You CAN do it Mom

My children are grown and gone. I now have adult grandchildren. And still that voice so many mothers recognize accuses me. It’s that voice that says, “You can’t do it. You’ll never be a good mom. Your kids are going to grow up a mess.”

I read various posts recently about raising children, including She Believed She Couldn’t by Sarah E. Frazer. And the one thread that coming through was how widespread and active that lying voice is.  Continue reading

Italy’s Top Museums {My Top 5}

You probably already know that Italy is a land of museums. But did you know there are over 3000? And that the best time to visit them is in Autumn? Autumn here is usually warm, balmy, and without hordes of tourists! So come on over!

Perhaps you’re thinking, “Great a boring list of museums!” But never fear! I’ve included interesting finds about them too, because I find mere lists pretty boring too!  So read on, and learn what makes these museums special! Learn, for instance, why the man who made one of Italy’s museums famous never even wanted the job!  Continue reading

Fake Italian Food

You used to see it in older movies a lot…loud, rambunctious Italian families around the dinner table. Glasses raised in greeting or forks twirling madly. Usually eating spaghetti, spaghetti and meatballs.

But spaghetti and meatballs is not real Italian food.

Sorry if this is a letdown for you. It’s good. And it’s considered Italian. But it’s fake Italian food. At least in all our years here we’ve never once been served this dish, nor seen it on restaurant menus.  Continue reading

Their First Look at the Americans

One by one they filed in, sitting around the smoky fire in the dark, dingy room. The entire village, it seemed, wanted a look at the Americans. While I in turn, through teary, smoke-filled eyes, examined them. My husband’s paesani, for this was his birthplace, the very home he was born in!

Life in that isolated village seemed of another era. Shut in, not only by the surrounding mountains, but by time, which seemed to stand still. Everything, from the wrinkled grannies to the thick-walled ancient homes, spoke of the past.  Continue reading

Our Towns {Where is Home?}

Our Towns is really our Tale of Two Houses. Ah, the complex fascination of expat life! (Read between the lines: challenging, frustrating, but ever so blessed!) In fact, during lunch with some new acquaintances recently they asked, “So where are you from?” My response? “Um, have you got an easier question?” So, to make my long story brief…   

Having lived all over the USA and Italy, with a brief stint in Mexico, we honestly felt at a loss. Where are we from? I was born and grew up in Michigan. And hubby, born in Italy, was raised in the Bronx, by non English-speaking parents…  Continue reading

The Old Aunty’s Kerchief {And the Power of Love}

I can picture her still so old and frail, hobbling up the steep hill leaning on her pair of homemade walking sticks. “What do you have there, Zia (Aunty)?” my husband asked, pointing to the open-mesh bag on her kerchief-covered head. I just gaped, wondering how many other nasty things she’d carried on that seldom-washed, dirty kerchief!

“Oh rabbit droppings for my plants,” she answered offhandedly. “Just let me set it inside the door here, and I’ll make some coffee!” she announced, clearly pleased at having visitors.  Continue reading

Italians Love Tradition

Folks in our town often have an interesting mentality. Hint: sometimes antiquated, backward, impractical, and unrealistic. Which often comes as a surprise to us. Because they are in many ways a practical and down-to-earth people.

Which probably stems from Italy’s odd mix of old and new. An ancient land of timeless monuments, producing modern Ferrari and Lamborghini cars and the world’s latest fashions. And while proud of these achievements, Italians love and tenaciously cling to their traditions.  Continue reading