Saturday May 21
Today we drove to Teresa’s house in Taormina, and it was an easier driving experience, with the GPS programmed in English. Teresa is Angela’s sister and she has generously opened her home to us for the next two days and nights.
When we arrived at her address she was standing outside to help direct us and show us where to park. It was wonderful to see her again and I consider her family. We had met four years ago, and I had also seen her when I stayed at her home in October of 2009. Teresa speaks only Italian but has recently been taking an English language course, which she describes as “molto difficile,” so my Italian would be put to good use here for sure, and for Teresa some practice in English.
Today we would be going to Caltagirone, the Sicilian ceramics town, so Monica and I could buy some ceramics. Teresa’s brother, Calogero, and her sister-in-law, Monica, live there, so Teresa made arrangements, and the plan was that we would drive to Catania and pick up Calogero from work, as he is a police officer there. Afterwards we would go together to Calatgirone in two cars, as we are also delivering Angela’s car to their house, since Angela is in northern Italy working. We are also invited for lunch at their home, prepared by Monica, who is an excellent cook. She has two complete kitchens in her home, so that should be an indication of how much she enjoys cooking. This was going to be a real treat!
Calogero met us and wanted to show us around the polizia station, and he introduced us to a few of his colleagues. (More Italian practice for me). Eventually we drive to their home in Caltagirone, where we met Monica and their two children, Martina who is 14, and Antonio who will be 12 in two weeks. This whole family is wonderful and of course, Monica had prepared a full course meal.
First, we had sun-dried tomatoes, two types of olives, and mushrooms, all in olive oil. Of course there was wine, and the kids each had some. Then Monica brought out her pasta bolognese with hand-made fusilli, which did not even resemble packaged fusilli. Of course everything was delicious and the pane(bread) was the best we have had.
After we had finished all that, Monica had the secondi piatti, chicken and potatoes. We just could not eat any more, as the pasta was even too much at this point. This was followed with caffè and dolci, a variety of Sicilian sweets which Calogero had bought at Caffè Europa in Catania. Calogero tried to influence me to add some Sambuca to my caffè, but I politely declined. ( I have had Sambuca before and am aware of its effect)!
Martina has been taking English in school for eight years, as it is required, so she understands and speaks some. The whole experience with their family was one of my favorite experiences since I have been in Italy. Even though I have not been able to document it, I still think their family and ours are related, as we have the same last name, and my grandparents came from the same village (Cesarò), and Calogero’s grandfather and uncles emigrated to Cleveland, Ohio, as did my grandparents.
Martina left to go to a dance on her motor scooter, and the rest of the family, including Antonio, came with us to the centro storico (historic center) of Caltagirone. (in Italy, you can drive a motor scooter at age 14 but you must be 18 to drive a car). More on Caltagirone and the ceramics in the next post.