A lost connection.

Leaving Vinciucci was filled with such sweet sorrow.  I had come to feel at home there, I was comfortable & although recent events had left me feeling disgruntled, I was genuinely happy there.  But, I had become too comfortable, sedated in the familiarity of it all.  I knew that, despite my longing to stay, it was the right time to leave.  Saying my farewells, I had to hold back the tears welling in my eyes.  I would miss these people.  They had, in their own unique way, become like a surrogate family to me.

After a final injection of gelato & an hour long wait, I boarded my bus to Catania, leaving Ispica & all those fond memories, from the five weeks spent there, behind.  It was time for the next chapter, for something new.

I had arranged to meet Hawt Italian Guy & stay with him in his rented apartment for a week.  It would be the only opportunity I would have to see him in Italy, before he returned to his home in Madrid.  Our time together at Vinciucci had meant something to me, but coming to the end of my stay there, I worried that perhaps my feelings had evolved from the alien environment, rather than true emotion.

HIG met me at the bus station in Catania & it felt like so much longer than three weeks since I had last seen him, yet nothing had changed.  He took my bag & we walked the short distance back to his apartment, stopping for groceries along the way.  The apartment itself was better than expected.  It was perfect in its imperfect state.  Small, compact, but well formed.  Empty & in need of life.  I loved it & I wanted to stay.  I wanted to be the one to fill it with life, to give its character some love, some affection.

We spent the evening eating & drinking on the terrace, which overlooked the port.  It was nice to be able to relax & have a proper conversation with someone, who actually understood what I was saying!

The next day & every other day after, HIG would leave in the morning for work & not return until late in the evening.  With no WIFI in the apartment, I attempted to entertain myself.  I would walk the five minutes to the fish market everyday, taking in the sights & smells.  It took me a few days to work up the courage to actually buy anything.  My confidence in my ability to speak Italian has somewhat taken a nose dive.

I walked along every street & down every alleyway.  I looked in churches, I strolled in parks.  I eventually found a free WIFI zone in one of the piazzas & so inevitably ended up there everyday, attempting to check my emails & Facebook.  Turned out Facebook was the only thing it would actually load.  There I was, hovering by a fountain, surrounded by tourists snapping away with their cameras, whilst I impatiently glared at my phone, waiting for the floods of messages to come in, only to be disappointed by the lack of red notifications.

On the weekend, HIG & I attempted to venture out on his vespa to the beach.  Alas, the weather had other ideas & both day's attempts were scuppered by the rain.  Instead we took a trip into town & with HIG's help, I finally invested in an Italian sim card!  Unfortunately, I had not had the foresight to call Vodafone at the start of the trip & get my phone unlocked, so I was greatly disgruntled when they told me it would take anywhere from forty eight hours, to seven days to do!  The sim was burning a hole in my bag, dying to be abused.  I sulked mercilessly.

Stuck indoors, with no internet access & our conversation running dry, I realised I had been right to question my feelings.  The attraction I had previously felt for HIG had gone.  Lost to the carob fields.  Yet, I did not regret my visit.  I am at least starting to realise that not everything has to have a happy ending.  It was an experience & now I've let it go.  So perhaps I am learning after all.



A feast for your eyes & your thighs.

It feels as though Sicily is out to get me.  My once loose skinny black jeans are now a struggle to get on.  Once on, they cling to every inch of me, my now rotund middle, spilling over the tight waistband.  The give has certainly gone.  I no longer recognise the figure that glares back at me in the mirror.  I'm thankful at least that my skin has darkened, offering a softness to my ever expanding curves.  But my discomfort is overwhelming.

The problem with Sicily is, it is ever so unforgiving in regards to such issues.  Every street corner beckons you into a gelateria.  Dozens of delicious flavours to choose from, you feel compelled to try them all & when you get two flavours for a mere €2, well, why wouldn't you treat yourself.  Soon you're having a gelato everyday.  It becomes part of your routine.  Gobbling down its sugary sweetness before it melts down your hand. 

Then there's the smell of fresh pane, wafting into your senses as you stand people watching on your balcony of a morning.  Those pesky Sicilians know only too well how to draw you in.  Soon you're picking up six warm rolls for less than a few euros & running back to your kitchen.  Torn off chunks, drowned in olive oil.  Nothing beats that carb injection.
Talking of oil, that much prized liquid gets itself involved in every meal.  Drizzled over salads & soaked into pane.  Pasta happily swims in its rich goodness.  A simple dish of tomatoes & mozzarella are made perfect by the addition of a splash of oil & a sprinkle of salt.  If only this golden delight weren't so laden with with calories, delicious bloody calories.
I have also fallen for the many offerings of formaggio.  Rounded balls of salty goodness hang in the kitchen, where I routinely sneak in & hack off slices, simply to devour where I stand.  Brie & gorgonzola piled high on chunks of pane.  Freshly made ricotta spooned over pasta & salads & hard cheeses grated over everything.  Never have I had such passion for this dairy delight. 
Of course the one thing that helps pile on the pounds more than anything is the daily dose of pasta.  Whilst we Brits are satisfied with the penne & spaghetti on offer in our supermarkets, Sicilians have dozens of varieties; mezzo rigati, capellini, fusili, bavettine.  A seemingly limitless choice of shapes & sizes.  Each to be cooked with varying ingredients.  Pasta for lunch?  Sure.  Pasta again for dinner?  Certo!  This is the Sicilian way & no one's about to quibble.
Finally, the nail in this culinary coffin, is the vino on offer at both lunch & dinner.  I've never been much of a wine drinker, yet here in Sicily it seems so natural to consume a few glasses over lunch & then finish off the bottle over dinner.  Rosso, bianco, it matters not, I happily drink either, whether it's the afternoon or the evening.  There's no drunken haze here, like there would be in England, the pasta makes sure to absorb the excess, this is merely a complimentary part of the meal.
You see, it's a terrible daily battle here in Sicily, between embracing & enjoying the many delights on offer & attempting not to have an internal fight with oneself, when examining the extra handfuls of flesh clinging to one's thighs.  It might be some time before I find a balance of conscience.