Tag Archives: italia


Yesterday Giuseppe announced that he does actually miss Italy, well Europe in general, and would like to someday return.

“Well, obviously,” you say.  Hah. If only. We moved to California just over two years ago and ever since Giuseppe has been proclaiming his eternal love for the United States.  When we were married three and a half years ago, I never thought that we would be moving away from Italy.  (I mean, I would never choose to leave. You know I’m obsessed with l’Italia!) Anyway, Giuseppe’s been pretty constant in his adoration for the U.S.  Which left me without hope of ever returning to Europe to live.  I had come to accept that I would have to quench my European nostalgia with annual vacations.

So, you can imagine my joy when Giuseppe stated that he would someday consider returning.  Who knows when, but at least the option is open, right? In the meantime, we will be enjoying this gorgeous Midwestern autumn.


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Our Mommyhood: Int’l Travel

So our flight to Italy was not exactly the smoothest or most relaxing trip…read about it today at Our Mommyhood.  I think I’m ready to laugh about it now.

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I have a very creative sister-in-law.  Cristiana is an actress in London, always busy with plays and films.  (You can see her in the short film Moths and is currently in the play A Woman Alone.)  She is also a fabulous photographer. She emailed me these photos of Paolo and I, from last month in Italy.


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On Italian Grannies: Our Mommyhood

Ciao tutti! Today I’ve published on article on Our Mommyhood. Please drop by to read it and share your thoughts…

And! I’m now a ‘Staff Writer’ at Our Mommyhood!  So excited! Stay tuned for more fun articles.


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Today Paolo turned one year old. It is really impossible to believe that my tiny baby is nearing toddlerhood.

We celebrated his birthday with a big festa italiana on Saturday. I rented a pavilion in a local park, adorned it with Italian-style garb, and served up Italian fare to our 50 or so guests   It was a warm, gorgeous autumn day.  Here are a few action shots:

And here we are helping Paolo blow out his birthday candle tonight at our little family celebration:


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We are back in IOWA

Yesterday afternoon we returned home from our glorious month in Italia.

Italia was filled with amazing meals, breathtaking panoramas, great friends, spectacular parties, and was so incredible that it felt like we there for about two whole days.  I can’t believe the trip is already over.  I’m still working on a travel journal; I’ve not yet decided if I will publish it here, but I will certainly be posting some photos in the near future.

When we walked out of the Des Moines airport yesterday, I was greeted by the most beautiful day I have ever experience in Iowa.  The sky was crystal-clear blue, the air crisp and cool.  Autumn arrived to Iowa while we were in Italy.  The past two days have been just absolutely beautiful.  Paolo and I have been busy trying to unpack our loads of luggage, getting the house back in order, and making some real meals for the hubs.  (Giuseppe actually did a fantastic job of keeping the house clean; but the refrigerator was barren, with only two beers and no food.) But we have been taking breaks to for walks outside. After such a scorchingly hot summer, any time outside at a comfortable temperature is absolutely heaven!  The gorgeousness of the weather is a definite plus.

We are still fighting jet-lag, which is a pain, but a small price for such a fabulous trip.  This week will be busy with party preparation: Paolo’s First Birthday Party “La Festa Italiana” is Saturday!  I’ll have to try to squeeze some time in for my blogging addiction, which I wholly neglected while I was traveling!

A presto!


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Some of the small reasons why I love Europe

As soon as our Air France flight took off from Canada, I was quickly reminded why I am so in love with Europe.

All of the French airline attendants were so kind, classy, and gorgeously groomed.  One flight attendant, Natalie, took us under her wing, playing with Paolo and being extra sweet to me.  By the end of the flight she was Paolo’s new girlfriend. (This was a God-send after all of the terrible, terrible events in the Toronto airport. I would elaborate, but I don’t even know if I want to go there.)  The airplane meal was actually good and as we eased into our overnight flight, I enjoyed a delicious glass of red wine, which is standard for Air France.  The entire flight was comfortable and the Air France employees were so much more personable and easy to deal with than anyone I have ever encountered on any domestic airlines.

When we arrived to Paris for our layover, the French airport employees were actually helpful and kind.  (And everyone was gorgeous.  Everyone.  All the women have beautifully applied make-up and perfectly coiffed hair.) One official whisked me into a shorter passport line that was actually only for EU citizens, but they helped me through anyway to make sure we made our connecting flight.  A random Air France pilot helped me take the escalator with Paolo and our belongings to shorten our trek to the next gate.  Once at the gate, the handsome attendant had us board before all the other passengers so that I could install the car seat before the passengers arrived.  He simply brought us through check-in before pre-boarding had even begun. No silly questions about the car seat, just very helpful to us. And the airline attendants helped me with our bags before I even asked.

Once we arrived to Napoli, one of the attendants helped us onto the shuttle bus, where he put us right next to the driver. Once we arrived to terminal, the driver helped us down and smiled at Paolo.  When I went to the fetch our luggage from the conveyor belt, an airport employee brought me a luggage cart free of charge and offered to help me load it and carry it outside. I accepted the cart gratefully, but managed the luggage alone.

All along the way from Paris to Napoli, people were kind and personable and helpful.  Which is not something I can say as a generalization when traveling domestically. Yes, it happens, but is certainly not the norm.  It was such a great way to start our trip to Italia. I arrived to Napoli feeling so happy and welcome; I am so excited for our month-long stay here.


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Festa italiana

A little over a week ago, my brother Zack called me with the great news that he purchased tickets to fly out here to IOWA for Paolo’s first birthday.  Which is super exciting.

This also brought to my attention how quickly Paolo’s first birthday is actually approaching.  We leave for Italia in three weeks, where we will stay for a month.  (I am not sure I can aptly communicate just how excited I am for this trip; I miss Napoli every single day.)  Then, on our way back home, we are stopping in Baltimore for about five days.  When we land back in Iowa, Zack arrives that week to celebrate Paolo’s birthday.  So, I have to order all of my supplies, send out invitations, and plan menus and playlists before we leave for Italia.

Luckily, I came up with a fitting theme: una festa italiana.  I have reserved a giant pavilion, started designing the invites, ordered some supplies, and I have planned the menu.  (And I will be able to purchase food and wine in Italy to ship here for the event! It’s perfect timing, really.) We have also set aside soccer/rugby/bocce balls to provide activities other than drinking wine for our guests. I love a great party, and my baby’s first birthday is an incredibly momentous occasion that I cannot wait to celebrate.  And we really couldn’t be luckier to be in a place where we have so many relatives living near by. I really hope everyone will be able to attend.

(Dear Mains in Iowa: I will have the invites out in the mail in the next few weeks! I look forward to receiving your RSVP! xo)


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World Cup

The 2006 World Cup was amazing.  I had lived in Napoli for awhile and was really starting to have a deeper understanding of Italian culture. And, let me tell you, there is nothing like a World Cup to teach an American girl a thing (or ten) about the epic Italian love affair with soccer.

Soccer is a sacred sport in Italy. When I was teaching six-year-old first-graders, their skill level far exceeded any American middle school-aged soccer team. It is incredible watching the soccer match develop during first-grade recess.  The choosing of the captains, the teams, the strategy… And then to watch them play: it was like watching miniature men.  Nothing like the soccer fields across America, where most little league soccer games are basically a crowd of adorable little kids chasing the ball around for an hour.

So, the World Cup was a major, life-changing event.  I learned that Italians go crazy for it.  And Fabio Cannavaro, their national team captain is from Napoli, so you can imagine what the streets of Napoli were like during the games: Empty. That is right, the crazy chaos of the Neapolitan streets would disappear whenever Italy played.  So you can imagine the craziness that erupted when Italy WON the 2006 World Cup. It was madness.  The entire city poured on the streets, singing, dancing, shouting, lighting fireworks, and, obviously, lighting some cars on fire.  Giuseppe and I were downtown at a friend’s home watching the game that evening. The drive home was CRAZY. I was just glad we made it home in one piece.  Giuseppe loved that Italy won; I loved the pure excitement of it all.

So, here we are again in World Cup season. Italy’s performance was incredibly disappointing. Giuseppe, in disgust, basically disowned them and started rooting for USA.   Which is actually hilarious, given the American history of popular disinterest in soccer.  But the American soccer team actually showed some promise. So Giuseppe was pumped.  We went to a bar with some friends from the vet hospital to watch the USA v. Ghana game:

That game only got exciting in the end. And then Ghana beat us, again. Same as the last World Cup. I think Giuseppe was heart-broken for the whole next week.  But then he got the fabulous idea that we should definitely go to some games at the 2014 World Cup, to be held in Brazil.  That cheered us all right up.  (It’s never too early to start planning, right? Here’s to hoping!)

Lesson learned: Italians love soccer and I love the idea of trip to Brazil…

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Terzo anniversario

Today, June 29th, 2010 is our third anniversary of wedded bliss.  I thought I would commemorate with a photo montage of sorts.  I don’t get carried away, ever… And just think, these are a fraction of the photos that I wanted to post!

(These photos of us and our 200 and some guests were snapped by our “paparazzi” at my parent’s home in Naples, at the church where we were married AND Giuseppe was baptized as a baby {La Chiesa dell’Annunziata: a church where I agreed to married before I had even seen it, lucky for me, all churches in Italy are GORGEOUS!}, and at the beach club in Lago Patria where our reception was.  We have hundreds (thousands?) of photos; I just grabbed a few fun ones!)


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Romance languages

English speakers pride themselves with their brevity of language. Or they at least strive to.  I know that, while I am not always successful, I sure do try to make my point succinctly and effectively.

Italian speakers, on the other hand, do just the opposite.  The best descriptions are ornate, flowery, and, shall we say, dramatic?  But always beautiful and always expressive.

Case in point: my darling husband expressing (in Italian, of course) how happy he is that we are back home from Hawaii: “When you are gone, it is like I am living my life in black and white, but when you are here, life comes back to being in bright color.”

There is a reason why Italian belongs to the Romance Language family.

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Tanti auguri a me

Today is my birthday. It is true what they say; the older you become, the more quickly the birthdays arrive.  Cliche`, I know, but it feels like just last month I was celebrating my last birthday.  Last year on my birthday, I was still suffering from horrible morning sickness and was feeling pretty miserable most of the time, but Giuseppe brightened my day by sending an enormous arrangement of two dozen roses to my office. It was the sweetest, really.  (I still have the giant glass vase the flowers arrived in; I put some smooth stones on the bottom and now it is our umbrella holder next to the front door.)

This year is a little more relaxed.  Giuseppe woke me with my favorite thing, a piping hot caffe` latte.  I try to limit my caffeine intake, but those home-made caffe` lattes are just too delicious to give up completely.  Sometimes the small indulgences make all the difference in the world.

Here are my boys this morning before Giuseppe left for the veterinary hospital.  I’m a lucky woman.

But I digress. I was talking about my birthday today.  Since Giuseppe has to work, and I haven’t really had a chance to make any new friends here in Ames yet, I think Paolo and I are going to have a nice regular day.  We are going to go for a run, take care of some errands, and then I have some projects to work on here at home.  I think to celebrate we will probably go out for dinner this weekend.  I need to find a fun place here in Ames!

Yesterday was the third anniversary of our engagement. On April 27th, 2007, after night of dancing in the piazza of Pozzuoli, Giuseppe asked me to marry him and made me the happiest woman.  Shortly after, my mom and dear friend Abby hosted an unbelievable engagement party for us.  It was epic.  Abby and her hubby, Adam, lived in the most unbelievable flat down the street from us in Pozzuoli.  Let’s just say there were a lot of friends, music, dancing, prosecco, and red wine.  Here are a few pre-party snap shots:

It was an unbelievably fun night.  The party went off beautifully, and everyone danced for hours, which is my favorite.  (Thanks to Zack on iPod duty!)

Our engagement was basically a whirlwind. We were engaged on April 27th, celebrated at the engagement party a few weeks later, and then were married on June 29th.  It was a busy time, but so much fun.  We hired amazing photographers; here are a few photos from our engagement photo shoot in Sorrento:

Tanti auguri a me!


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