'Ayiyi' he groans as he confirms my identity on my passport, 'americaine!'
I try to smile and think of things to say like, yes, I am American and I live here, hahaha laughing together, yes?
And then, before I can do more than the weakest smile of the non-French...
"bouche!" he exhales as he gets up to retrieve my package.
Bouche? What's the matter with my mouth? I start worrying. Americans have big mouths? I have bad breath? But why didn't he use an article - what I'm always getting chided for in class? La bouche? And wouldn't he say, "La bouche d'americaine?" and then as I hear his footsteps returning it hits me, he said "Bush!!!!"
This then sets off stage two of panic - does he think I like Bush? Will he sabotage my package because it came from Bushland? All I can think to say is Je n'aime pas Bush (I don't like Bush) but this sounds like a shrill delayed response. And so, we vaguely understand each other that I need to return to get it later and I leave laughing.
Unsolicited political commentary, sarcasm, language barriers, we had none of these things in Sicily over the weekend. We spent our time eating a traditional Sicilian breakfast: granita (above) with brioche, a traditional Sicilian dinner: eggplant pizza with the creamiest eggplant ever to sit on top of wood fired crust, and a traditional agritourismo: a buffet of vegetables, more pizza, and tiramisu to the tunes of Sting and Clapton. Here we had these onions that were the best onions I've ever tasted - little pearl onions caramelized and vinegarized and sweet succulent little treats (I suggested Rebekah pick up a Marcella book to cook when in Rome style and found a recipe that I hope is the same so I can replicate those lovelies!)
We also made a trip to the market where a jumble of English/Italian/French/Spanish still got us what we needed - and cheap! One euro could get you four heads of fennel or four bunches of spinach or add.50 and get two heads of cauliflower or over 1 kg of clementines.
We left Sicily wishing for more warm weather, the chance to see Mt. Etna erupt, more time with Rebekah and Mike, more trips to the navy base grocery store for Grape Nuts and organic deodorant, another granita, another canoli, a few more gnocchi for ma bouche.