Birthday Post Fall-Out (Plus Mention of a Wedding)

That last part got your attention, didn’t it?

Well, we’ll get there eventually, but you have to hang with me a bit.

The other day I posted about my mom for her birthday. I didn’t even tell her that I had posted it because she can only read the blog from my brother’s house occasionally, *and* she’s in the process of moving, so I figured I would wait until things settled down a bit to let her know.

And then I got this email this morning:


Dear Aunt Shell,

Nana says thanks for the blog. I feel the same way about that song. You made Nana cry, but you knew I would. I am almost moved into the apartment the fellow that bought kitty’s stuff moved the furniture to my apartment today. My phone is disconnected and so is my tv- at the house everything is hooked up at the apartment. I am working night shift. I call you tomorrow. Michael typed this for me. We both send our love.

Love Mom, Michael

your favorite nephew Mia is out of the picture.

She’s still in school.


OK, so it’s a little confusing with the shifting point of view, but Nana is my mom, of course, and I’m guessing she’s the one that feels the same about the song (I doubt my 10-year-old nephew is big into Bette–no snide comments!) and also was the one I knew I would make cry (true). Kitty is my mom’s mother-like figure who has recently moved to a care facility, and for some reason my nephew refers to my niece as a nephew (wouldn’t be a problem in Italy since “nipotecovers everyone, even grandchildren!).

That last one may be partly explained by the next email I received–from my niece (who, thank goodness is not literally “out of the picture”).


Dear Aunt shell. Michael said he is your favorite niece. I don’t believe him. I sent you a post card when we went to Disney at Epcot. We might go to Italy to see you get married.



Whoa Nelly!Aside from the utter cuteness of my niece and nephew, let’s go back and make some sense of all this.

My brother and his family recently went to Disney World on their first real family trip; everyone had such a blast, so it was casually mentioned that perhaps the next trip it to Italy. So I casually mentioned, well, hey, if everyone will be here, P and I could get married while you’re here.

Going back further. P asked me to marry him, oh, on about the second day we knew each other. So it’s always just kind of been there. Besides, the whole engagement process in Italy isn’t like it is in the States–here it doesn’t even really exist.

About the big day, though, neither of us are religious or want a big to-do, so a church wedding/typical southern Italian 500 guest extravaganza simply isn’t happening. We’re in no rush anyway since we already live together, and well, someday, when everything’s right, the stars align and whatnot, it’ll happen. I’m not concerned, and neither is P.

But when I heard that my family might be planning a trip, I thought, hey, why not?

Even better is that when I told P my family was talking about visiting, *he* suggested getting married while they’re here. So nice when we’re on the same page.

And I then received another email from my nephew which included the following:


. . . Mom said on the way home [from Disney] next vacation is to Italy. Then I asked are we going to stay at Aunt Shells she said yes.

Β *****

Sounds serious, huh?

So, cara famiglia, the pressure is on.

Blog friends, feel free to leave comments hassling encouraging them to make reservations so P can make an honest woman of me. Only if you feel so inclined, of course.

Oh, and Happy Labour Day/May Day to those celebrating–why yes, it’s another holiday in Italy! Normally around here people go up into the mountains, but as P put it, we’re already in the hills. Hah! That’s Italian humor in case you didn’t catch it.

We will be having a lovely late lunch of Florentine steaks on the grill, baked potatoes, spinach, corn, salad, and (I’m guessing) lots of wine.

And, if you’re wondering, yes, I will also celebrate America’s Labor Day in September–being an expat has many hidden advantages.

40 Beans of Wisdom to “Birthday Post Fall-Out (Plus Mention of a Wedding)”
  1. ViVi

    Oh YAY a wedding!!! πŸ™‚ Your family probably doesn’t need a whole lot of encouragement from us – they’re probably booking tickets even now! lol

  2. Anonymous

    Wow!! I hope it happens soon. I can’t wait to receive my blog-itation. Then, maybe we can see some pics of this “P” and maybe even know his name?

    It takes a lot to get those southern Italian men married. I know some that have been engaged for so long they could have ten year old children by now.

  3. Sharon

    Whadda ya bet he called your family to get this going? He knows when he has a good thing.

    Have fun with all the plans…sweet dreams included.

  4. sognatrice

    Vivi, we shall see…but I figure pressure from the Internets couldn’t hurt πŸ˜‰

    Anon, there’s sort of a shot of P here and a hint at his name here, but that’s all I’m at liberty to divulge at this point. I have to say, though, that P is so *not* a typical southern Italian man in the marriage arena–he’s been bugging me to go to the comune and get it over with for, oh my, I can honestly say years (just about 2).

    Sharon, thanks for the good wishes. Actually, I know P didn’t call my family since he speaks no English, and they speak no Italian…but wouldn’t that just make it an even better story–imagine the convo!

    Oh, and incidentally, I now realize that my nephew meant to sign the email “Michael, your favorite nephew” and then “Mia is out of the picture.” So it’s just Mia (who is 7 years old) that confused the niece/nephew thing. My apologies to Michael, who is, incidentally, my favorite nephew. And, for the record, Mia is my favorite niece. They’re my only ones until I’m married, you know, so P’s 17 or so can’t be offended πŸ˜‰

  5. Carole D.

    Well, that reminds me of the conversation with P, how the two of you are like a lamp and maybe it’s time to make una famiglia.

    If the time is right, why not? You’re already committed to each other.
    Tanti auguri!

    I hope your late lunch was as lovely as you’d hoped.

    Grazie for yet another lovely post about famiglia:)

  6. Christine

    Woo! Wedding! Anth and I are in a similar boat (unfortunately docked across the ocean)…we have owned a house together for a year and a half and a wedding is no where in sight and really just fine that way. One day eventually (probably closer to when we’re ready to start a family).

    But, YES you tell P it’s time to make an honest woman out of you. πŸ˜‰

  7. heather

    YAY! I love weddings. Feel free to do it this summer, and then I will come too! (Check me out, inviting myself to your wedding…)

    It will be lovely, and I know it will be nice to see your family! Keep us up to date!

  8. cheeky

    I love the emails from the kiddos. They certainly don’t hold back which is refreshing and comical too.

  9. Ninotchka

    Wowie wow wow! Summer sounds like a lovely time for a wedding in Italy to me. πŸ™‚

  10. Enza

    hey i say go for the big 500 guests wedding….more guests, more monetary gifts! Ok so that sounds shallow but I remember having an argument with my family when we got married. i wanted a small wedding just with close family and friends. Instead mom and nonna got their wish with a guest list of 500 of the closest relatives that covered all of Baltimore! In the end, we had a enough money for a downpayment on a home!!(of course that was 20 yrs ago) Sometimes having a big wedding pays off! πŸ™‚ Good Luck!! and i can’t wait to see wedding pictures!!!

  11. nyc/caribbean ragazza

    This post was so sweet. I love that he proposed on the second day.

    Re: your wedding, I was just talking to friends about the whole engagement thing here in the States. One of my girlfriends is getting married to a non-American. He doesn’t get the bigger the rock the better mentality and the wedding ceremony as coronation thing that is so popular.

    Sometimes I think we lose site of what that day is about in the first place.

  12. Judith in Umbria

    All the readers of this blog shall come and hang around the edges, making sure you get the full complement of 500.

  13. Bre

    A wedding in Italy sounds lovely, are they making reservations yet?

  14. Johnaesthetica

    Oh, congrats!

    How exciting. And lol @ P proposing on the second day. I love how open and blunt Italian men can be.

    I’m sure you’ll keep us posted.

  15. Cherrye

    Yea, now I have someone to do wedding shopping with!!

    Start looking for those bilingual invites EARLY…you know what a headache it has been for me.

  16. sognatrice

    Carole, yes, late lunch was lovely, thanks! Good point about the lamp sentiment, btw πŸ˜‰

    Christine, yeah, it really is about the “ready to start a family” thing–figure might as well do the wedding first. I guess πŸ˜‰

    Heather, Ninotchka, hmm…this summer?! Talk about pressure!

    Cheeky, I *love* getting emails from my niece and nephew. So honest, so to-the-point, so cute!

    Enza, oh, I just don’t think I could do it–costs so much to put on the show up front; we certainly don’t have it, and I wouldn’t ask either of our parents for something I really don’t want anyway. So it looks like a town hall event for us, with a nice party to follow…my Aussie friend who came up with the ricotta and strawberries concoction already told me she’d cater as our present πŸ˜‰

    NYC, yeah, I suppose it’s better that I was never into the rock/traditional proposal thing; in fact, I don’t have an engagement ring, and don’t really plan on one. Just was never a big deal to me. I agree that sometimes we lose sight of the meaning behind all those things–a common occurrence in our society today, unfortunately.

    Judith, with the number of people in P’s family, I think we’d be just about at 500 before I started adding anyone! Of course, I’d need a lot more people than just the readers of this blog to push me over the 600 mark….

    Bre, as far as I know, no reservations yet.

    John, thanks. Obviously, P was always pretty open about his feelings–but you’d never guess this from his rough Calabrian exterior!

    Cherrye, oh, you’re going to be my go-to girl, that’s for sure. Your binder will live on!

  17. Shelby

    weddings are s’wonderful πŸ™‚

  18. The (Mis)Adventures of a Single City Chick

    Definitely let us know when the big day is planned! That’s so exciting! πŸ™‚


  19. Kristen

    A wedding in Italy…sounds perfect! Can’t wait to hear the details πŸ™‚

  20. Sara

    My sole interest in whether or not you get married is to see the pictures. I’m sure the flowers will be amazing, even if they’re just whatever’s in bloom on the ground at that moment. I’m sure the food will be amazing, even if it’s casually served and not in monstrous quantities. I’m sure the location will be amazing, even if it’s your backyard. And I’m sure Helen will do something amazing to Luna’s collar.

    So, you know, for the sake of bloggers in America who like looking at pictures, consider this as much pressure as you want to make it. πŸ™‚

  21. Nadine

    How neat a wedding. I think that would be great, then you can post pictures of you in a pretty dress with your family surrounding you.

    Besides I think you will make a very beautiful bride.

  22. SusieJ

    Congratulations!!! Thanks for pointing me to the mushroom picks — so curious about mushrooms in Europe.

  23. Gil

    Wow! That must be great news for your family. My daughter and her friend are looking at houses and asked about how they will file their taxes if and when they buy. Her poor boyfriend opened up his mouth toooo fast! My answer was very simple – “A lot easier if you got married”. What a coincidence it was the same thing his parents said.

    I hope that you “P” is named Paul or Paolo and not Pellegrino like all my Sicilian relatives.

  24. -R-

    It shocks me that there is no word for “engaged person” in Italian!

    I hope your family comes to visit. Even if you don’t get married, I’m sure it would be fantastic to have all your family there!

  25. Kim/Thomas

    I think you are so creative in your writing..i have been lurking for a while…just too lazy and no time to post..tonight..i cannot seem to fall asleep though…so perfect time to say hello and how wonderful that you would get married..I will keep reading!

    I love the post about your mum…that song is what comes to mind when I think of my own mom:) Mom’s are great!

  26. Kali

    What a delightful story!!! Your family must be so excited! Please keep us posted on all the plans.

    I used to always want a huge wedding, but in the end we just the two of us went to the courthouse. Hey, I live in Reno, so I figured that would be the appropriate thing to do! Anyhoo, in less than an hour (and only $155 later), we were married. It was the best decision we ever made. The only part I regret is not getting to wear the pretty dress! (Although, I do have to admit, I am a tad shallow and I do love staring at my beautiful ring!)

    Best wishes to you and P. πŸ™‚

  27. Madelyne

    How cute were those emails!!

    I’m sure you & P don’t need any excuse to tie the knot but family coming is always a good one, so tell them to start saving for their trip cause you want to be a ‘signora’

  28. sognatrice

    Shelby, indeed they are πŸ™‚

    Christina, Kristen, I will definitely keep the blog world up to date on any plans.

    Sara, you make an excellent point about photos; lucky for me I have a very good professional photographer friend already in mind πŸ™‚

    Nadine, aw thanks, I’m cyber-blushing πŸ˜‰

    Susie, glad you liked the ‘shroom. I have some tartufi (truffles) photos that I haven’t posted yet….

    Gil, actually I’ve been wondering about US taxes since P obviously has nothing to do with America; I’ll have to ask around with some expats. And yes, P is Paolo and not Pellegrino. Thank goodness!

    R, well, you can say “fidanzato” and “fidanzata,” but like Cherrye wrote about on My Bella Vita (link in this post), that really means anyone who’s kind of seriously dating (or maybe not at all, as I’ve heard 15-year-olds refer to their fidanzati). Very odd to us, yes. Anyway, yes, I’m definitely looking forward to having my family here.

    Kim/Thomas, I’m so happy you were tired! Well, you know what I mean–happy that you’ve commented πŸ™‚ Moms are great, aren’t they?

    Kali, you’ve hit on the one thing I’m torn about–the dress. I think I’d still like to get something special rather than just doing like a business suit kinda thing. And I don’t think you’re shallow for looking at your ring; I’m sure you’ve earned it πŸ˜‰

    Madelyne, I keep all the emails from my niece and nephew–always something there to cheer me up on a sad day. And the “signora” thing…hmmm…actually I’m not looking forward to that part. That’s *my* shallow confession πŸ˜‰

  29. jesica

    how interesting! jon and i talked about marriage the first week that we knew each other, and it feels much the same way. we live together, we knw it will happen eventually, it’s a matter of timing, and money to pay for a ceremony that would treat our guests right. your situation sounds sooo familiar to me. i’m glad to hear that someone else finds the normalcy in this. but, if you’re getting married this year, well then congratulations!!

  30. sognatrice

    Jesica, I suppose what’s normal to us is what matters, right? Funny that you’re basically in the same spot–expat situation included, which does add a rather big kink to all the plans, doesn’t it? Glad you understand, and thanks for the congrats πŸ™‚

  31. Judith in Umbria

    Your Google page rank is 4/10! Lots of lookers are lurkers.

  32. Kali

    Heck yes, I definitely earned this ring! πŸ˜‰

    About the dress – we were going to have a party/reception sometime after getting married, and I was going to wear a dress for that. Not a “wedding dress” but some gorgeous dress. Alas, we are both procrastinators, and over a year later have not planned the party yet! Anyhoo, perhaps you could do that?

  33. Paolo

    And just for the record… I ain’t that Paolo (though of course I would be lucky if I were!). I have my own italo-americana I am trying to make an honest woman out of. Mannaggia you guys can be a lot of work to wear down… πŸ˜‰

    Evviva i Paolo calabresi!

  34. sognatrice

    Judith, you went totally beyond my blogger comprehension there, but I get your drift πŸ˜‰

    Kali, that definitely sounds like something that we’d do; in fact, before the mention of the family coming, I was pretty sure that’s what would happen…and it still might πŸ˜‰

    (The Other) Paolo, hah! Whatever happened to the girls having to convince the guys? Oh how the tables have turned….

  35. Shan

    Hope your family has booked their flights already. Cannot wait to see the pictures of this!!

  36. AJ

    Wedding in Italy…Picture Perfect! Sounds like your family has perhaps already started making some plans!

  37. BecsLifeOnline

    *Screeeeeeeeam*!!! πŸ˜€ If I were there now, I’d do that high-school teenage girl thing of hugging and screaming while jumping up and down at the same time.

  38. sognatrice

    Shan, photos most certainly forthcoming. May have to start a new blog if the thing gets too out of hand πŸ˜‰

    AJ, it’s funny that I was never the girl dreaming about her wedding (shocking, I know), and yet I’d end up having a wedding in Italy where so many would love as a backdrop (ahem, Tom and Katie). Funny how life works.

    Bec, OK, but only if you’re wearing those cute (but uncomfortable) shoes from your post today!

  39. Ms Adventures in Italy

    Congrats!!!! A southern wedding will be lots of fun. I eschewed it for cost reasons (we preferred getting cash) but they are so exciting. If you want some tips-etc on planning, let me know, and I know Shelley will be a big help, too.

    By the way, we both did David’s Bridal for the dress and saved thousands and thousands….. πŸ™‚

  40. JennDZ

    Wow this is so exciting Sognatrice! I love weddings! I read the history that you linked to as well, about the House of Violets and all the signs. So beautiful and amazing!
    I tell you such weird things happened when I met Roberto as well…such amazing things…anyway, we are in the same boat – we have the commitment, but we are trying to work out details so his family can be here when we “seal the deal”. Such romantic times! I am so happy for you and P. The best to both of you! Auguri!

Michelle KaminskyMichelle Kaminsky is an American attorney-turned-freelance writer who lived in her family's ancestral village in Calabria, Italy for 15 years. This blog is now archived. 

Calabria Guidebook

Calabria travel guide by Michelle Fabio



Homemade apple butter
Green beans, potatoes, and pancetta
Glazed Apple Oatmeal Cinnamon Muffins
Pasta with snails alla calabrese
Onion, Oregano, and Thyme Focaccia
Oatmeal Banana Craisin Muffins
Prosciutto wrapped watermelon with bel paese cheese
Fried eggs with red onion and cheese
Calabrian sausage and fava beans
Ricotta Pound Cake