Last night at around 8:30 I was busy organizing the house and clearing up following somebody’s great idea to paint the spare bedroom when my phone rang and, glancing at the display I realized to my horror that it was that time on a Sunday and there was no escape – the weekly call from Luca’s grandma in Sicily, except that I was home alone and she speaks only Sicilian dialect, making no concession for the fact that I don’t. It’s sweet that she called, knowing that Luca was at work and thinking that I have nothing to do while I await his return(!) but she speaks no Italian whatsoever and so what followed would for sure make a great anecdote in one of those cutesy “Under the Tuscan Sun / Driving over Lemons / Another freakin’ novel about the expat bella vita”-type books. In reality I immediately broke out in a cold sweat, knowing in advance just how much effort the next few minutes would require. She talked about the weather, the fact that her family have all “abandoned her” to live in the north, her work as the village seamstress, how she’s convinced she’ll be dead before Luca and I bother to pay her a visit, how I never call her and do I have both her landline and her mobile…..? How did I get all of this in pure Sicilian? Good question! Let’s just say that the 1 in 4 words I managed to pick up were enough to understand the subject, and for the rest I just kept up the “uh huh… sì…. mmmm… ho capito”, hoping that I was understanding enough not to respond “wow, che bello” when she told me someone died. Luca found it all very amusing when I recounted the story to him later on that evening, admitting that she had called him first and asked after me, and he had suggested she give me a call. That smirk was soon wiped clean when I told him that I had promised we would make a trip down to see her before the end of the summer, and to make sure that the aunts, uncles, cousins etc. would all be ready to welcome us… I don’t think he'll be giving out my phone number any more!