Wednesday 7 March 2018

10 Lessons I've Learned In Catania, Sicily

Later this month will mark my 6 months here in Catania, Sicily. Time has flown! So I'm sharing the lessons I have learned here. Italy is massive, the north is completely different from the south, as well as culture so here are the lessons I've learned here in Catania!
Note: These are things a native Irish person has noticed, it may not be the same for other cultures.

1. Sicilians are LOUD, you won't go two minutes without hearing cars beeping their horns. They also love shouting, they get very passionate about their conversations that you may thing they're arguing, but in reality they're not. My old housemate and I (Frufru I miss you😭), used to watch our Italian housemates have conversations and we would think they were angry, however they were not. So if a Sicilian shouts at you, don't worry, they're not being aggressive!

2. They are crazy drivers, however they will stop for you. I've seen foreigners trying to cross the road here and they are petrified *cough* dad *cough*, but the trick is to walk out onto the pedestrian crossing and they'll stop. They may stop last minute but they'll stop. So next time you try it, look at the car and just walk, believe me. (This also works for other cities).

3. If a Sicilian likes you, they'll give you their heart. They'll treat you with the upmost respect and genuinely love you. Sicilians are very welcoming people with huge hearts, so if you open yourself to that, you'll make friends for life.

4. They love doing things for other people, if you've no money on you they'll sure to pay for that coffee, or that slice of pizza etc. Next time you can owe them back a drink or something (depending on the situation). This adds onto my point of when a Sicilian likes you they'll do anything for you.

5. Something I've noticed here is that if you go out around the city at night, girls will always be walked home by the guys, not because it's dangerous, but out of courtesy. I find it very kind, I know in Ireland we wouldn't walk others home, we usually just say goodbye and go our separate ways.

6. This is one point I didn't know if I wanted to write, but as I am always transparent with you I'll touch on it. Maybe it's because I'm foreign, but the people here stare a lot, I know when I was younger I was always taught by my Mom to never stare at people because it's rude, and it is! But here I can't walk down the street without people staring at me. Not just men though, women too, I don't know what it is, but it makes me extremely uncomfortable. I'm told to just ignore it though.

7. You actually say hi to the bus driver here and thank them! Never have I experienced this in any other part of Italy, so when I saw it first hand here I was so happy. In Ireland we always thank the bus driver and in Catania you do too! Some of them put the fear of God into you when they start shouting in Sicilian, but as I said earlier, they're just passionate and may not be angry at all. In fact they always give me huge smiles when I come on board.

8. Accommodation is extremely cheap here compared to prices in Ireland and other places in Italy. You can find a room in an apartment here for around €150 a month! I pay under €300 and I live in quite a nice apartment smack bang in the centre so the cost of living here is very low.

9. Markets are the way to go here. The fruit and veg cost half the price and the quality of the food is ten times better than the quality in supermarkets. I go nearly every weekend to the market with my housemate to top up on food for the week. As well as this, it's better to go to the Panificio to get bread instead of the supermarket, everything is made in the Panificio the same day so it's extremely fresh. Old school is definitely better here. Which makes me wish that it was more common in Ireland.

10. In every city you'll go to, you will always have some struggles, whether it be trying to find a job, make new friends, bureaucratic problems, the weather etc. I admit I definitely started off my time here on the wrong foot with having to go back and forth to Ireland for family problems. However, being here almost 6 months now, I'm definitely starting to get into the swing of things. From my past experience of living in Bologna, it definitely takes a few months to get used to a new city. So give yourself time, even if it's 5/6 months.

What I'm Wearing:
Jumper: H&M (HERE)
Jeans: Pepe Jeans -Vintage (SIMILAR HERE)
Shoes: Bershka (HERE)


1 comment

  1. I miss you too Winky, love this post! Everything you said is so true and makes me miss you and Catania even more xxxxxx


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