Travel

Life in Sicily

It’s been a whole MONTH since we moved to Sicily, Italy! We’ve made it through the flights, unpacking, and all the logistics of moving abroad … and it’s starting to feel like home here.

Except … it’s nothing like home!

(Pssst … if you’re just here to see cool photos of our time in Italy, keep scrolling to the very bottom for a handful of my favorites!)

Here are a few ways Sicily is unlike any place we’ve lived before:

  1. We live in the shadow of a volcano. Actually, one of the world’s most active volcanoes - Mount Etna. (Luna always says, “See that? You see that volcano? Isn’t that cool?!”) It last erupted in December 2018 and they say the volcanic ash is the reason the food here is so good! Speaking of food …

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2. We almost never go to the grocery store anymore. Instead, we visit the butcher, the baker, the pasta shop and the local fish market where we find all our fresh fruits + veggies. And we purchase food by the kilo (“mezzo”) or ounces (“etti”) instead of by the pound!

Fish Market in Catania (open daily except on Sundays)
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3. Coffee shops are called bars, we pay in euros instead of dollars, and the oven is in Celsius degrees. I’m still getting used to the money!

4. We don’t have Walmart or Target. Or really any of the major stores we’re used to … instead, there’s a store called Auchan which is sort of the Italian version of Walmart. (Amazon delivers but it takes 1-2 weeks for packages to arrive. First world problems, I know!) And the stores/restaurants have weird hours - most close for several hours during the afternoons.

5. Drivers are next-level aggressive especially in the city. Stop signs are just suggestions, honking is socially acceptable, and mopeds weave through the tiniest gaps in traffic. They joke that the center line is the middle lane here … expect it’s not a joke! People actually drive on the center line between opposing lanes of traffic! And that’s just the beginning - sometimes you get stuck behind a flock of sheep or people will stop to talk to an old friend - literally in the middle of the road - while holding up traffic. We’re still waiting on our second car to arrive but that’s okay … I’m a little nervous to drive!

6. Everyone LOVES children but you rarely see them out. It’s almost strange how few children we see. I’ve heard a few theories about why and I’m not sure how many are true. All I know is that people stop to talk to Lu + Stella everywhere we go :)

7. There’s an obvious language barrier. It’s funny how simplest things become a lot more complex when you don’t know the language. Can you imagine walking into a store with only foreign labels?? Or trying to find a bathroom (“bagno”) and then realizing you don’t know how to say it? Or you need an ambulance but you have NO IDEA who or how to call. There are so many things you take for granted that you just don’t know when you move to a foreign country.

8. We’re living on a military base for the first time ever. And it’s honestly not bad. I’ve heard all the horror stories but I really love where we live. There are parks on every corner, the houses are spacious with high ceilings, and there’s a little daycare spot at the community center. There are also basketball/tennis courts and a SKATING RINK (ordering my roller blades right after this LOL). Plus we’ve already made friends in the community - we’re planning a trip with another family two weekends from now!

Fontana dell’Elefante in Catania

Which brings me to my favorite thing about Sicily …

9. There are a ton of travel opportunities! We’ve already been to Siracusa, Taormina, Motta, Catania, Brucoli, and Isola Bella. We’ve seen ruins, castles, and the bluest water I’ve ever seen. And there are still so many other places to see and things to do - not just in Sicily but also the rest of Italy/Europe. Here are a few photos from local places we’ve been exploring:

Day trip to Siracusa
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Day trip to Isola Bella
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Narrow streets in Siracusa
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Cupola Badia Di S. Agata in Catania
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City views in Siracusa

It’s honestly breathtaking here! And we’ve had so much fun traveling with the girls. Stella is always up for whatever and Luna was literally skipping for joy when we visited Fontana dell’Elefante (did you see the pictures above? They’re the ones where she’s wearing a striped shirt!).

Anyway, I’m sure there are a few more things I meant to talk about. But that’s all I can think of for now! And I guess what I’m trying to say is … life is different in Sicily. We miss our family + friends back home a TON but also … we kinda love it here :)

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With love,

Lace + co.

P.S. Are you PCSing to Sigonella?! Let’s connect using #sigonellmoms!

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A Weekend at Wrightsville Beach

Hey friends!

We got back from Wilmington a few days ago and I'm still a little tired!  Does anyone else ever feel that way?  Like you go on vacation to rest but then you come back even MORE tired than you were before?  How does that happen?!

Still - we had a pretty great trip! 

It was our first time in Wilmington and I LOVED it there.  It's kind of your quintessential east coast beach town ... salty ocean air, laid back people, and more seafood than you could possibly eat in one weekend.

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We arrived late Friday night and checked into our Air BNB room.  Have you guys stayed in an Air BNB before?  It's kind of amazing!  Our house was really big and really nice - and so was the owner!  If you're ever in Wilmington and need a place to stay, I definitely recommend his place.  He'll give you the scoop on all the best places to go and he even makes fresh-baked cookies every night, yum!

Before we left, I did a last minute packing job and completely forgot Luna's swim suit.  I should have checked my Beach Essentials for Older Babies checklist (but I didn't) ... total Mom Fail moment!  Luckily, I brought extra sunscreen and a beach tent to protect her sensitive baby skin.  Unluckily, my husband ignored my sunscreen recommendation for himself and burnt to a crisp! 

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It's not surprising since most of our weekend was spent at the beach.  As soon as we arrived, Luna ran to the water and plopped right down.  And she didn't leave that spot for hours!  It made me wish we lived a little closer so she could go to the beach more often!

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If you're planning a trip to Wrightsville Beach in Wilmington, I do have one other recommendation ... steer clear of the pier if you can.  It was BEAUTIFUL but also a litttttle annoying because the lifeguards kept blowing their whistles at people swimming too close!

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Every now and then, I reapplied Luna's sunscreen and after a while I brought her into the shade for a nap.  Now that I think of it, I probably should have taken one, too!  Maybe then I wouldn't be so tired now, ha!

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Did I mention that a group of our friends was in town?!  It was great having them around ... although I won't be sad AT ALL when they all start having kids.  My mom friends can probably relate - once you have littles, you're on a totally different schedule from the rest of the world.  But it was still fun to have girlfriends around to hang out with :)

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We had so much fun that we're actually heading back to the beach next weekend, too!  And I'm going to ATTEMPT to get a few more pictures with me in them (mom problems, right?).  For now, here are two of my favorite pictures from last weekend's trip with Kris and Luna :)

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What are your favorite beaches to visit?!  Have you ever been to Wrightsville Beach?  Tell me all about it in the comments!

With love,

Lace & Lu