Tag Archives: Sicilians

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I have lived here for many years and decided to buy a house. I went to some real estate firms just to check them out and explained what I was looking for. Of course they sent what they were thinking of; new projects (to help out their friends to get rid of non sold units) and offering palaces of 800 m2, yes to a very good price, but I do not need 800 m2. I am looking for an old complex with 2-3 smaller units to renovate by time. So I decided to drive around in small villages to look myself and I came to a very nice mountain town. Drove there for a while and decided to just knock on a door to ask if there are renovation objects in the area for sale. Gladly by accident knocked on the municipal advisors door and of course he knew every unit for sale, he had som nice land plots himself for sale. I stayed there with him and his wife for some lunch and home made mandarin stronger beverage. He gave me his number and just need to give him a call when I have decided if the area fits for me.

I also have to find a man who comes to a certain bar regulary to taste special whiskys as he has couple of options to what I am looking for. The words spread fasts here as soon as you put it out. The sicilian style to find what you are looking for!

Svenska

Jag har bott här i många år och beslutat att köpa ett hus. Jag gick till några mäklarföretag bara att checka dem och förklarade vad jag letade efter. Naturligtvis skickar de vad de tänker på, nya projekt (för att hjälpa sina vänner att bli av med icke sålda enheter) och erbjuder palats till 800 m2, ja till ett mycket bra pris, men jag behöver inte 800 m2. Jag söker gammalt komplex med 2-3 mindre enheter för att renovera. Så jag bestämde mig för att köra runt i små byar för att se mig omkring och jag kom till en mycket trevlig bergsstad. Körde där ett tag och bestämde mig för att bara knacka på en dörr att fråga om det finns renoveringsobjekt i området till salu. Lyckligtvis av misstag knackade jag på kommunala rådgivarens dörr och naturligtvis kände han till varje enhet till salu, han hade trevliga tomter själv till salu. Jag stannade där med honom och hans fru för lite lunch och starkare hemgjord mandarindryck. Han gav mig sitt nummer och behöver bara ringa honom när jag har beslutat om området passar för mig.

Jag måste också träffa på en man som kommer till en utvald bar för att provsmaka speciella whiskyn då ordet nu spritt sig i området och han eventuellt kan ha det jag letar efter. Den sicilianska stilen att hitta det du söker!

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Italians, especially sicilians, are experts to create long words for passwords and for e-mail adresses. Like this wifi password in a restaurant in Santa Teresa Riva. It's the same with many websites and email adresses. E.g. if Giovanni opens a organic green garden, don't be surprised if he contacts you from an email adress that goes something like this: giardinoverdebiologicodigiovanni@gmail and sends you the welcoming to his website giardinoverdebiologicodigiovanno.com. I asked several times why not just shorten it to GVBG.com or something. But they say it is important that they see immediately what it is all about.

Svenska

Italienare, särskilt sicilianare, är experter att skapa långa ord för lösenord och för e-postadresser. Som detta wifi lösenord i en restaurang i Santa Teresa Riva. Det är samma sak med webbplatser och e-postadresser. T.ex. om Giovanni öppnar en ekologisk grön trädgård, bli inte förvånad om han kontaktar dig från en e-postadress som går ungefär så här: giardinoverdebiologicodigiovanni@gmail och skickar sen ett välkomnande till sin hemsida giardinoverdebiologicodigiovanni.com. Jag har frågat flera gånger varför inte bara förkorta det till GVBG.com eller något. Men de säger att det är viktigt att de genast ser vad det handlar om.

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With my friend I was invited by the municipality of Catania for the first celebration evening of the cities saint Sant'Agata. Had the honor to follow the festivities from the municipal building at Piazza Duomo. From the balcony we could get glimpes of the festivities in the main piazza. The celebration in Piazza Duomo starts every year at 20:00 the first evening, first 20 minutes there are speaches and the other 20 minutes the orchestra plays classical music and fire works are set of in the same rythm. It looks amazing! And when "Vincero" was played you could not hold back the emotions. If you ever are in Catania when the Saints festivities starts, be sure to be at the piazza in good time to experience one of the most amazing festivities in the world.

Svenska

Av min vän blev jag inbjuden av kommunen Catania för första festkvällen för stadshelgonet Sant'Agata. Hade äran att följa festligheterna från kommunhuset Piazza Duomo. Från balkongen kunde vi få inblick i festligheterna på stora torget. Firandet i Piazza Duomo börjar varje år kl 20:00 den första kvällen, första 20 minuterna tal och de övriga 20 minuterna spelar orkestern klassisk musik och nyårsraketer smälls i samma rytm. Det ser fantastiskt ut! Och när "Vincero" spelades kunde inte känslorna hållas tillbaka. Om du någonsin är i Catania när helgonets festligheterna börjar, se till att vara torget i god tid för att uppleva en av de mest fantastiska festligheterna i världen.
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Men expressing their feelings is not a problem in Sicily. This one bought a whole billboard by a busy roundabout to tell his girlfriend how much he loves her and she is his princess. It is also very usual that she writes love messages on the road or a wall outside her home.

Svenska

Att män uttrycker sina känslor är inte ett problem på Sicilien. Denna köpte en hel reklampelare vid en mycket trafikerad rondell för att berätta till sin flickvän hur mycket han älskar henne och att hon är hans prinsessa. Det är också mycket vanligt att han skriver kärleksmeddelanden på vägen eller en vägg utanför hennes hem.

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So when I moved in my landlord saw all my shoes and understood that more space is needed so he has started to construct a room for all my shoes! And not even asking more rent...no words said, just "I build you a shoe room". I guess this man has understood it all. 🙂

Svenska

När jag flyttade in såg min hyresvärd alla mina skor och förstod att mer plats behövs, så han har börjat bygga ett skorum till alla mina skor! Ingen hyreshöjning heller och inga ord sagda än "Jag ska bygga ett skorum till dig". Jag tror denna man har fattat allt. 🙂
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Some days ago I got the perfect day as an example how vary Sicily really is. The same day some women accused me of not being a good woman; not married, not having kids and be a stay home woman. They said I was a bad woman working and travelling. The very same day another woman told me that the work we do is important and she is happy that I and her husband works well together and hope that we can realize our projects. She works too.

Of course I listen to the last woman because when I have managed to work myself up a little bit I meet another world of Sicily which is not so easy to reach. There are those ignorant people who always tries to explain Sicily to others and the version is very old fashion and very depressive, because they live in that world....in their homes. Then we have the women who travel, seen other parts of Sicily and have projects in life...and I share the same vision of Sicily as they do. That Sicily varies and you have to make Sicily to what you want it to be. And mind your own business!

Svenska

För några dagar sedan fick jag den perfekta dagen som ett exempel på hur Sicilien mycket egentligen varierar. Samma dag anklagade vissa kvinnor mig för att inte vara en god kvinna; inte gift, inte har barn och bli en hemmafru. De sa att jag var en dålig kvinna som arbetar och reser. Samma dag sa en annan kvinna att det arbete vi gör är viktigt och hon är glad att jag och hennes man arbetar bra tillsammans och hoppas att vi kan förverkliga våra projekt. Hon arbetar också.

Visst lyssnar jag på den sista kvinnan eftersom när jag lyckades arbeta mig upp lite, möts jag av en annan värld av Sicilien som inte är så lätt att nå. Det finns okunniga människor som alltid försöker förklara Sicilien till andra och den versionen är mycket gammeldags och mycket deprimerande, eftersom de lever i den världen...i sina hem. Sedan har vi de kvinnor som reser, sett andra delar av Sicilien och har projekt i livet ... och jag delar samma vision om Sicilien som de gör. Att Sicilien varierar och du måste göra Sicilien till vad du vill att det ska vara. Och skita i resten!

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So one of the owners has a bad habit to enter my habitat when I am gone, so instead of confronting the situation, which will not lead anywhere anyway, I bought some extra locks for the door to they can not enter with the extra key. It is an old baroque building with tree doors so it was easy to mount it. They do not enter to be evil or steal something, they enter because they are just so damn curious. My neighbor told me how to solve this issue, then I placed these people in the "little world" archive and forget all about it. Will stay here just as long I have bought my own place. Looking.

Svenska

en av ägarna har en dålig vana att ta sig in mitt boende när jag är borta, så istället för att konfrontera situationen, vilket inte kommer att leda någonstans ändå, köpte jag några extra lås för dörren så att de inte kan komma in med extra nyckel. Det är en gammal barockbyggnad med trädörrar så det var lätt att montera dem. De går inte in för att vara elaka eller stjäla något, de går in för att de bara är så jävla nyfikna. Min granne berättade för mig hur man kan lösa det här problemet, sen placerade jag dessa människor i "lilla värld"- arkivet och glömde allt om det. Kommer att stanna här länge jag har köpt mitt eget hem. Letar.

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The official focus is always that people leave Sicily to find work abroad and this is why the island also looses competence. But it is not the whole truth. There are many young people who also flee their families because they want to have the same freedom we have. Not all families are controlling their children, but still the major part of sicilian families does not want their kids to live and be free.

In the 70's and 80's when the big tourism flow from Germany and Scandinavia came, many people changed their view of reality. Before the tourism e.g. a sicilian couple could never meet without having their whole family gathered or the girls brothers with them. This reality still exists. And when the couple danced the whole family controlled that everything went by the rules. Then this couple got married not even knowing eachother. Many times the father chose a husband for his daughter and the father did not let the daughters attend school. Then north europeans came to Sicily and things started to loosen up a little bit. People started to leave the strict mentality and wanted the same freedom as the new strange visitors. Unfortunately the strict mentality still lives in Sicily, also because something happened in the 90's, Sicily got closed and the tourism industry died, but is now rising again.

There is a minority in Sicily that lives in a modern way, where the family understands the importance of education, travelling, learn languages, respect women and let their children try life. These families do not depend if they are rich or not. One of my friend is a bus driver and his daughter does very well in school and the Region of Sicily selects every year top 10 students from their school and pays exchange trips to european countries. She is always in that group and been in Spain, Portugal, UK ecc and she is only 16 years old. He knows that their daughter will leave Sicily soon and he is happy for her. A very diverse approach than many sicilian fathers have. But still the majority in Sicily lives in great ignorance, in fear of the world, where a church exam is more important than school exam, and needs to control their children.

My cleaning lady comes from a rich but very ignorant family. Her father forbid her to attend shcool and when he had chosen a husband for her, she fled the family. The family turned their backs on her and for all her life she has been making a living cleaning other peoples homes. She has the same age as me. She said that a life with limited economy is better than a life in a mental prison filled with money. She inspires me very much!

One of my northern european friends likes Sicily very much and also sicilian women. The problem is that the awoken girls he meets wants to live in freedom and wants to leave Sicily, but he on the other hand would like to live here. With this family control especially the girls suffer because in many families there is still the mentality that women has to stay home with no rights and economy, and the man commands everything (to fatal consequenses). The problem in these families is also that the man is often controlled also by the mother who then also control the wife. The man often has no interest to work, nor having projects in his life. Everything is served by HIS family. A family that the girl has to obey, often also by calling his parents mother and father.

Today I met a girl in the dog park who left the sicilian man to be with an american. She feels more free and respected. He does not control her. She travels, has learned languages and studies in the university. She said that major part of catanesi men are Babboncini, which means that they suit better to live with their mothers. She does not want a man like that, she want to be respected for the woman she is. She is not the only young woman thinking like this. What will happen to the majority of sicilian men when women no longer wants to live under oppression? They do not know a shit what to do now!

Approximately 80% of the population are totally controlled by the family and lives in great ignorance. 20% are different and these are those who brings Sicily forward. The 80% believes that all their problems in life are politicians fault, and in this group you find people who have no intentions to do anything, they do not want to work, they need a silent obedient wife, they try to find a living by using others and blames the system. They think the world is like the TV shows. Then you have this 20% who understands that life is their responsability, they know politics is a problem but thanks of the lack of ingorance they know how to move in this system and makes a living. This 20% are those who goes ahead in Sicily, and the 80% blames the 20% of stealing everything.

Sometime ago I met one of the richest men in Italy, he is a sicilian. He comes from great poverty, but had an open minded family who pushed him into school. He told me that 2% of the population makes their own life an takes the situation in their hands, 98% waits for a politician or Jesus to save them. This is the problem in Italy. I kinda agree. To have a great life in Italy is not about stealing or make insurance frauds, there is a system that works for those who likes to do something. I know personally e.g. suppliers that started to pack aubergines in their garage for the local stores and today, 10 or 20 years later, runs companies with hundreds of employees. Because they made an effort. And they get regional economical support because they think futuristic. They do not have an uncle in the Region of Sicily.

Sicily has many problems but I do not see that politics is the major problem. The biggest problem is the 80% that has no intentions to lift a finger and blames the 20% of taking it all. Which they do because they make an effort. I would say that political problems comes second.

I have sent hubby back to his family. I am the type of a woman who is not very appreciated in a classical sicilian family. It is a family that lives in great ignorance and does not like very much women who knows how to take care of herself and brakes traditional family rules.  I know there is another Sicily, and I want to be part of that 20% who goes forward in sunshine and in storm. Most of my friends are in that group. That is why I love Sicily, because there is wonderful a part of this island that the 80% will never experience...

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I have never thought about religion as much as here in Sicily. Religion is involved everywhere you go. In the hospital, in every corner there is a church, people trying to push catholism on me, post office, sport, school, especially in the family and much more. On paper Italy is seen as a secular country, but in reality it isn't. Now living in Sicily religion has became an issue in my life, an issue I have to deal with almost on daily bases. Some people abroad, especially americans and catholic irish people gladly say that living in Sicily as an atheist is not a great choice and you should move. Have they been here? No. To think that there are no atheists in Sicily is quite naive. First years I did not say I was an atheist because I did not knew there were so many here, but then when I started to say it in public I got amazed how many here are. Some are openly and some are atheists in disguise not creating problems in their families; e.g. pleasing their mother being a catholic. Hubby does not believe and does not go to church (not even for family affairs), but to keep his family calm who are super religious he does not feel the need to tell them. They know I am an atheist and finally left me alone.

In Sweden it is easy to be religious because the church does not effect your daily life. Church is seen as a nice thing, but this definitive belief in hell and heaven is quite rare. Religion is a non issue few people talk about and you can belong to any religion you like. I was in fact myself part of a religious group because it was nice to have "incase of" back up and I never felt the need to decide black on white what and if I believed or not. But when I moved to Sicily I became a 100% atheist and left also the religious group I was part of. This mental change and facing the church so present in a society made me first angry and confused because I did not know exactly what I was experiencing and meet people who really believes that God will punish them in hell was so unreal. E.g. this hate against different sexuality, not showing respect to other religions and non-believers, and afraid of dying is quite much to take as a foreigner who never really thought about these things. Joking about death is not okay. I still have hard times to understand many families choises that a church exam is more important than regular school for their kids, I do not think I can ever melt that!

I finally found one book that writes about this. It is an american who lived in Scandinavia for over an year to understand how one area in the world can be successful without a God involved in the society. It is a serious research book with statistics and comparisons to the very religious american society, which I can relate to Italy. The book is called Society without God! written by Phil Zuckerman. He may have a little bit too romanticized view of Scandinavia, but in total he has got a very good view about our society. It was also nice to find a story I could relate too, about a dane who was in the religious grey zone not knowing what and if he believes. And then lived in California for a while that made him an atheist.

There is not much research about this topic, basically none, but this book is a great start! Here I have understood that if you never lived in a real secular society, you do not know what freedom is. Things are slowly also changing here, but religion is still a big piece to handle.

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Svenska

Jag har aldrig tänkt på religion så mycket som här på Sicilien. Religionen är inblandad överallt. På sjukhuset, i varje hörn finns en kyrka, människor som försöker trycka katolismen mig, posten, sport, skolan, särskilt i familjen och mycket mer. På papperet ses Italien som ett sekulärt land, men i verkligheten är det inte. Nu boendes på Sicilien har religionen blivit ett problem i mitt liv, en fråga som jag måste ta itu med nästan på daglig basis. Vissa människor utomlands, särskilt amerikaner och katolska irländska folket säger gärna att leva på Sicilien som ateist är inte ett smart val och du bör flytta. Har de varit här? Nej. Att tro att det inte finns några ateister Sicilien är ganska naivt. Första året sa jag inte att jag var ateist eftersom jag inte visste att det fanns många här, men sen när jag började säga det offentligt blev jag förvånad över hur många som är. Vissa är öppet och vissa är ateister i hemlighet för att inte skapar problem i sina familjer; t.ex. glädja deras mor att vara katolik. Fästman tror inte och går inte i kyrkan (inte ens för familjefrågor), utan för att hålla sin familj lugn, som är superreligiös, känner han inte behovet av att berätta för dem. De vet att jag är ateist och äntligen lämnat mig ifred.

I Sverige är det lätt att vara religiös eftersom kyrkan inte påverkar ditt dagliga liv. Kyrkan ses som en bra sak, men den definitiva tron på helvetet och himlen är ganska ovanligt. Religionen är en icke fråga få människor talar om och du kan tillhöra vilken religion du vill. Jag var faktiskt själv en del av en religiös grupp eftersom det var trevligt att ha "ifall att" back up och jag kände aldrig behovet att besluta svart på vitt vad och om jag trodde eller inte. Men när jag flyttade till Sicilien blev jag 100% ateist och lämnade också den religiösa grupp som jag var en del av. Denna mentala förändring och ha kyrkan så närvarande i ett samhälle gjorde mig först arg och förvirrad eftersom jag inte visste exakt vad jag upplevde, och träffa människor som verkligen tror att Gud kommer att straffa dem i helvetet var så overkligt. T.ex. detta hat mot olika sexualiteter, inte visa respekt för andra religioner och icke-troende, och rädd för att dö är ganska mycket att ta som en utlänning som aldrig riktigt tänkt på dessa saker. Att skämta om döden är inte okej. Jag har fortfarande svårt för att förstå många familjer som tycker att en kyrkans examen är viktigare än vanlig skola för sina barn, jag tror inte att jag någonsin kan smälta det!

Jag fann äntligen en bok som skriver om detta. Det är en amerikan som bodde i Skandinavien över ett år för att förstå hur ett område i världen kan lyckas utan en Gud som deltar i samhället. Det är en seriös forskningsbok med statistik och jämförelser till mycket religiösa amerikanska samhället, som jag kan relatera till Italien. Boken heter Society without God! skriven av Phil Zuckerman. Han kan ha lite för romantiserad bild av Skandinavien, men totalt har han fått en mycket bra uppfattning om vårt samhälle. Det var också trevligt att hitta en berättelse som jag kunde relatera till, om en dansk som var i den religiösa gråzonen utan att veta vad och om han tror. Sedan bodde i Kalifornien ett tag som gjorde honom till en ateist.

Det finns inte mycket forskning om detta ämne, i princip ingen, men denna bok är en bra start! Här har jag förstått att om du aldrig bott i ett riktig sekulärt samhälle, kan du inte veta vad frihet är. Saker och ting förändras långsamt även här, men religion är fortfarande en stor bit att hantera.