An Italian Obsession

It started with a photo. My grandparent’s wedding photo.

I always had a sense that we were different. My mother’s parents had a funny accent when they spoke English and they talked real loud. My friends couldn’t understand our grandfather. I was used to it and explained that my Pop-Pop was Italian and that he was from ‘the Abruzzi’.

He did have a thick accent but we must have grown used to it. Mom-Mom not so much. Pop-Pop was only 13 when he arrived in America and he was already a tailor. His schooling lasted 3 years before he was taught a trade at age 9. Imagine that today. Mom-mom arrived with her mother and a one of her sisters to join their father who was already in Philadelphia. She went to high school and although Italian was the language of home, she was educated in English through her high school years in ‘l’America’.

But the photo. I was a little obsessed with it for some years. It seemed like something from another time and place than our rather normal Anglo existence, it was foreign and exotic and we just weren’t!

I don’t remember seeing the wedding photo for the first time until I was in High School, probably after my grandmother died and my grandfather sold up and moved to the Jersey Shore. It turned up at my parent’s house amongst the possessions that Pop-Pop no longer needed in his tiny apartment on California Avenue, Atlantic City. He had been totally dedicated to Mom-Mom, Anna. He use to refer to her as ‘my Annie’. He survived another 18 years after she was gone.

But I digress. The photo was taken in 1922 in Philadelphia and I don’t know the other people in it other than my grandparents, the bride and groom. They were 9 years apart. My grandmother was only 18 and my grandfather 27 or so. The bride, bridesmaid and  flower girl have the best hats and the biggest flowers, but the little boy ring-bearer is jut the funniest looking little fellow with wild hair that looks like he jut tumbled out of bed.  They all look so serious.

I have been inspired to think about this photo again as a fellow Italy-obsessed blogger Debra recently posted an entry about a wonderful looking museum with some equally great photos from the Museo Paolo Cresci in Lucca. Refer to the post here.

So here’s a copy of my lovely grandparent’s wedding photo. It started me on  journey to discover my Italian heritage, to visit Italy many times over to meet my grandparent’s families and see their villages in Abruzzo and to try to learn how to speak the most basic sentences in Italian.

I would love to hear what you think or if you have a story (or even an obsession) associated with a family photo.

Anna Mezacappa and Giovanni Pergolini
Anna Mezzacappa and Giovanni Pergolini

A recent quick trip to Sydney

A quick trip to Sydney is always a treat, but never long enough to catch up with everyone. When I went at the end of September I was fortunate enough to slip in a bit of Art!

With iPhone in hand I roamed the streets of Sydney and hit the Art Gallery of New South Wales (AGNSW)  and the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA). At the AGNSW was an exhibition of photographs by Eugène Atget, known for his photo documentation of Paris street life and architecture in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Inspired by the work I attempted a few of my own in the style of Atget. Sydney is photogenic without really trying!

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The cafe at the MCA has a lovely view of the Opera House and Harbour Bridge and a nice light filled rooftop cafe. Even though it was early spring the weather was perfect for my second breakfast!

As the MCA is housed in the old Maritime Services Board building at Circular Quay, there are vestiges of the Building’s heritage in some architectural features like this beautiful door with a nautically themed window.

This lovely lady kept watch over breakfast and a little light lunch at the local Spanish Bodega near where I was staying with a friend in Bathurst Street.

Thankfully the weather held out all weekend and I got to spend some time walking at Coogee with the Tucker cousins.

Seriously, is it possible to tire of this view?

A two month break

A two month break from posting is a long time for me. So what’s been going on in my life to cause this?

Hmmm…perhaps it’s my current obsession with taking pictures on Instagram. Add that to my obsession with all things Italian, my study of la bella lingua, my day job at the documentation factory, a visit to the Royal Adelaide Show and a 4 day weekend in Sydney. Perhaps some of these are blogworthy things. I shall ponder that and for now share a recent Instagram picture.

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A walk in the neighborhood

I ride a bike. The kind with pedals. I ride to work, to the Farmer’s Market, to yoga, to the local shops. Day after day, week after week, I ride a familiar circuit, noting the changes due to road works, house renovations, landscaping and businesses changing over.

Today I decided to leave the bike at home and walk part of my daily trip. I was astounded at how different it all looks on foot and pulled out my phone to capture a few images.

I’m a self-confessed Italy freak, but I really do appreciate my own back yard. Please enjoy!

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An April afternoon at Cleland Wildlife Park

Visiting niece Emily had not seen a kangaroo or Koala yet after nearly 2 months in Australia and I hadn’t been to Cleland in over 15 years I reckon. Clearly we are slack hosts! So today Roo, Emily and me hopped in the car and headed for the Adelaide Hills.

Cleland Wildlife Park

It was a perfect afternoon with a totally cloudless sky. Just right for some speccy shots of us getting up close and personal with the furry marsupials.

Emily with Vincent the koala

 

Roos with Roo and Emily
Wallaby darned, there's a Joey in that pouch.

We finished up at Mount Lofty Summit, a lookout over Adelaide.  It was brilliant autumn weather with just a hint of chill in the air at the end of the day. Autumn in Adelaide. Not too bad at all.

The lookout at Mt Lofty

March Madness, Adelaide Style

It’s almost over for me, the March madness. And it’s both a relief and a cause of sadness.  Relief because I need my beauty rest and sadness because the end of the festival season means the long summer evenings are soon to be gone. The Adelaide Fringe and Womadelaide are events I participate in each year. The Fringe finishes today. I attended a nice mix of comedy, music, visual arts and avant-garde performances.  Justin Townes Earl at The Governor Hindmarsh Hotel (The Gov) was a highlight of Adelaide Fringe 2011 for me, oh and getting commandeered into pulling a percussion float at the Fringe Parade…

Yesterday I went to Womadelaide.  I used to go for the whole weekend but it’s expensive and I have become more strategic in my selection of must-see acts.  This year I really wanted to see Martha Wainwright and Asa.  Fortunately they were doing main-stage shows on the same day.  And every year there is at least one act that is new for me and that just blows me away.  This year that act was 17 Hippies, direct from a cold and wet Berlin to one of Adelaide’s brilliant late summer days.

Here are some photos from Womadelaide on this perfect Saturday.

Womadelaide 2011 - 17 Hippies
Womadelaide 2011 - 17 Hippies
Womadelaide 2011 - Asa in a quieter moment
Womadelaide 2011 - Martha Wainwright
A perfect Saturday evening at Womadelaide 2011

See my Flickr site for more photos from Womadelaide and Adelaide Fringe 2011.

The return of Fu Fu the cat

We have a lovely, timid  neighbourhood cat whose name we do not know. We call him Fu Fu because of his panda-like appearance.  Think Wang Wang, Shi Shi or  Yang Yang.   Fu Fu comes to our garden to see our cats most days.  But for the last three or four weeks we had not seen him at all. We thought perhaps he and his peeps had moved away, or that Fu Fu had an early demise on a nearby busy road.  Andrew and I were a little sad that Fu Fu was not visiting.

Today though, he came back and he looks healthy and like he has grown.  We’ve speculated that he has been at ‘Kitty Camp’ while his owners were away on holidays.  He’s still shy, so clearly, if he was at Kitty Camp,  he has not become a gregarious party animal!

A tentative Fu Fu with the effervescent Speedy
Fu Fu amongst the cat grass and thyme

 

Jose, not so sure about all this Fu Fu visiting

We are glad that Fu Fu has not moved away and we expect his personality won’t change much.  And that’s just fine.  All of the cats we know have unique personalities and that’s what makes them so enchanting.