Buono! The genuine taste of Sicily

Bellissimo: Abby Anderson, second from right, with five Messina AFS students in Milazzo, Sicily.
Bellissimo: Abby Anderson, second from right, with five Messina AFS students in Milazzo, Sicily.

South Canterbury teenagers are a globe-trotting lot and Attitude is following some of them while they discover wonderful parts of the world. This week, we catch up with Mackenzie College student Abby Anderson , who is in Sicily on an AFS exchange. This is the latest entry in her blog.

The past two weeks have been some of my best so far in Italy.

The first week started out with two short days involving some sort of voting at school, and I am yet to understand what it was actually about. In the second day I caught up on some TV in general, as I made a huge discovery - how to change the settings to English. A simple thing but the joy it brought me was huge. I didn't realise how boring television is when you don't have any words.

Next was the Italians' All Saints holiday on the 1st. We celebrated this by having family friends over for focaccia. The focaccia my mother made is a specialty of my city; it's basically like pizza but on a thicker, more bread-like base. So buono! The next day was very exciting for me, as my host sister from Sicily, who lived with me for two months in New Zealand, was coming for the day with her family. It was the first time I had seen her since I arrived at the airport, and the first time meeting her family. It was like having a little piece of my New Zealand home right here.

I had a great time trying to communicate with her in Italian for the first time, being able to speak a little to her parents for the first time, and eating a lot of food! We ate so much that day, my mum really went all-out with typical Messina dishes, and when I thought I could eat no more, dessert was pulled out. A platter of pure sugar filled with so many little dessert options. For someone with a sweet tooth, it was heaven on a plate. I ate so much for lunch I literally couldn't bring myself to eat by the time dinner came around.

Then that Saturday, which I now consider one of my favourite days here so far, the five AFS students of the Messina region took a day trip to Milazzo, a picturesque seaside town a 30-minute drive away. It was what first came to mind when I thought of Sicily. It was small, quaint, old and beautiful.

We visited a church, castle and an old building where prisoners of an ancient war were once kept.

We walked around small closed-in streets that seemed as though they were from a movie, with an Italian family having a conversation yelling half from indoors and half from outdoors, though this is something I am getting used to from living in the south. We were then able to spend some time roaming around the coast with its beautiful blue beaches which were actually clean, unlike the beach beside my home.

To finish off the day, the five of us spent the evening in Messina doing some shopping and exploring the town together. It really was nice to have the chance to be independent and choose what we wanted to do and where, for once not relying on our families, and acting more like Italy is our home.

The Timaru Herald