Two months in and where to begin?
I can say that I’m only just beginning to feel fully settled in. The first month has been full of mini adventures, travelling to near-by towns, new culinary experiences, and new cultural activities. It’s only now that with a more ‘permanent’ school timetable (finally!!) I am beginning to feel more settled and grounded.
Before coming to Sicily, I was shown the famous ‘w-curve’ of culture shock, and was told that it would be very probable that I would feel a little homesick during the first couple of months being here.
I can say that it has definitely taken me a bit of time to culturally adjust and not so much because I was unprepared for ‘Sicilian culture’, as for the fact that these cultural difference seemed almost too ‘stereotypic’ and laughable to be taken seriously. The idle attitude, the disregards for rules, and the disorganised bureaucratic system is something which is often transformed into light-hearted folly. Over the last two months however, there have been times in which my patience has been worn thin by these self-fulling stereotypes. I know that I could easily gloss over these mini ‘grievances’ and provide a picture perfect ideal of my experience so far, especially on a social media platform where every word is chosen with precision to fit the prefect self-image. I could easily do that, but then that wouldn’t be very truthful and it would be very much less helpful.
So here I am, two months in, still adjusting to another pace of life. Of course, with the bad comes the good and in every cloud there is a silver lining (ticked box for cheesiness). Although the disorganisation often means that any sort of planning and event is left to last minute, I have to admit that out of the chaos and panic have sprung some beautiful moments. Yesterday morning, I was asked whether I could put on a Peter Pan show this Thursday and Friday afternoon, with a bunch of students from my classes. Timing is minimal, facilities are next to nothing, and spending my off day in school is not the ideal situation, but when I was sat in a circle reading through the script with the students, one of which turned to me and said: ‘Sophia- I know this isn’t an English class, but why does Wendy say “Wow, you can fly?” and not “can you fly?”(we’ve just been learning about how to form questions) my heart fluttered with such satisfaction that from amongst all those confused and uninterested faces, at least one student had been listening.
Sitting in that circle, I was also transported back to the final performance rehearsal for my YR 10 drama class exam. Let’s just say that one of the main actors in my group displayed similar ‘Sicilian attitudes’, taking a very laid back approach to learning his lines and turning up for rehearsal. So counting down the minutes until we were going on stage and the panickier inside of me creeping out, this individual turned to me and said: ‘We’ll just improvise and make it believable’. Years later, whenever I think about this individual I am not longer irritated by his complacency, but rather I look back at this event and smile, because some how we did manage to improvise and make it believable enough to get an A grade.
So tomorrow when we’re rehearsing again and things aren’t going to plan, we’ll just improvise and make it believable. And when cultural adjustment is proving a little difficult, well, I’ll just improvise, remembering that one day I’ll look back at this experience with all irritation and exasperation laid aside and simply smile.
(Check out my YouTube video for a more chatty/ less emotional update!)