The Markets of Catania

The military can be frustrating and difficult to adjust to at times, but there is one thing that they have done very well in this overseas move: training us for life in this new country. Over the past week I have been a part of the classes teaching about life on the base. Towards the end of the week, small groups were given an Italian guide. This person’s job is to introduce us to the culture, teach us common phrases, immerse us in the everyday life and answer our questions that we have about our new home.

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Today we learned the bus system! I learned the phrase “Un biglietto” to use while buying a ticket to any given location. I am now able to take the bus directly to the city center. From the bus stop I was able to walk to a bar for breakfast (not an alcohol bar, a coffee bar). This restaurant overlooks Elephant square and the Piazza Del Duomo. I had been there before at night but this was my first time during the day. It was stunning!

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There were so many people around the square and different markets spread through the surrounding streets. Today our group learned how to purchase food at the local market. We learned how to check prices comparing Kilograms to pounds. I was so surprised at how inexpensive everything was when I started calculating prices in my head. I was able to get “un meta kilo” (or half a Kilogram) of tomatoes for 75 euro! I also bought a head of lettuce for only 50 euro!

One of the instructors today said that the food hear tastes better than any other place in the world. Because things are so fresh and they are grown on volcanic soil, she believed that the flavors were more rich. After eating what I picked up at the market, I am inclined to believe her! I loved walking about and seeing the butchers and fish markets. The people were so friendly and willing to help while we struggled with the language. They were patient because they saw that we were trying.

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This was such a good experience for me to have. Lately I have been feeling hesitant on my own. I worry about getting lost or not being able to figure out what to do in Sicily and with the language barrier. Today I felt much more familiar with our setting and I felt so much more confident in myself!

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