I have enjoyed and tried so many different foods, places, and opportunities in just a

few short weeks. One of the things that I love most about Ortigia is the open market.

The atmosphere of local farmers screaming at you to buy their fruits and veggies is

fun! They have everything from oranges, apples, and bananas to fish, peanuts, and

even sea urchins. Fun fact: Sicily is known for their pistachios, which are amazing.

So far my most favorite snack to eat is Nutella and fresh strawberries. The fruit here

is exceptional and nothing like the fruit you can get prepackaged from Hy-Vee at

home. One of the things that they specifically do here so you know that the

vegetables and fruits are fresh is to leave the stems on them. On mostly all of the

oranges and lemons they have the stem and leaf attached. The oranges have these

awesome little red seeds in them, which helps give the orange their name of a blood

orange. The instant the orange slice hits your mouth you feel instant juice that is not

too tart or sour, but just right. It makes you feel so refreshed and clean, if that is any

way possible.

Another one of my favorite things about living in Ortigia is being able to walk out my

front door and see the sea sparkling as the sun reflects off of it. I am normally not a

morning person, but the second that I walk down the two stairs and see the sea

waves beating against the rocks I instantly get happy. It makes me feel calm and

ready to start my day. It is so great that the sea is everywhere. Well duh, it is an

island. Running along the sea makes the work out so much more enjoyable and

bearable when you can look to your left and see the waves and clear blue and green

waters. I love how easy it is to access the water too! We have multiple small beaches

that we can go to. Today the weather was around 63 degrees and us “mid-

westerners” wanted to hop into the sea to swim! Of course, the Sicilians were

looking at us like we were crazy because this time of year is their winter and cold

months, but to us this was an early summer!

Before coming on the trip I thought all my diet would consist of would be pasta and

pizza. I have come to find out that my diet consists of fresh fruit, vegetables, and a

lot of eggs. When you purchase eggs they come in a carton of roughly 16 and you can

eat those for every meal. I can making things like egg sandwiches or “gameday”

breakfast like my mom calls it. Another thing that I did not like before coming on

this trip were tomatoes. I told myself I would leave my USA taste buds back home

and bring to Italy a new set of taste buds ready for some weird and funky culture

foods. I know that tomatoes are not a weird Italian food, but the cherry tomatoes

here are so fresh that they are crunchy but soft in the middle. I love them and prefer

to eat them on everything! Mallorie and I have made bruschetta with chopped up

tomatoes, oil, and vinegar. Sometimes we throw a little bit of cheese in there, which

makes it extra yummy! One last food, so far, that I have learned to like are pickled

peppers. Most of the class likes to go to a sandwich shop down the street from our

apartment and get a cheap sandwich for around 3 euros. The “sandwich guy” who

works here helps us with our Italian. He speaks perfect English but acts like he can’t

so we learn how to say things like tomato, oil, and spicy salami in Italian. I am a very

faithful customer: going back every day for lunch. It was there where I hesitantly

tried pickled peppers and they tasted sort of like the banana peppers at Subway!

They are sweet and spicy but not too spicy that I want to suck on an ice cube for 40

minutes straight. I love my new Italian taste buds so much that I might even

consider bringing them back with me in 11 weeks!