Cara Mia.I spent the day with the Italian cousins. We began the day with an early lunch of fresh homemade pasta with tomato sauce, crusty bread, and stuffed canolis for dessert. Zia Connie makes everything homemade: all types of pasta, lasagna, jams, pastries, etc. It is a beautiful thing. I've been learning from my family that the Racioppi's have a great appetite. They tell me I am a true Racioppi because I have a great appetite and love food - no surprise there. I just don't know how to let food pass me by when it was made by hand with time and practice and care.
My Zia is a smart lady. She is actually distantly related to me by marriage, but in Italy, everyone is family and everyone eats at the same dinner table. Zia has a bad shoulder and is going to hospital tomorrow for shoulder surgery, but that did not stop her from cranking out fresh fusilli, stirring the sauce, and reaching the candy cabinet for a box of chocolates. I like a lady that doesn't let anything hold her back. She holds her bad arm up with the good arm to accomplish all these things. And why? Because it is important to her. It is important to feed her family and bring people together.
Her husband passed away a couple months ago, Zio Luigi. Aside from the kangaroos, koalas, and cream buns from the bakery, Zio was the face I took home with me in my memory when I left Australia the first time. As soon as I met him, he embraced me, kissed my face many times, and praised me with wet eyes. He was so happy to meet his family. He was a beautiful man to me, and I'm sad I don't get to see him this time around. But I do get to see him in a way. Zia lights a candle next to his picture every day and his face lights up the home.
If Australia isn't cool enough, my family sure makes it magical. I'm so glad to have roots here to people who still live life to the fullest. They are generous, they are smart, and they work hard and live modestly to be able to enjoy life, travel, and take care of one another. They are good people.