15 Apr

 After months of investigating and navigating my life, having the freedom to explore and become a brave swallow, the clock announced it was time for my departure to Sicily. Departing from Cape Town, my two-day stopover in Johannesburg allowed me to bid farewell to friends and savour the last moments in a place that once was home. 

The initial hours of my journey unfolded with unexpected twists. The excitement peaked as I boarded the flight on February 1st, heading to Sicily via Istanbul, Turkey. However, a 15-minute delay upon arrival in Istanbul led to an unforeseen layover and a rebooked flight to Catania the following day at 17:15. The sunset arrival in Catania added a poetic touch to my sense of displacement, setting the stage for the adventure ahead. 

The FEAST OF SANT’AGATHA IN CATANIA, Europe's third-largest religious festival, had commenced in Catania, the previous day. The city was alive, with people lining the streets, creating an atmosphere of vibrant chaos. Despite the crowd, armed with only a 7kg backpack, I navigated through with "Grazia" and "Grazie Mille," weaving through the bustling streets. Amid the festival fervour, I encountered challenges. Rumours had it that a million people were on the streets last night! To progress, I had to sweet-talk police officers into lifting prohibiting bars, creating shortcuts that Google Maps eloquently directed. Despite the language barrier, my gestures and map-guided efforts conveyed my destination – an incredible abode known as Dimota de Mauro. 

Dimota de Mauro was more than just accommodation; it is a century-old family-owned apartment complex built around a charming courtyard. Perfectly restored, it stood as a testament to time, welcoming me into the heart of Catania. Exhausted yet determined, I dropped my backpack and contemplated a rest, but the distant echoes of the festival beckoned. Ignoring fatigue, I found myself indulging in the festival atmosphere. 

My first Sicilian pizza, Pizze Pesto, (pizze not pizza) paired with a glass of red wine, filled to the nose level, became a delightful initiation. "Grazie" became my first official Italian word. The only correct pronunciation for thank you in Italian is “graht-see-eh“. It can be used to thank one person or many people at a time in formal and informal situations. My "Grazie Mille" echoed through the night as I embraced the cultural richness of Sicily, knowing that each experience would weave into the tapestry of my Sicilian sojourn. 

Stay tuned as I unravel the mysteries of Sicily, exploring potential homes and embracing the unique charm of this enchanting island. The journey may be filled with surprises, but each moment promises a story worth sharing.

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