… and just like that, it’s over… We got back from Italy late last week and I am sitting here pondering how it went so fast. But the truth is, it didn’t. It didn’t feel fast, I can still feel the warmth of my family and the beauty and love that surrounded me. And while the trip was rough on Nicky, he’s glad he went. The flights we took to get there were from Los Angeles to Paris for 11 hours and then Paris to Turin for 90 minutes with Air France, and coming back we took Alitalia from Turin to Rome for less than an hour,  and then Rome to Los Angeles for 12.5 hours. I can’t praise enough both airlines, they were ready and willing to help. We were always the first to board and the last to leave. On one occasion, while entering the flight from TurinRead More →

My love of genealogy sometimes makes me want to know more about my ancestors other than their names and dates. It makes me want to push forward and learn more about them as people, as human beings that lived a very different life than I am right now. I wrote about the life of my great-aunt Caterina in a blog a few years back, we were so lucky that she was interviewed for a book and by doing so told stories I never heard, and even my dad never heard. It was amazing. In 2012 I took it upon myself to do something similar for myself, my children and future generations. I compiled a list of questions to ask my mom and dad about their childhood and the people in their lives. It was interesting to find out that even though I thought I knew my parents backwards and forwards,Read More →

As Wayne Dyer says, “Some people exude negative energy because of their lifestyle, friends and thinking habits. They could be sending it out all the time or just part of the time. To the degree that you are sensitive and porous, being around these people will actually make you sick.” As I learned more and more about my mother’s childhood during WWII, it became clear to me that the “men” of the family always treated the women (my grandma, my mom and her sister) as inferiors. This is not by far an Italian “thing” per se, as the women in my father’s family were always treated with high respect, so my father grew up the stellar man that he is, adoring his women. Poor dad, his life has been surrounded by women! He had a mother, 2 sisters, a wife and 3 daughters. Honestly, if he didn’t grow up lovingRead More →

I was 17 years old when I left Italy for what was supposed to be a 3-month stay with my aunt in New Mexico which ended up becoming permanent. I’m still here 33 years later. And while it was my choice to stay, many times I must admit, I miss my family so much I can’t breathe. It would be so much easier if my family was in the same town I live in, or the next town over… I could even handle the next state over, but across the globe? I guess it would be easier if I didn’t like my family, but I adore my family. The one thing that I try so hard to instill in my kids are memories of their grandparents. I try to get my kids to Italy every now and again so they cannot say they don’t know my parents or my family,Read More →

Yesterday, being Veteran’s Day, I reflected. I thanked my husband for his service, thought of my sweet ex-FIL, who suffered greatly in Vietnam, thought of my grandfather who fought in both World Wars (that’s him on the right in this photo in 1918, at the end of WW1) and everyone else in my family that served in the various wars at one time or another, my cousins, my uncle, and grandfather’s brothers and their children. I am not sure if it’s my passion for genealogy, my sweet memories of meeting my grandparent’s siblings and their families when I was young, or simply the realization, being far away from my own family, how important ‘family’ really is, but I find stories relating to the struggles of generation’s past absolutely fascinating. In some way, it helps in my daily struggle taking care of Nicky, being thankful for what I have. For example,Read More →

We are told this often, all the time. Constantly. Aren’t we? No matter what happens, we’re supposed to handle it, no matter how horrible, how difficult, how incredibly hard. Buckle up! Just handle it, God knows best. I used to like this statement a lot, and found it helpful and I still do to a certain extent, but my 100% belief in it was tested and analyzed in depth once I found out the life story of my great-aunt Maria, the sister of my grandfather, my dad’s dad. What happened in Maria’s life that was so horrid, so difficult that she could not handle you may ask? I am about to tell you. Brace yourself. But first, I want to explain how and why I was told this story to begin with. In 1998 I spent several months in Italy when Nicky was little because I needed the help ofRead More →

If there was one person in my family that I’ve always admired is my aunt (zia) Caterina. Caterina was actually my great-aunt, as she was my grandma’s little sister. Even though we did not live close by, my dad, who absolutely adored her, made sure we took the time to visit her at least once a year. Why was she so special? Mainly because she suffered a great deal, which made her one of the most compassionate and kind people around. Not only she suffered traumatic injuries when she was a pre-teen, during WW1, she used the little disability money she received to help her family and then the family of her brother-who died young and left a young family behind, and then also the family of her niece, when her husband also died young. She was also my great-grandparent’s only caregiver in their later years. Zia Caterina never gotRead More →