s thick necks.

“So a woman can belong to San Giorgio’s Association?”  This is the group that parades the saint around the village.

“I’m the secretary,” she says.

“So you’re allowed to carry the saint?”

“Oh, no,” she smiles, then shrugs, as if to say “not in my lifetime.”

Sicilian Woman at Feast of San Giorgio, Copyright Jann Huizenga

Her cameo shows San Giorgio slaying the dragon.

And to continue my previous post showing festa-goers:

Sicilian in beret, copyright Jann Huizenga

What is it about a man in a beret??

Italian Style Man, copyright Jann Huizenga

He absolutely has what his T-shirt trumpets.

Sicilian couple, copyright Jann Huizenga

Love her pizzazz. She should have dressed him in a green tie.

Sicilian couple, copyright Jann Huizenga

Angelina still on the phone. Brad’s eye wandering.

Sicilian couple, copyright Jann Huizenga

Hmm. Let’s see. Who is San Giorgio and where is he to be found?

Father and daughter, Sicily, copyright Jann Huizenga

Papa, can’t you stop these damn explosions?

Balloon vendor, Sicily, copyright Jann Huizenga

She dresses to match her balloons.

Police, Sicily, copyright Jann Huizenga

Almost as good as a beret.

Alla prossima, amici.

jann

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Sicilians on (Easter) Parade

April 21, 2014

The week-long Easter madness in Sicily is winding down–whew.  (Today is Pasquetta, when folks move en masse to the countryside to picnic on yesterday’s leftover lamb and sleep it all off.)

Sicilians get all dolled up for Easter, like Americans used to do about 40 years ago. Fashion trends this season seem to be bow ties and rat’s nest coiffures for young men and super-stiletto-platform shoes for women. (Flowing robes for Jesus, Mary, and priests.)

Young Sicilian Couple, copyright Jann Huizenga

Sicilian Girls, copyright Jann Huizenga

Sicilian Man with Bouffant Hair Style , copyright Jann Huizenga

Young Sicilian Women, copyright Jann Huizenga

Young Sicilian Men, copyright Jann Huizenga

Sicilian Boy in Porkpie hat, copyright Jann Huizenga

Young Sicilian Priest, copyright Jann Huizenga

Jesus and Mary meet in Pozzallo, Sicily, copyright Jann Huizenga

 

Hope you had a great Easter/Passover/weekend. xxxxx

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The Pride of a Sicilian Mamma

February 10, 2014

Another on-the-street encounter in Sicily:

Young Sicilian Woman with Pink Glasses, copyright Jann Huizenga

Sicilian mother and child; copyright Jann Huizenga

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Call Me Signorina

December 27, 2013

Early Christmas morning, Ignazia G., born in 1915, welcomed my husband and me into her home. I had come bearing this photo of her.

Sicilian Woman, 98, copyright Jann HuizengaI’d snapped it back in November, startled by such a vision of deep calm.

When I hand it to her, Ignazia’s magnificent eyes blink on and off. “She looks like me!”

“She IS you, Signora.”

“Really?” She breaks into a giggle. “But I am not Signora. I am Signorina. I had a fidanzato once.” Her eyes are suddenly looking far away and she pulls her shawl closer. “He went to America. He wanted me to go with him, but I was afraid.”

So gentle Ignazia lived out her life next door to a parish church in Sicily, where she threw herself into keeping church floors polished and teaching all the little Antonios and Antonellas the rules of their religion in catechism classes. She is proud of her story.

Church bells shatter our conversation, and Ignazia hands us a bowl of candy. Then off we go, chewing on lemon drops, with Ignazia in our hearts.

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