The Italian Connection ~ Link up #1
#DolceVitaBloggers is a dream come true. Let’s raise our glasses in a virtual Prosecco cheer!!!
I consider sharing our stories through our blogs the next best thing to sitting around the table and chatting together (because what’s more Italian than that?)
Grazie di cuore to each and every one of you for being part of this #DolceVitaBloggers community that is nearly a year in the making! This couldn’t have happened without Kristie from mammaprada.com and Jasmine from questadolcevita.com and of course you!
We’re all here because we have one important thing in common: a love for Italy. And I’m sure there is a heart-warming story behind that love. We thought sharing our Italian connection would be a great way to get to know each other and kick off our monthly #DolceVitaBloggers linkup.
My Italian Connection
My Italian connection is as old as this bridge that recently celebrated its 500 year anniversary.
It’s amazing to think that my great-grandparents used to cross this bridge too before they left Italy for California.
I remember learning about my ancestry for the first time in elementary school for a family tree project. My mind was blown when I found out that my ancestors were German, Irish & Italian!
My German & Irish culture had more or less been washed away by generations of assimilation…but ITALIAN, that was different! My mom told me stories of her grandparents, aunts & uncles from “the old country” who only spoke Italian. I couldn’t believe that OUR FAMILY spoke ANOTHER language!
Most of all I wanted to know about my grandpa who died before I was born. He was born shortly after his parents arrived in California, and since they lived in an all Italian community, that was his language & his culture. Italian was how others described my grandfather and how he identified himself. Can you imagine back then that it was drama that my grandmother with Irish-German heritage married an Italian?! But now even my grandma considers herself Italian by injection (cover your ears kids!)
My grandma never dated again after my grandfather’s death because he was the love of her life, and my mom was daddy’s girl. I pieced together a sense of him through snapshots of memories from them. My favorite stories always involved language. How he had the unfortunate address of “third street,” which he endearingly pronounced “turd street” in his accented English. How when he got excited he didn’t know how to express himself in English. I just couldn’t imagine what it must have been like for him to start school not knowing a word of English; it was all sink or swim back then.
That is how I became determined to learn Italian; it’s my way of knowing my grandfather and carrying on his legacy, something eternal.
Here he is at the beach in Carmel, California. I actually never knew we had a picture of him in Carmel until tonight when I was looking for a picture to include in this post. Which makes SO much sense to me now because I used to visit this beach ALL.THE.TIME. when I lived there for grad school in nearby Monterey (where he was stationed at the Presidio before serving in WWII).
My quest to learn Italian took me abroad to Torino, Italy where I studied for a semester as an undergrad. I felt such a sense of fulfillment being immersed in Italian culture. A more relaxed pace of life (I mean, a two hour meal is like my dream), lessons over cappuccinos, beautiful aesthetics (style, architecture, and landscapes), piazzas and city centers with pedestrian zones, the most incredible food…
I loved Italy so much that in my “geography of the world economy class” I chose olives as my commodity just so I would have an excuse to write a 10 page paper about Italy…
And now…I’m still learning Italian, which is the subject of my blog italianatheart.com, along with all things food and wine – essentially learning Italian through cooking, wine tasting, cappuccino chats, and other culinary adventures with amore mio, but that my friends is a story for another day…
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