My folks have a formal lounge room that is never used. No, there’s no plastic covering, I think that’s an American-Italian thing, but it’s pristine. Some days, when it’s super hot, mum will suggest we sit in there. The sofa suite is beige leather and is super soft and definitely melt-in-able. But I honestly don’t remember the last time it was used.
At my aunt’s place in Sicily, there is no sofa. At another aunt’s place, this one, in the formal dining room, and I’ve never used it.
We’re sofa people. We host friends at the lounge on the sofa, we eat dinner on the sofa, unless my parents are over, we read at the sofa, watch tele, scroll.
The house we’re staying in when we’re in Sicily is unlikely to have a sofa, so I’ve started investigating where to buy one second hand. And that’s the other thing, I don’t think that people in small villages on small islands go for secondhand.
And, really, that’s what this is all about. Differences that could make things challenging, but also differences that will act as a circuit breaker of sorts. Sure, there are Amazon Prime delivery trucks in Sicily (we saw them everywhere), but there’s no Uber (nor Uber Eats). Maybe Sicilians don’t order in?
But about the sofa… At mum’s, we sit around the kitchen table. In fact, I remember always sitting around the kitchen table when we visited friends and family, and when they visit us. We drag chairs into the kitchen to fit everyone, even if the lounge room is roomier. This is where we catch up, gossip, shoot the breeze, talk politics, unions, argue, drink coffee and apéritifs, and eat. We would also cut fabric at the kitchen table, shell broad beans, prepared meals, read and study, sit and ponder, make sausage, celebrate birthdays and anniversaries. It’s where we share sad news.
At the table, we can see everyone, look them in the eyes. There’s no hiding. You can have a group conversation or multiple. Everyone’s welcome.
We don’t have a kitchen table at home. We have a dining table and lounge in the open plan eating, cooking, lounging room. I miss the communal space. But I still want a lounge for the months we’re over in Sicily!