You know you've been Sicilianized when you drive, dress and behave like one.
You spend winter in the gym so you have the perfect beach body, and “prepare” your body for the sun by having a few sunbed sessions. Then you hit the shingle in your new sarong, kaftan and wide rim hat with matching accessories. I am still the white Irish one who gets pitying looks from bronzed gods (they think they are) in tight Speedoes.
You feel sirocced, that is, lethargic and headachy when the Sirocco wind blows from the South East. You don't wash your car or hang out your washing because another Sirocco is coming soon to leave its sandy trail over your clothes and windows.
You believe in the Evil Eye and to this end, when asked how you are you never reply “Fine, thanks,” because that would just be courting trouble, but rather, “Not so bad,” or “So-so”, accompanied by a sigh and shrug of the shoulders. This avoids said envy so no one is wondering what you're so happy about.
You wear your black – and it’s got to be black – puffer jacket even on warm sunny April days because it is not officially summer. You wear high heeled shoes, the higher the better, preferably sky high platforms, so that you are taller than your partner. To my husband’s dismay I got a pair last summer because my flipflop straps broke on a rare night out with friends. Right in front of a shoe shop with a 70% summer sale…
You wear a tracksuit in the morning to take your child to school and do the shopping. I’m guilty of this one. I know my son’s teachers at pre-school don’t believe I go for a walk after dropping my son off: they think I can't wait to get home and clean my kitchen windows and fry aubergines like a good Sicilian housewife.
You read The Gazetta del Sud in bars and can discuss topics of local relevance with passion. At first I missed the copy of La Repubblica, present in most Tuscan bars, until I understood: what’s the point of reading a national paper when the central government ignores Sicily anyway? The local paper reports on all the juicy local crimes, mostly mafia-related, which never make national news. You’re a real Sicilian when the locals actually discuss mafia issues with you, on the assumption that you know and understand.
You are resistant to change and treat foreigners (anyone not from your town) with caution, if not outright suspicion. After all, you know nothing about their family background.
And last, but not least, you've been Sicilianized for sure if you've got your mother-in-law’s recipe for sword-fish rolls, caponatina and stuffed aubergines. I have yet to pen these. Shame on me – I’m spoiled with the restaurant.
* Some basic Sicilian dialect from the Milazzo area: accucchiati, va (get out of here!), ammonini (let's go), scianghazza (draught), o che fazzu? (sure what can I do?), io sacciu (I know), ma che beddu chistu picciriddu (that kid is so cute).