Italian Flashbacks

Apparently, our internet company has reached a deal with our landlord. For the next week, our internet will be on from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. every day. Too bad we haven’t had jet-lag in over a year. But I guess it’s better than nothing. Fortunately, my clever husband already schedules some of his work time from 5-8 a.m., so it’s not completely wasted. We’re spending next week at a friend’s house in Sicily to rewind our visas, so hopefully everything will be straightened out by the time we return. Just for fun, I checked to see if my Italian residency document is ready to pick up yet, but no dice.… Read more

A Dream If Ever There Were One

I hope you all had a lovely Christmas break. Mine was a little complicated, for reasons which I will hopefully be able to elucidate during the next week or two. In the meantime, though, I’ll tell you about our magical Christmas Eve, which we spent in a quaint mountain village a century or two ago. We had been planning to attend this event for nearly three years, ever since we had to leave Italy just as the holidays were approaching. In the end, it was even more fascinating than we had imagined.

Although the snow had all but melted in the rain down in our own little valley town, as we wound up the mountain road, we began to see frosted trees and snowy slopes.… Read more

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever

Last night was our church Christmas party. The whole thing was a little surreal. It was originally my idea, but it didn’t turn out quite as planned. Since I am the branch music chairperson, a few months ago I realized I should probably plan a few special musical numbers for the church service the week before Christmas. My husband is in the branch presidency, so I asked him what the President had in mind. He responded that the President didn’t have anything in mind yet, so I should put something together and present it for his approval. Because our branch is small, and we don’t have a choir or a lot of extra time and resources after we barely manage to accomplish the essentials, I went online and got the simplest Christmas Sacrament Meeting Program I could find.… Read more

The Blood of the Soul

Once while out on an evening walk, Tony and I decided to cut through the cobblestone stillness of our little town square. At that time of day, with the bells striking and mists curling up around the church tower, the town resembles nothing more than an Italian Brigadoon, about to disappear again into a hundred-year enchantment. However, on this particular evening it just so happened that the entire square was full of chairs, and a stage had been erected on one end. A local acting troupe was performing a play to the rapt attention of what must have been half our little village.… Read more

Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire

After a long morning deep cleaning and organizing the house, we had finally piled everyone into the car last Saturday at noon, almost two hours later than I had anticipated. Coats were off, our lunch was stowed in the back, and the children were buckled when we looked up and saw our 62-year-old widowed neighbor out chopping a gigantic pile of wood. She had her automatic splitter hooked up to the tractor, but still. Tony and I looked at each other, hesitated a moment, and then acknowledged we’d better get out and help her. So much for our already postponed outing.Read more

Another Angle

If you’ve missed the beginning of this story, I’m telling about how we moved to Italy. The rest of the story can be found here:

Since Grandma Familia had been a good source of information about her side of the family, Tony decided to call his mother and see if she knew anything about whether and when Domenico was naturalized. As fate would have it, she had recently paid a visit to her uncle Blaine (Domenico’s grandson and the genealogy guru of the family). With her sisters, she had been able to see his store of genealogical documents.Read more

Welcome to the Famiglia

Lately we’ve been talking about the new Rome L.D.S. Temple and why it is important to my family. If you missed the first two posts in this series, here they are:

Rome Temple Groundbreaking
The Story Begins . . .

When Tony and I got married, one of his aunts gave me a set of pasta dishes, along with Tony’s grandmother’s recipe for Chicken Parmagiana. “Welcome to the Famiglia,” began the recipe. I didn’t really understand back then everything it meant to become part of this family.

After our wedding, Tony and I went back to Utah and B.Y.U., where he busied himself finishing a business degree and I went to work at an immigration law office.… Read more

The Story Begins . . .

First of all, I want to thank you all for the overwhelming response to yesterday’s post about the Rome Temple Groundbreaking. I appreciated so much the kind comments and the many emails about how our experience touched you. I’ve also given permission to repost it today, so you can hop on over there for a visit if you’d like. I want to give a warm welcome to all the new readers who’ve just found Casteluzzo. And I thought today I would give you a little background on our family, our journey to Italy, and how this blog came to be.
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Rome Temple Groundbreaking

Last night, along with thousands of members of the L.D.S. Church throughout Italy, we saw the official Groundbreaking of the Rome, Italy Temple. Yes, the Prophet, President Monson, was in Italy this week. He broke ground for the Temple in company with Church leaders from all over Italy (including our own beloved Branch President), Giuseppe Ciardi, the vice-mayor of Rome, and Lucio Malan, a senator from Piemonte, who also happens to be Valdese. Why is that important to us? The Valdese (Waldensians in English) are the small Protestant group in the Alps of Northern Italy to whom Lorenzo Snow and a few other missionaries brought the Restored Gospel in the mid-19th century.
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Friends don’t let friends invade Russia with winter approaching

Last night, I dreamed that I saved Vittorio Emmanuele from assassination. That’s right, the first King of Italy. And then I was so happy that he was safe, I kissed his hand. I realized when I woke up that in my dream I’d had that feeling. The feeling Tolstoy gave Andre when he was sent as a messenger to the Tsar. The feeling Ann had in Hardy’s The Trumpet-Major when she met King George in the street by happenstance. It’s a sort of intense overall sensation of patriotism wrapped up into the adoration of a certain royal person. It resembles a combination of religious fervor, filial piety, and romantic ardor, all rolled into one.… Read more