I must apologize for having been M.I.A. lately. The Business Schools team, of which I’m apart, at Bloomberg BusinessWeek was finishing up the annual undergraduate business program rankings. And Antonio and I have yet another visitor from Italy. This time our friend Agostino, the chef at his family’s restaurant Focolare in Ischia (see “Dinner at Focolare“), is staying with us and attending Berlitz courses with Antonio, who is still practicing his English.
Now that my work has calmed a bit — just a bit — I managed to finally post photos from Ludovica’s last days in the States, just before she returned to Ischia after her three-month American adventure. Check out those photos here –
One of the highlights of our weekend was going to lunch with cousins Fran, William, Little William, and Phillip for sushi at Robongi in Hoboken. Antonio and I never eat sushi, but Little William loves this place, so we couldn’t say no. We’re glad we went. Antonio devoured the sushi and sashimi and everything else that arrived at the table. I stuck with the chicken teriyaki and dumplings, which are my favorite and were divine. The best part was hanging out with the kids, however. William and Phillip were cuter than ever (To see pictures of their adorableness, you can visit the “Sushi Fun” photo album.)
We can’t thank Fran, William, Little William, and Phillip enough for offering us lunch and introducing us to a new restaurant that I’m sure we’ll visit again.
My husband’s romantic gesture in the snow yesterday inspired today’s blog on the About.com Newlyweds site. Check out the Newlyweds blog and leave a comment about what you plan to do to lift the spirits of someone you love today. You can learn how to write a love letter to boot. Make sure to express your love in a meaningful way as often as possible. I know I’m grateful that Antonio makes me feel loved all the time — even when the snow isn’t falling.
Today, my younger brother Mr. John turned 30. This is a milestone for the whole family because it is a sign that we’re all really getting up there in years. But it’s also an excuse to celebrate life — what we’ve experienced and what’s still to come. Mr. John and his wife, for example, are expecting their first child in early April. Just today we celebrated the birthdays of of our cousin Amy, cousins Antonio and Tommasina, and Big Fran, whose birthdays who all fall during this time of year. And the world continues to turn. Happy birthday to Mr. John and all our friends and family celebrating birthdays and life’s special moments. (For more photos of Mr. John, visit many of the photo albums on this site and especially the latest one from our most recent stay in Florida.)
Whenever Antonio and I have a craving for Buffalo wings, mini burgers, and some skee ball, we head to Dave & Buster’s. (For photos of our latest trip to the restaurant/arcade/carnival, visit the “Big Snake at Dave & Buster’s” photo album.) It’s definitely one of our favorite date nights. He always beats me at the video games, and I always beat him at the basketball shots. (I know, I know, he is so tall, he should beat me, but I know how to use the backboard to make my shots land in the net!) We both indulge in the Deal or No Deal game together. When we brought Serpentone to Dave & Buster’s, I actually landed 1,000 tickets on the big fish “Reel It In” game. It’s pure luck, and luck was the lady that night.
My husband and I always seem to be entertaining people, especially when we are at our home in the United States. Whenever friends come from Italy, we cook, clean, and visit New York way more than usual. It’s worth it because we usually have a whole lot of fun ourselves. Although we sometimes get on each other’s nerves in the kitchen. We both have our own way of doing things, and we usually end up cooking two different menus. Recently, we had our friends Francesco Serpentone, Domenico, and Titti, along with a few other Italian guests, join us for dinner — and my father did the cooking while I was working and Antonio was with everyone at the Statue of Liberty. I just took care of setting a lovely table, the salad, antipasto, and dessert. Papa did the rest. We made a pretty great team. You can join us at the table by visiting the “Dinner with the Big Snake” photo album.
With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, I want to give a shout out to New York. I’m a proud New Jerseyan, but living so close to Manhattan (just 15 minutes over the GWB, which is literally in my backyard), I have developed a fondness for the Empire State, too. Two weeks ago, I brought our friend Francesco Serpentone (Big Snake), our friend Ludovica, and my husband Antonio to the Empire State Building. Looking up at the top of the building from the ground has one feeling as tiny as a bug. It inspires and motivates you to keep growing. Looking down at all the buildings and beauty below, you feel like pushing hard to find success, to be a part of that business underneath you. To get through today, in fact, I might have to hum Jay-Z and Alicia Keys, “Empire State of Mind“. I love New York for its wonder and its ability to push people to change themselves for the better or the worst. I’m choosing the better. I hope all of you will do the same. Perhaps, my picture of a sparkling Chrysler Building amid Manhattan’s bright skyline will get you started. (To see more pictures of our day in New York, please visit the “Big Snake Comes to America” photo album.)
Our friends Titti and Domenico returned to Italy a little less than a week ago, and we’re already missing them. But we have lots of photos to remind us of all the fun we had. One of the highlights of the trip was breaking bread with them at our house, my aunt’s house, and my cousin’s house. (For pictures of us at my cousin’s house, see the “NY Tourists Break Bread” photo album”.) Even though they were trying to watch their weight and eat healthy, we managed to sneak in a cheesecake and some cookies. Yum!
Many, many of you have heard the hilarious tale of the turkey next door. In 2008, I was in my kitchen in northern N.J., just outside of Manhattan, and I noticed a Thanksgiving turkey in the yard next door. I banged on the window, but it just stared at me. At a certain point, it turned and showed me a full display of its feathers and butt, which my sister, a zookeeper and bird expert, explained meant he wanted to mate with me. First, I called my aunt and she told me to get a broom, hit it over the head, she would come kill it, and we’d eat it. There was no way I’d be participating in that plan, so I called my sister, who told me to go outside wearing long pants just in case the turkey decided to spur me (read: claw at me continuously). After that, I wasn’t going anywhere. I stayed put until my parents returned to their home just next door and I told my father to get rid of it.
He chased the turkey for a half hour in a display that was as humorous as it was dramatic. In fact, townspeople gathered to watch the turkey and Papa run up and down the street and in and out of people’s yards. We don’t get turkeys in our neck of the woods, so it was quite a scene. It was like theater. “My daughters won’t letta me killa you, so go home-a turkey,” Papa shouted all the while in his Italian accent. Finally, the turkey finished playing with Papa and returned to the yard that he was calling home. I’m pretty sure the neighbor was planning on eating him because two days later we found some feathers nearby that looked suspiciously familiar.
Why am I telling you this now? Well, today, yet another winged friend showed up in our neighbor’s yard. This one was far more menacing. I believe this was a hawk, and he was eating another bird. All that’s left now are the feathers. It was gruesome, but I watched this theater, too. I even picked up a camera this time. See above and below. The turkey was cuter — and so was my Papa.
The tourists from Italy have arrived. My parents and I have been hosting Titti and Domenico, friends of the family from Ischia, since Thursday. Ludovica, another Ischitana, as most of you know, has been in the States with us studying English since November. On Sunday, Antonio will return from Ischia with our friend Francesco (a.k.a. Serpentone). The best part about having all these foreigners around is getting to see New York through their eyes.
New York is magnificent with its towering buildings and characters roaming the streets at all hours. We can’t get enough of it (even though we’re happy to call New Jersey, right on the other side of the bridge, home). You can check out photos from Titti and Domenico’s first day in town at the “New York Tourists 2010” photo album and expect more entries about our Italian friends and their American journeys. Buon viaggio a tutti!