Showing posts with label Family. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Family. Show all posts

Monday, October 11, 2010

What's Your Italian American Story? - Call for Submissions

Dear Italian American Girl Readers, To celebrate and preserve our Italian American culture the Italian American Girl site will honor Italian Heritage Month here in the United States for the month of October. It's important as Italian Americans that we "stick" together and work on cultural education and find ways to preserve and share our traditions, history and personal stories. Being that the Italian American Girl site focuses on the personal Italian connection and the preservation of Italian family history and traditions, I would like to invite the readers of our site to submit their Italian American stories. Tell us about you and your Italian American story. What's the history behind your family? When did your ancestors come here and where in Italy are you from? Have you ever been to Italy? Have you connected with an Italian family member through social media like Facebook or Twitter? I want to know. I will choose amazing personal stories and feature them on the Italian American Girl site. So don't be shy, share! 

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Why Family Is Everything.

These past couple of days have been a bit stressful for me in the sense that my mother was rushed to the ER over the weekend because she thought she was having a heart attack. Now, if your Italian you know that Italian parents will do anything in the world not to go to the hospital and if you tell them you're calling your 911 they freak out. They would rather get up on their own two legs and go the doctor because the ER doctors don't know them personally.

So, as you can imagine this was exactly the scenario that occurred, as my mother lay in pain telling me she couldn't breathe, she was still telling the paramedics that they didn't know what she was talking about and telling the first response police officer to sit down in the living room and my father asking him if he wants coffee as my mother breathes through the oxygen mask.(I kid you not)

The second part of all this drama was the fact that I realized while in the ER with my mother, that my family is so tight and if one of us are in trouble we drop everything and support each other to high end. After my mother came home that day, I said to her, I saw so many poor older people in the ER and hospital beds with no one there for them, it made me sad for them because I can't imagine ever being alone in a bad situation, my family is everything and we are always there for each other, that's one thing we were brought up to be supportive and always help each other, an amazing family value and quality of being Italian. So, for those of you who have wondered why I haven't posted in a few days, this is why and now my mother is home and doing much better, so back to our usual Italian craziness.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Voglio Fare L'Americano...Sunday Dinner --Part Due.

Today of course is Sunday and once again I am lucky enough to eat Sunday dinner at my parents home. I was happy today because my mother made the sauce with my favorite, porpetti. Oh, just amazing. Then, my father drew wine out of the barrel from the wine we made this past October. Now, the wine is not ready yet but he wanted to test its consistency and let me tell you the consistency could kick your butt. Its definitely strong. Can't wait for it to be completely done.

So, in the course of our dinner today, my father was very reminiscent about his life when he first was married to my mother. They were both saying how they would take trips to the Meadowlands race track, go into Manhattan, and visit with friends. I just think its so funny, that they actually went out and did fun stuff, I mean if any of you know Italian parents, you know its takes a lot to convince them to leave the house or do anything fun.

My father was talking about the times he worked three jobs and had money to do or buy anything for the family. He claims as he says, "volevo fare l'americano." He says there was almost a sense of romance to living, working and engaging in the American lifestyle. His greatest memory is buying his first American car, a Chevy Impala. I guess the vibe was very Frank Sinatra-ish. Everyone wanted to be American.

My father's feelings and opinions were pretty strong today as we also discussed the crashing economy and the declining American pride. I guess the idea of such a great America and the excitement he talks about from when he came to America, made me think.."Do I feel or think that?" I mean, he sounds like he's talking about a time that can never be duplicated. I guess it can't, but I wonder will we as Americans, Italian-Americans ever feel the romance or excitement of a great America again? Its hard to imagine right now, but I will remain hopeful. I'm here because the idea of a great America was real for my parents, so I will do my best and then some to keep that idea alive. Yet another reflective moment about growing up Italian-American.

(pic-My father & me)

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Who is The Godfather?

So, what caught your attention? The headline or the idea that I was going to write an article about the movie, "The Godfather," well its neither. I thought it would be good to talk about what the meaning of Godfather and Godmother really mean to an Italian or Italian American. No, its not the idea you think associated to a stereotype or type of person based on history. Its actually the person chosen as your guardian, who takes a vow to God to take care of you in all circumstances in life, during the ceremonial and traditional Catholic baptism.

The reason I think of my God parents today, is because I actually had lunch with my Godmother today. There is something to be said about an Italian true God parent, like mine. She's over 80 years old, but can run circles around me. She's kind, loving and would give you the shirt off her back if you needed it and I can always count on her to tell me to hurry up and get married so she can buy me a china set. (She's funny.)

This is an incredible woman who embodies the goodness of being a beautiful person. (Pretty deep) OK, so lightening it up a bit, I think the misinterpretation of the term "Godfather" is very distorted here in America. For instance, a friend of mine asked me what I was doing for lunch, I said, "I was having lunch with my Godmother," she replied with a snark comment about being Italian. It didn't offend me because I understand that most people just don't know any better because this is what they've been taught to believe and as Italians we probably tend to spend more time with family than most people.

So, who is the Godfather..??My Godfather, is actually my uncle. He too is a man who would jump through fire to make sure you were happy or just OK. I feel like as an Italian American, we have to make sure we understand what the term "Godfather" means and not just associate it to a mainstream negative stereotype. Look, history is history and we can't deny that, but we should always know the differences and not be confused by the distortion of negative images. The term Godfather or Godmother can't be defined by words or images, its unspoken but understood.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

As An Italian American, Is There Pressure From Your Family To Be Married & Settled?

Ahh...yes, flashes of "My Big Fat Greek Wedding," come flying into my head when it comes to thinking of marriage or long term relationships. In previous posts, I write about whether its important or not to be with someone of Italian descent and more importantly is it expected?

We all know as Italian Americans we are exposed to many ethnicities and cultures, so the likeliness of meeting someone who isn't Italian is... I would say pretty high. So, when you reach the ripe old age of lets say from 25-30, do you feel the pressure to meet the "one" and settle down? In the traditional Italian families, I would say, yes. Now a days, even in Italy there is more favoritism for careers, and independence as opposed to being settled with 4 children. (for example.)

I think the modern Italians have really taken the "modern" independence to a whole new level, which is also factored into the low birth rates currently in Italy. But again, I will add that for the Italian Americans who come from traditional families, it is kind of expected to be married and settled by a certain (?) age. Just from my experience with friends of family and family, let's say very close Sicilian friends, all of their children were married off and settled by no later than 30. So, yes..I do think the expectation and factor is there.

I'm lucky because as much as my parents are traditional, you would think this upbringing or time capsule mentality would be present, but actually its the opposite. I never felt that pressure, but if there's any might be my own. You know, I think in all Italian families our parents or family members want us to be happy and settled. I guess it makes everyone feel better and more importantly its just who we are, so I will embrace the pressures and expectations with positive energy and hope that we can all be happy with who we really love. After all, we Italians are the experts on love. ;)

Friday, November 14, 2008

Italian Americans, What Really Matters To Us When It Comes To Connecting With Our Heritage?

Italian Americans constitute almost 6% of the population here in the United States. That's a good chunk of us here in America that were brought here by our mothers, fathers, aunts, uncles, grandfathers and grandmothers. We might be close in the generation gaps or really removed by fourth and fifth generations. Either way, no matter how far you fall from the generation tree we are all seeking to hold onto our culture and identity.

Sometimes, if you meet someone out and start talking about your background, you might come to a familiar conclusion that you're both Italian or know of each others similar upbringings. These familiar cultural characteristics that we identify and try to grasp are what hold the Italian Americans together. Sometimes the guys who act the parts of the stereotypes we aren't so fond of, just don't know any better, and to them this is their part of the culture they think is the culture. I guess, it might be true..everyone wants to be Italian.

We hold onto what we can, we are American --rightfully and proudly so, but one day once the generations fall further and further apart, we will be grasping onto the time capsule of traits, familiarities, traditions and culture. What really matters to me is keeping my heritage real and tangible. I see how easy it is to dilute our heritage when we are submerged in an everyday melting pot. It has to be our job to keep these amazing traditions and feelings of identity preserved, active and sacred.

Does the feeling of holding onto your culture bring you closer to your roots? Do you have a sense of pride and love for where you came from? Could the answers to these questions help us in figuring out what really matters to us when connecting to our Italian heritage?

Monday, September 15, 2008

A Christening Brings Me Deep In Thought.

Just a small blog about a relevant 'Italian-American' issue. There's been a lot going on lately and my schedule has been a bit hectic. This past weekend was my nephew's Christening, which was nice but also very draining. Draining in the sense of entertaining people at an event that is hosted by one of your family members, where you are more compelled to engage in conversation. The party was nice but at a certain point I realized how sad it was that our party was filled with friends my family had kept over the years and people who were married into the family via in-laws.

Being that our family is just our immediate family here in America, every real event we've ever had in the states was always filled with friends of the family, no real family. Granted, there is one "Uncle," that is related to my father as a cousin, but he was born Italian American and doesn't really have an immediate close relationship with us.

My sister and I were talking about how this is something interesting with these types of events all of our lives because we were never lucky enough to have aunts, uncles, cousins, or grandparents living here in America like us. Remember, my parents came here solo, with no other siblings or family and no one came or followed out to the states.

We were forced into the 'friends of family' thing as our family because we were growing up Italian-American without our Italian family. Its really an interesting concept, because for instance when I was 18 years old I happened to be in Italy and I had a really big party hosted by my parents. The party was like no other, tons of people, food, friends, family...I mean just a whole other level of a gathering with my family. I never experienced this here in America because we were growing up with just our immediate family. So, this weekend kind of brought back those memories and made me feel a little sad about the fact that with every momentous occasion in our lives here in America we rarely get to spend with our Italian family. It made me think, how many Italian Americans have this same situation...and are faced with this realization..???