Happy Thanksgiving!

Trip Start Mar 01, 2012
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Italy  , Sicily,
Thursday, November 22, 2012

Sono grata per tute le experienzie che mi ho piacuto queste anno, mi salute e mi amici.
There was even turkey. Non mi e macato a casa.

Eunice's parents, Marta and Nuccio are lovely.  They live in the country, above a small village called Giarratana in southern Sicily with Lula and her 4 cat friends; Picolo, Grigia and the 2 Neros. The views are beautiful.  It's winter here, and kind of cold, but in spring I'm sure that Nuccio has plenty to do with his olive, fig and pear trees.  I'm able to enjoy all of the bounty from his garden including homemade wine with every meal and heaps of the best olive oil I've ever tasted.  Not surprisingly, Marta is an excellent cook, preparing every meal with simple, healthy and local ingredients.I may even be able to replicate the nightly minestra- usually made with beans which are pureed and then served with tiny pasta, topped with copious amounts of olive oil.  Delicious.
If Berroni was a guestaway, I don't even know how to label this week.  Trying to help out around here was harder than pulling teeth.  My Italian did significantly improve though, despite Nuccio's excellent English.Here are a few of the tricky words I kept mixing up:
  • magari- maybe
  • ancora- still
  • adesso-now
  • anche- also
  • presto- soon
  • pronto- ready
  • prima- first
  • su-over
  • sotto- below
  • tramonto- sunset
  • cucciao- spoon
And we figured out how to convert C to F- not an easy task in a house with no internet, but a beautiful, old set of encyclopedias: F = (C x 9/5) + 32 
I've never bragged about my knowledge of history, but how could I have not known how America got its name?  Americo Vespuci was a navigator that followed Christopher Columbus to "India." When Columbus arrived in America he had been heading for India- apparently, that's why he called the Native Americans Indians. When Vespuci saw his travel log, he knew that Columbus had reached a new land and gave it his own name.
Nuccio also told me a great story about the origin of "ciao."  In medieval Venice in order to avoid a fight with a stranger, you would say, "Io sonno tu sciavo", I am your slave.  But in Venetian dialect, the hard c sound of sciavo is pronounce shiavo.  This inevitably was shortened to just ciao.
It was nice to be part of the family before embarking on the next phase of my journey to the UK.  It was wonderful to meet Eunice's sister, Kristina, and her family.  I especially enjoyed the Monopoly game with Giulia and Deborah.
I beat Nuccio in Scopa*- a great italian card game much like casino but with prettier cards- (he may have let me win), learned to make biscotti, and toured the historic part of Giarratana, including the remains of an old castle and "downtown" Ibla, which was worth an evening in the rain to see its beautiful domed cathedral.

Nuccio's Biscotti Recipe
 600 grams cake flour
250 grams sugar
1 small bag of yeast

make a mountain with a hole in it and fill with:
2 eggs
1 cup of seed oil
lemon zest

mix together by hand, adding milk as needed
roll into ball and divide in 2
roll each have into a sausage and cut into 3
roll again and cut each into 2 biscuits- roll or braid

*How to play Scopa (2 players):
only use 2-7, ace=1, queen=8, jack=9, king=10
deal each player 3 cards and place 4 in the middle, face up
pick up like cards or add them up to pick up with a card in your hand (if there's an ace and a 5, pick up with your 6, but if there are two 4's and a queen, you must pick up the queen first)
first player with 12 points wins. scoring:
over 21 cards= 1 point
scopa (clearing the board)= 1 point
gold 7= 1 point
most 7's= 1 point


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