Afterwards, I went to Sicily, the land of my grandparents, to see my family on my grandmother’s side who was living in a small village in the mountains called “Capizzi”, which I always heard of all of my life. On the way there, I stopped I Florence, Rome, the Amalfi Coast, Sorrento and Naples.
I finally arrived at the Capizzi village by night, so I only saw the breathtaking volcano Etna the next morning from my window, in the distance.
I met for the first time this large family: uncles, cousins, my other granny, my dear grandmother’s only living sibling. It was like in a movie, most of the inhabitants of the village were my relatives! And some of them resembled me physically… I was definitely finding a large part of my roots. They were all so nice to me, there were so many lunches, dinner, and parties.
Moreover, it was Easter season, so there many processions and church attending. I was introduced as the “la cugina americana”, translated as “the cousin from America”. Some distant relatives invited me to their houses to see pictures of all the family, from various generations: weddings, christenings, and more. Everyone remembered Granny, it’s sad that I can’t tell here I am visiting the place where she grew up.
I felt they accepted me for being myself, even though it was a bit strange to them that I was traveling alone, wanted to work on farms and going from village to village alone. I was went to see the farm they had at another village, where they raised goats and sheep in order to produce Pecorino cheese, a Sicilian specialty.
Luckily, my Italian class was very useful, since I was able to easily communicate. Unless they talked in their Sicilian dialect or discuss when I wasn’t close by. I was able to witness various displays of the Sicilian character and understand my grandparents a little more as well as aspects of my own personality.
Author: Helena Aroyo