Learning Spanish: The Masked Man

My youngest sister Meg had come to visit me in Valencia, Spain. I had not yet climbed the Micalet–a tower near the cathedral–so we decided to do it. We went into the church and a sign told us to wait until we were called forth. Nearby, in a small alcove, we could see a masked…

Outrageous Goals

I don’t do it regularly. But every once in a while I make myself some (outrageous?) goals. I put a date on them. Put them out to the world. Take baby steps towards them. And then the world opens up, embraces my idea, gives me an avenue I’d never imagined, and hands me my wish…

Becoming Italian Part 5: Approaching the Finish Line. . .

I pulled the pile of papers off the bookshelf then opened my computer to the page that listed the requirements.  My heart pounded in my chest as I made a checklist. I had done all the work, and now I just wanted to check once more that I had everything I needed all in one…

Becoming Italian Part 4: The Locals

(Originally posted January 7, 2017) The first time I took Michael to New York to meet my family was on the occasion of Grandma Gallo’s 90th birthday party (March, 2014). “How many people will be at this party?” he asked. “I don’t know. Fifty?” “Fifty?”  “Well, her four kids, and their spouses. That’s eight. Then…

Becoming Italian Part 3: The Marathon Round

On April 2, 2015, I got the official letter from US Customs and Immigration stating that my great-grandfather, Luigi Gallo, never became an American citizen. I couldn’t believe I held, in my hands, the document that could be my ticket to getting my very own Italian passport! “Why might one want an Italian passport?” you…

Becoming Italian Part 2: The Qualification Round

Not everybody can become an Italian citizen. Lots of Americans have parents, grandparents, great-grandparents who were born in Italy. But it is not by birth alone that one qualifies. You are only eligible if the relative from Italy was not an American citizen at the time of the birth (in America) of the next descendent….

To Mom and Dad: On Your Anniversary

My parents celebrated their 50th anniversary a couple weeks ago. As I was lying in bed one night back in March, this post came to me. . . and I knew if I didn’t get out of bed to write it down, I’d forget it. I thought I’d wait and read it to them on…

Sandpaper Kisses

On the page before me, a little girl stood on her bed in her pajamas, one hand held straight out in front of her like a stop sign. Her father smiled down at her. “Prefiere besar al aire antes que a su papá.” You prefer to kiss the air instead of your father. Woohoo! I…

An EU Passport? Yes, please. (Becoming Italian: Part 1)

When my boyfriend Michael first proposed we go live in Europe for a while, he wanted to go for a year. “But there’s one thing stopping us from doing that,” he said. “What’s that?” I asked. “You like your family too much to be away from them for that long.” I looked at him incredulously. While this…

Best Moments of 2015

I did this last year, and had such a good time doing it, I thought I’d do it again. So voila: the best moment of 2015 (in no particular order). With apologies for everything I forgot. It was an eventful year! The moment I booked my flight to Nicaragua. (That was a Monday. I left three…