let the answering begin: the sequel

Sequel you ask? Why yes!

The original “let the answering begin!” can be found here, and that explains what this is all about, but for those who missed it and don’t feel like clicking:

A while back, I asked you what you would like to know about me so I could fill out the 8 things meme that JennieBoo tagged me with, and you responded. I’ve already answered 6 questions, which you can find here, and now here are five more.

Today’s topics are two very unrelated ones: my Calabrian fiancé P and the United States. They don’t even share a language, but in my world, they get to share a post! Whee!

(1) One of my most favoritist bloggers in France, Meredith of Poppy Fields, asked me whether I’ve married my “beau” or if it’s something I’m planning on doing.

No need to start out small, eh?

Well the first part is easy. We’re not married.

The second part is a little more complicated, but I’d say we’re 85-90% “for” getting married. It’s not really a big deal for either of us religiously or even emotionally (sorry for those who don’t like to see “the just a piece a paper” thing but . . . I do imagine that at some point we will make it official.

I talked briefly about some possible wedding plans here, but there’s nothing officially planned. Next summer is a possibility though.

For anyone not familiar with the odd engagement procedure (at least to me) in Italy, basically you’re fidanzati or “engaged” when the relationship is serious. There’s often no real proposal or ring, so with P and me, we’ve pretty much been engaged since about Day 2 following the whole fateful wind-blown jean jacket thing.

But let’s just call the engagement procedure a cross-cultural difference and move along.

(2) While we’re on the subject of P, One Smart Cookie asked me what he’s like and to name my favorite thing about him.

P gets short-changed a bit on the blog–mostly by his choice, of course–so I thank Ms Cookie for the opportunity to brag a bit.

P is probably someone you wouldn’t notice in a crowd because he’s a keen observer and quiet in groups (except with his closest friends of course). In line with that is that he’s quite pensive and sensitive even though most people who know him wouldn’t think that. And, despite being quiet and a bit shy, he’s actually quite demonstrative of his feelings for me, both verbally and physically.

He’s thoughtful to a fault, always worrying about whether I’m taken care of before he thinks of taking care of himself. One day after we met but before either of us had expressed any kind of feelings, I was walking to the grocery store when I saw him up ahead run toward an older woman struggling to carry her groceries. He didn’t know I was watching as his back was to me and he couldn’t have seen me coming, but that innocent scene? I won’t say it’s the moment I fell in love with him, but I was definitely on the way.

And he’s just sweet–if he goes somewhere without me, he always brings me something back, and I don’t mean he buys something. We’re not exactly rolling in cash and I’m not one for expensive shows of affection anyway (good combo, eh?), so I’m always so touched when he comes home with a perfect shell from the beach after he’s been fishing or the first almond blossom of the season from our tree.

He’s also smart and handsome, makes me laugh *a lot*, can fix just about anything, is an excellent cook, and knows that he should remain calm when I’m freaking out.

The best thing I like about him? He makes me feel so very, truly loved each and every day.

(3) Shifting gears but not questioners, One Smart Cookie also asked how frequently I visit the United States and when I visit, what I can’t wait to see/eat/visit/do.

I haven’t been back to the US since February-June 2004. I want to go back to visit, it just hasn’t happened yet for various reasons, not the least of which being the expense.

The thing I enjoy doing most when I go home is spending time with my family and friends, doing all the stuff that I used to do everyday with them: yard sales on Saturday mornings, trying all different restaurants with my mom, hanging out in Dunkin’ Donuts, Italian restaurants, or friends’ houses to talk and talk and talk. Catching up, generally.

Ah, and I also look forward to eating everything that my mom cooks and bakes. I’ve posted a list of what I miss about the States, but the longer I’m here, the less important those “things” are, and it’s really only the people I miss terribly.

(4) Related to “home” questions, Anno asked “When you think of home, where is it?” and whether I think I’ll return to the States.

Cheesy answers acceptable? Good.

My home is truly where my heart is. I’ve learned over the years that I can make a home anywhere that my heart is committed to, and a lot of my heart is here. P is a big part of that, of course, so I’m comfortable with saying this is my home. Indeed, if I were in the US visiting, I’d know I’d refer to here as home.

That said, the house and town where I grew up in America will always be my home too–a lot of my heart is there as well. And I refer to it as “home” when I’m here. No one ever said you couldn’t have two (or more) homes, right? Life is too short for arbitrary decisions, I say!

Do I think I’ll return to the States? To live permanently? Probably not. Even though it’s not all cappuccino and afternoon naps on this side of the pond, I am really, genuinely happy here. Plus I can’t imagine moving my whole life again, but I suppose never say never.

(5) And last but certainly not least for today, the always lovely and inspiring SomePinkFlowers wants to know:

what did you do/ with all your childhood STUFF/ when you moved to italy?/all those bits of memory things…/ i guess what i’m asking is this,/ are there bits of your life still stored/ in the states somewhere/or/ did you majorly purge/ and then move everything left completely…/ i am thinking christmas ornaments,/ high school annuals, dental charts,/ those typoes of things…/ whatwhowhenhow?/[one question, really.].

I think you can see why I didn’t paraphrase. Isn’t that just a beautiful question?

Anyway, I have a lot of stuff in a storage unit back in America–formerly my mom’s basement until she moved into an apartment. Now we are renting something out until I get back, clean it out, keep and ship (or pack) what I want, and purge the rest.

What’s in there? Well, I have *so* many books, including old textbooks from college and law school that I’d love to have here, but I don’t know if they’ll ever all make it. My Kennedy research collection, yearbooks, photo albums, loose photos, my grandmother’s things, items from church rituals (Baptism, Communion, Confirmation), old report cards, ceramics I made in high school, paintings, drawings, journals, newspaper clippings, memory boxes, holiday decorations, many cards and notes and letters, a collection of baseball memorabilia (old catcher’s masks, shoes, balls, posters). . . .

Not a whole lot from actual childhood, although there are still some random toys and whatnot in my father’s attic. Maybe. My children’s books were damaged in a roof leak, unfortunately, and that’s all that was really important to me of that stuff.

My master plan, to link all of today’s questions together in fact, is that someday P and I will travel to America and spend a few days going through this stuff so I can decide what to do with it once and for all.

He’ll have *so* much fun!

I didn’t mention that he can be rather impatient up in Number 2, did I? Ah, selective descriptioning.

Until next time, then.

28 Beans of Wisdom to “let the answering begin: the sequel”
  1. One Smart Cookie

    Thanks for answering my questions! Those were great answers. I hope that you let P read what you wrote because I’m sure he would be very flattered!!

  2. Karen Cole

    I love your stories!!! You have such an incredible way with words Can I hire you to write for my blog????? 🙂

    I tried sooo hard today to write something meaningful about the love of my life (it’s our anniversary on Sunday), and then I shoot over here and you have this amazing piece on P. If I come to Italy will that happen to me?

  3. nyc/caribbean ragazza

    Reading your post today reminded me that romance, chivalry and kind, thoughtful men still exist.

  4. Karina

    What a great idea you had to have your readers ask you questions. It’s been so fun and interesting to read your answers. P sounds like a wonderful guy, and it sounds like you two are a great match!

    I completely agree with you about the feeling of having “two” homes. I’m not across the ocean from my parents, but I still consider their home to be “my home”, even though I very much consider my place my “home” as well…

  5. Ambra Celeste

    This post left me smiling. I really enjoyed reading about P who sounds like a sweetheart.

  6. Poppy Fields

    Thanks for the answers 🙂
    I hope one day you’ll be able to bring back those things which are important for you.

  7. Absolute Vanilla (and Atyllah)

    What wonderful answers, what a lovely story of your life! And yes, home really is where the heart is, isn’t it 🙂

  8. -R-

    Great questions and answers! I love that P ran to help that old woman. So sweet.

  9. Marmite Breath

    I feel like I know so much more about you now!

    I should have asked a question, but everybody filled in the blanks nicely.

  10. Veronica TM

    i loved reading this post! thank you for sharing some of your world with us!
    p sounds like a wonderful partner. i can relate to having two {or more} homes, for me it is here, where my husband is from and where my daughter was born and it is also {and always will be} argentina, my beloved argentina.

  11. sognatrice

    Cookie, thank you for asking! Reading it won’t really help P because of the whole language thing, but I’ll be sure to translate 🙂

    Karen, I can’t even describe how much broad the smile is after reading your comment; thank you *so* much. And you can always come to Italy just to test out the theory 😉

    NYC, they’re out there! And I don’t think they’re only in Italy, but I *know* there’s at least one in Rome wondering where you are….

    Karina, glad you liked this post; it turned out to be fun and quite long…congrats to all who read till the end! Anyway, perhaps we’re all wired for at least two homes–one you’re born into and one you choose yourself. Sometimes they’re the same place, and sometimes there’s a lot more than two, but whatever makes you happy, right?

    Ambra, yeah, he’s a sweetheart mostly; I’ll keep him 😉

    Meredith, you know what? Me too….I don’t need a lot of things to keep me happy, I don’t think, but there are some worthy items in that storage unit.

    AV & A, thanks, and thanks for visiting! I hope you two are working on many more lovely poems; I look forward to reading them!

    R, yeah, I was pretty impressed myself. And even more so when it was confirmed that he wasn’t even related to her (a high possibility in this village)!

    Nat, glad the blanks were filled–if you have any other questions, though, there’s sure to be another round sooner or later. And, btw, there’s a little thing about a certain meme….

    Veronica, thanks so much for your kind words; I’m happy to see that I’m not the only one who can’t narrow down “home” to just one place–and isn’t it wonderful?

  12. Wanderlust Scarlett

    It’s probably going to take a few days getting through all the personal stuff… every time I sit down to organize or purge a little, I find myself hours and hours later with memories scattered all around me and a wistful, quiet smile on my face and no blood circulation.

    P sounds awesome. Isn’t life funny?

    I think you are right where and when you are supposed to be.
    Aren’t we all the lucky ones to have you there.

    What would you do with Luna if you came for a visit here? Is there anything P wants to do here, like see the grand canyon or go to Disney World or something?


  13. sognatrice

    Scarlett, aaah! No more questions!

    Just kidding of course 🙂

    Thank you for your thoughts and encouragement as always, and now the questions:

    Luna. Good question. I’d love to say that we’d bring her, but I’m a little (a lot) afraid of her flying. She can be a bit of a nervous nelly, so we’d probably leave her in the capable hands of either P’s parents or one of his dog-loving friends–she loves all of these people, so it wouldn’t be too bad for her. For me, though, ugh. Leaving my baby?

    As for P in America, The Grand Canyon is high on the list; I’ve never been so that’d be cool. Also he’s always wanted to go to Vegas and Miami…damn American TV. In reality, our first visit would probably be an East Coast tour since that’s where my whole family and most of my friends are.

    I should mention that he’s not exactly itching to go to America–definitely not one of those foreigners fascinated with the Land of Opportunity; he’d like to meet my family and more of my friends, but he’s not much of a traveler 🙁

  14. Shan

    Loved the answers. Loved reading about P. You are amazing, as always.

  15. Calabrisella

    «’Nta ‘sta Calabria duci nescìa
    e mi criscìa
    e m’abbrazzai la cruci
    d’u turmentu
    e la portai e la portu
    senza lamentu
    fin’a chi non su’ mortu».
    home is where the heart is…i %100 agree…


    pd: che bello e l’amore..no?

  16. Frances

    I’m thinking now of what it might be like to go visit my grandmother’s relatives in the Amalfi.
    I’m sure I could place an ad and find them.
    Unfortunately we never found those addresses among grandma’s things 🙁
    You write a great post.
    Waving at you from New York,

  17. Kimberly

    That was so lovely! I’m so happy everytime I encounter another woman as fortunate in her sweetheart as I am in mine.

    Otherwise I spend too much time feeling guilty. 🙂 Really enjoyed getting to know more about you.

  18. Jér

    Catanzaro is infested with feral alleycats, much worse than any comparably sized city I’ve seen. Vicious, nasty, spitting little things. I can see why you might not like cats if you’re in Calabria.

  19. Kathy

    “He makes me feel so very, truly loved each and every day.” That sentence says it all! I’m lucky enough to be able to say the same thing about my husband, and I hope that everyone can experience this someday. 🙂

  20. sognatrice

    Shan, aw, thanks 🙂

    Calabrisella, P can definitely relate to that one–thanks for sharing! I’ll read it to him later; he loves when I speak dialect 🙂

    Frances, do it! If you need any help tracking people down, do let me know. I love a good challenge!

    Kimberly, congrats to you, and as MyBlogLog notification says whenever someone adds me as a contact: “It’s good to be loved.” 😉

    Jèr, I have to admit you lost me a bit…I love cats (P not so much) but with Luna there’s no chance of a kitty taking up residence here anytime soon (not for very long anyway!). We don’t actually have too many feral cats (or stray dogs for that matter) in my town, but the ones we have are pretty well taken care of by the older women. In fact, I’ve even done my part to help out the population in an episode I called “just another kitten saved” 🙂

    Kathy, I wish the same for everyone as well–congratulations on your good fortune!

  21. The Freelance Cynic

    Wonderful! Wish i’d known about it at the original questioning stage.

  22. sognatrice

    Cynic, don’t worry, we’ll surely play again–this was a lot of fun for me, so there’s no reason why it wouldn’t be repeated (more answers are still coming!).

  23. somepinkflowers

    well done pulling it all together so nicely!

    thank you for answering my who/what/where/when question.

    ~~~What To Do With Stuff & Things~~~
    comes way down the what-is-truly-important list
    when True Love is #1, right?

    i so much enjoyed this post…
    the links fill in a story
    of faith & amazing synchronicity.

    such is the fiber of true love stories.


    PS–i look forward to the movie.
    you must have P.
    standing beside the Grand Canyon
    with a smile on his handsome face,
    for the Happy Ending shot…

  24. sognatrice

    SPF (and yes, I do think of sun protection every time I type that, so it’s a doubly lovely name!), you have a great mind for cinema…the closing scene sounds just wonderful! I asked him last night what he’d like to see in America, and when I said the Grand Canyon he made that Italian-stick-the-bottom-lip-out-raise-eyebrows and said “bello!” Then he started planning how we could stay there for two weeks, and hike, and…whoa nelly!

    Maybe he’s more itching to go than I thought 😉

  25. Jér

    Wow, I have no idea what I was responding to, either. I was convinced you . . . or someone . . . had mentioned cats in Italy. Must have been some other blog? LOL

  26. sognatrice

    Jér, whew! I feel better knowing that I just wasn’t paying attention–to my own blog! Anyway, to be clear, I do rather enjoy cats.

    There. All better 🙂

  27. a far away friend

    Wow !! I just love reading your blog. You are such a talented writer. I had tears in my eyes when you were telling us about P. You are one lucky gal !! Thanks for keeping me wanting to read your blog !!! It’s kind of addicting.

  28. sognatrice

    Friend, well thank you for being addicted! Hey there’s a statement not often uttered 😉

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