Brigida, Gina & Emilio’s Nocino – Rome, Italy – Somewhere In Time Weekly Travel Photo.
[google1] Somewhere In Time is a weekly travel photo from around the world. Enjoy!
This week’s photo is a personal one. When we went to Rome the first thing (and only thing) we did was meet up with Brigida and Gina. Gina (she is sitting in this photo) was married to my father’s cousin Emilio and Brigida is their daughter. When I was 12 years old Brigida came to the U.S. to meet everyone but that was the only time I had met her previously.
We only had very loose directions to meet her at a train station and I didn’t even know what she would look like or what she would be wearing. As luck would have it, we walked off the train and right into big hugs. We both saw each other and just kind of knew that we were looking for each other instantaneously. We went back to their condo where Gina cooked an amazing Italian meal for us and then later in the day Brigida took us for a tour of the Vatican because they only live about a 10 minute walk from it. While we were there it poured and the entire square vacated except for a couple girls and their mother who were dancing in the rain. It’s a memory that I’ll never forget and I have a picture too! It too will be a part of the Somewhere In Time series eventually – it’s just not ready yet. I should also mention that Brigida speaks basic English and Gina doesn’t speak any. We don’t speak Italian. Looking back, I can’t remember any language difficulties and the conversation always flowed but I’m not even sure how.
This photo was taken in their living room. About 10 mins prior to this Gina decided to call my Auntie Adele (my father’s sister) in the States. Adele is one of the few Italian speakers in our family and her and Gina talk regularly. I remember I was sitting on the couch with Randy and Gina was sitting in the exact same spot as the photo talking on the phone. I heard some scuffling and I thought Gina was laughing at something with my aunt. I couldn’t understand the conversation so I had no idea what they were talking about. Then I looked up and saw that Gina was crying. Not just little tears but big, sad, heavy tears. Brigida told me they were talking about their husbands – both who have passed away. Gina was crying, my Auntie Adele was also crying, Brigida started crying and then I started crying. I couldn’t watch as people I loved cried across continents and not cry myself. In an instant, I felt overwhelmingly sad – I missed my Uncle Ben and I knew that Gina & Brigida missed Emilio immensely. After a few minutes, we all collected themselves and stopped crying. Which was good for everyone and especially good for Randy. It’s one thing for me to sit and cry with people I am related to – even if I’ve met them only once before but for Randy it’s a totally different ballpark. He hasn’t heard stories of Uncle Emilio, he hasn’t spent an entire childhood with one of my favorite uncles – Uncle Ben. He’s not Italian – he’s not used to the crazy dinners, eat until you can’t eat anymore, the big laughs & big cries of the typical overly emotional Italian family. Italians and Italian-Americans are very genuine -they don’t hold their emotions back in any sense. My father can’t even read his birthday cards in public -and by that I mean around the kitchen table. He gets too emotional so he actually takes them into the bathroom or his office, shuts the door and reads them. Then he saves them. FOREVER.
I felt bad for Randy that we were all suddenly crying out of nowhere and he was trapped on the couch not knowing what to do or even what was going on. As usual, he handled it like a champ. I’m telling you if you go to Italy and you happen to be Italian be prepared. The emotions are going to hit you at some point. There is no escaping it. If you are visiting family you might as well buy stock in Kleenex before you go. It’s just the way it is. After the crying stopped Brigida had decided that it was the perfect time to shake things up by bringing their homemade Nocino onto the scene. This was a welcomed relief for everyone and we all took sips of this grow-hair-on-your-chest-in-two-seconds liquor. Nocino is made from unripened walnuts and this stuff is intense! Seriously, I could barely get down more than a sip. It is very, very strong. This particular bottle was made 10 years ago and you can see a little goes a far way. They were extremely proud of their homemade Nocino and it lightened the mood instantly. I took this photo as Brigida was explaining to us what Nocino was made of. By that point even Gina was back to her smiling, beautiful self, thinking of happy memories before Emilio died when they all made the Nocino together. In a strange way this is a little family portrait of them all.
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