77 years ago this week my Grandmother and her family arrived in the US from Italy.

After generations of life in a coastal town in eastern Sicily, her parents made the brave and difficult decision to move to a country rumored to offer a better life. As Mussolini began tightening his grip on Italy, his soldiers burned Bibles as my Grandma and her classmates looked on in horror. Her parents determined to move to America as they were fearful and concerned about the future of their children. They left family, homeland, security and everything familiar. Before Skype and commercial airlines, they boarded a boat clutching one-way tickets.

When my Grandma arrived, she was 11 years old. She didn’t speak English, but quickly learned. As immigrants, her family settled in New York City and quickly adjusted to life as Italian immigrants. After graduating from college, my Grandma returned to Italy and married an Italian man. They moved back to New York and raised their daughters speaking Italian, drinking wine, eating pasta and having loud dinner conversations. (Sounds familiar…)

What is amazing me about this story is the bravery. I can’t imagine what it would be like to leave home and know I might never return. To get off of a boat after weeks of travel and hope my documents were in order. To look for an apartment and go shopping knowing only rudimentary English, with no Rosetta Stone or ESL classes.

I’ve been to Italy, including Sicily. It is a beautiful and diverse country with loud, welcoming people, delicious and fresh food, and breathtaking Cathedrals, Piazza’s, art, scenery, volcanoes and villages. My impressions of Italy and experiences  will have to be another post. Suffice to say, it’s an amazing place and I would have shed many tears to expatriate. Here’s to my Great-Grandparents and their brave and adventurous endeavor!

Not So Rice

I have a problem. It’s my rice cooker. I love it–it cooks rice to perfection every time, it switches to “Warm” automatically, and can even be used to make Cheese Fondue. Oh yes, it can–try it! But, this rice cooker and I have a small issue: it spews sticky, warm rice water all over. Every. Single. Time.

My counter thanks you, Rice Cooker

Someone, please, advise me! I don’t think I’m adding too much water, as I fill it to the line and it is never too watery. Is my rice cooker malfunctioning? Or is this just one of the draw backs of the otherwise wonderful dish called rice?

Random Acts of Deliciousness

This week, I had two wonderful run-ins with strangers. Actually, they weren’t strangers, just people in my sphere I don’t actually know (well). Both experiences left me feeling warm and fuzzy.

Experience 1: Damsel in Distress

It was pouring down rain and I had to walk 15 minutes from my university to the bus stop in a rain coat with no hood. Also, I had forgotten my umbrella in India. (Okay, it doesn’t rain here much in summer, so I never bothered replacing it. FAIL.) Anyway.  Just outside of the school, a car slowed down and a man leaned out the window, introducing himself as a professor and offering me a ride. Yes, I recognized his name and face, and YES i jumped in! As I dripped all over his seat, I thanked him profusely and thought about how easy it would have been for him to keep driving and ignore my sopping wet self.

Experience 2: Free Food

A friend of mine, T,  from McGill attends the same Church that we do when she’s home on break. She once introduced me to her Mom, who is from south India. T’s Mom and Varun immediately clicked and talked excitedly about the Motherland. This week at Church, T’s Mom came rushing up to me and gushed happily, “I made you and Varun Indian food for supper, it’s simple. Just kofta and daal. Do you like Indian food?” My eyes widened as I attempted to not salivate on my Bible. Um…yes. I do. We walked out to her car together to retrieve The Precious supper, and she apologized for not inviting us over to her house. She told me how much she liked Varun and wanted to bless him with dinner from home. LOVE. Supper was amazing–spicey, fragrant and made with love.

This week has also been filled with stresses—-re-painting our apartment to Institutional White, visiting new apartments, shattering my blender and the incredible emotional and physical hurdle which is Preparing to Move (Pretend you didn’t hear that. It’s my next post’s topic). But, in the midst of all of this, two people showed me incredible love this week. Whose day can I make this week? What about you? Any experiences with random acts of kindness? Any simple and great ideas?

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