Thursday, September 24, 2009


Ok, so... a bit overdue, but here's the deets on my past weekend in Sicily (Sept. 18-21st)

In short, it was awesome.

I *deep breath* hoped on a bus to the metro station, then took the metro to Termini (Rome's central train station), where I grabbed a train to the airport, then waited at the airport for two hours, got on my flight, and then upon arriving in Sicily hoped on another bus into the city of Palermo to meet up with Jasmine. *exhale*

[Backstory: Jasmine and I went to middle school/high school together, and have known each other since we were about 12. I don't think I've seen her since we graduated, and we've kept in very loose contact since then, mostly just though facebook, etc. Needless to say, I was very much looking forward to seeing her agian and catching up. Since January she has been attending an international hospitality school in Switzerland, and since June had been in Palermo doing a required internship with a hotel for said school. That's what brought me to Palermo.]

Anyway, it's always interesting to discover just how little the passage of time changes the essential nature of an established friendship. Upon seeing each other we immediately fell into old habits, talking and catching up as if two and a half years of new friends, boyfriends, and countries could never change the basics of who we were, even if we are different people now.

After grabbing a pizza from around the corner and some talk, we got dressed up and I was introduced to all of her Italian co-workers who proceeded to take us out for a night on the town. And it was awesome. Driving around Palermo speaking broken English and broken Italian, picking up new phrases, joking together in two different languages but essentially understanding everything, meeting new people from the city, having wonderful conversations, being the "exotic American from Los Angeles/San Francisco"... it was incredible. [To the left, from L-R = Jasmine, Francie (one of Jasmine's co-workers), and Fabrizio, a friend of Francie's]

For the first time I think I felt fully immersed in the culture I'm living in. Living in an American school, traveling with Americans and taking all english courses, while certainly a comfort, I've found also makes immersion in Italy a bit difficult. For the first time since I've been here I didn't have that. I was on their turf, and I was loving it. All of them spoke much more English than we did Italian so we mostly communicated in that, but I listened intently and tried to practice when I could. They were always pleased when I got something right.

Walked around the town with Alessio (a friend of Jasmine who is from Rome but is working in Palermo at the moment) and had a relaxing day. Got sick in the evening, which carried through to Sunday. Didn't let it stop me having fun though!

Jasmine and I took a 30 minute bus ride to gorgeous gorgeous Mondello beach. We went in the water, had lunch in the town, and relaxed on the sand. Pictures will do this day more justice than words ever could.

[As always, click on the images to see bigger versions of them :) ]

That night we went out again with the gang again for a couple drinks and some good mellow conversation. Met more awesome Italians... a couple who moved to Dublin and was about to get married, a woman who spoke Spanish/Italian/French only and was trying to talk to us in Spanish (which was a real mindwarp, trying to speak in Spanish/Italian/English at the same time. I didn't even know what language I was speaking anymore.) Jasmine knew much more Spanish than I did so she was mostly talking to her, and while I could generally understand I couldn't speak back. Her boyfriend sat down and practiced Italian with me for 20 minutes which was really sweet of him. He asked me all the basics, but in Italian instead of English so I was really forced to try and practice. It was tough, but so necessary. And so so so so fun.

Still sick, I began the journey home. The plane flight is only 45min. long, but I left at 11am and didn't get back to my room till 5:30pm. Whew.

Anyway, all in all it was an incredible weekend and I'm so glad I went. I have new Italian friends, I got to see a beautiful beach, and I got a much deeper understanding of young Italian culture. This is definitely a weekend I'll remember for a while.


  1. Sarah - Somebody showed me how to set up a "Google Alert" and so I set one for USF (where my son, Christopher Brew, is also a junior) and Pitzer College, where my daughter is a sophomore. Anyway, that's how I discovered your blog and I must say I find it very interesting. I have been living in Europe the past fourteen years - the past eleven in England - and been to Italy a number of times. You write very well! I hope you enjoy your semester there - good luck!
    Pat Brew

  2. Hi Sarah, i'm Fabrizio (see the photo on your blog if you don't remember :P ) i'm happy to read this post and to know that you've enjoyed so much the week end here in sicily. i hope to see you from 27nov to 2dec when Francis and me will come in rome for a short holiday. if you want send me your italian telephone number (by email at fabriziomarchese @ gmail . com) so i will call you when we are in Rome.