This video is produced for the middle school students in my video, media and coding classes that worked so hard with me on our school news show over the last 5 years. We have a project called My Story Your Story and this video builds on that. Today I have been in Messina nearly 2 months though I took a quick trip home for a family reunion in the July. It has been a daily adventure but also an opportunity to slow down. Life here does not rush. Someone told me: “Calm is a Sign of Strength” is a traditional saying. So for the last few days, I’ve spent time, reading, resting, editing and just going slower. The temperature has been in the 90’s. I am lucky to have a cool breeze blow through my apartment from the sea. Here is a 6 minute look at the last 2 months:
There are some funny moments and some slightly uncomfortable moments in this video. At one point I ordered the most wonderful 2 slices of Focaccia for dinner and ended up instead with enough Arancini to feed a family of 5. I didn’t discover the error until after a 2 kilometer walk uphill to my apartment so I had to try to fix it the next morning. Everyone was very nice when I showed up to pay more for the dinner. Then I had enough to last several days. Another moment after waiting for hours in very hot weather and knowing I had hours left on a hot sticky bus across Sicily, a bird pooped on my skirt. I couldn’t believe it. I had been sitting next to a student who was going to Enna on the bus and he quickly said, “That’s good luck”. That was the last thing I was thinking at the time. It put everything in a much better perspective.
The Vara di Messina procession has a very quick moment in this video. It is a spectacular event on August 15 every year. This video shows what happens more fully:
It was very difficult to film this video in moments because my place at the beginning of the procession was in high demand for the people who had stayed on the street when they were told to get off the street by the police. Yet, I hoped to keep my place where I could film easily. It involved a lot of negotiating. I say that in the kindest way possible. The procession recognizes the Assumption of Mary and is a feast day in Italy. I’ve seen that it started in 1535 as a welcoming procession for a King after a military victory. After August 14 and 15, everything in Messina seems to shut down for Feria and windows of shops say Chiuso per Feria 14/8/23 – 27/8/23. You can still get groceries and go to some restaurants and shopping is available in the tourist section of town, but almost everything else is closed.
My goal has been to get to know different parts of Messina. My attempts to find out more about my family and what they may have experienced living here is temporarily on hold until the end of Feria. Meanwhile, I am staying in a B&B in different parts of town some different nights to get to know people and places. One place was Pietro Castelli. It is up a hill in another neighborhood and there are so many apartments in that area. I was stunned to see them rise up out of the hillside. The host was kind to book a reservation at the Sicilia restaurant and it was a wonderful meal, one of only 2 I have had at a restaurant in Messina so far. Overall, there is a lot for me to learn here on how to slow down and experience the day to day without really knowing what to expect. Sort of like my new friend, this bird who I see perch on a rooftop during the day.