A grandmother is a mother who has a second chance

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

La Famiglia

Had a nice visit with family in Chicago last weekend. It was a quick trip - Friday afternoon through Monday morning - but it gave us a chance to meet our newest nephew, Alex. He is so adorable, smiling most of the time and he has this cute little spit-up trick that he does regularly! Apparently the other three kids my brother has never spit up so this is new for them. But he's so friggin' cute that it's easy to excuse this little social faux pas.

Our trip started out very early on Friday morning. We got to the Oakland airport around 6am and, after checking our luggage, decided to have breakfast. As I was trying to pay for my food (which, by the way, was ridiculously expensive) the girl in front of me had an order that came to $16.02. She handed the man at the register a $20 and then found 2 cents and tried to give that to him to avoid getting a bunch of change. He became totally flustered and said he couldn't do that. The cashier next to him said, "Yes, you can." Five minutes later he figured it out and the customer was on her way. When my order rang up to $23.04, I decided to take the change so I wouldn't miss the plane!

Sitting next to us were two men. It was a table for four but they were both sitting on the same side so they could watch the tv on the wall. They were the same build and coloring. Both had graying mustaches, both had the same style glasses. When they chewed, they chewed the same way! They had to be twins. So I asked them, "Are you two brothers or twins?" They started laughing and said that, no, they weren't even related. But they worked in the same place (apparently they were at a business meeting) and got that all the time. I have never seen two people look so much alike and not be related. I think they really were twins and just did this to throw people off.

When we arrived in Chicago, we went to the baggage carousel. Remember the old days when everyone had black suitcases and they would have that dummy suitcase on the top of the carousel with a note to carefully check your luggage because many look alike?? Well, no more. As they began offloading our flight, the first 15 suitcases were red!! (mine was one of them...) Then the chain was broken by a purple paisley number. But it was quite strange.

Our plans for the weekend initially included going to some games my nieces and nephew had. However, it mostly rained, with thunder and lightening, so the outside games were cancelled. I did get to watch my youngest niece, Mackenzie, practice her ice skating and model her costume. No, the crocs aren't part of it.

We also had two great family dinners with lots of food, talking and laughing. In fact, I always feel a bit sorry for the non-Italian people at our table. Often they just sit there with this glazed over look wondering how we could all be talking at the same time and still pay attention to each other!! It's an Italian gift - what can I say.

The last night there we were at my aunt's house going over old photos and stories about my grandparents. There is a cousin of ours who lives in the south of France who made contact with my dad and aunt a few years back. He sent wonderful photos and postcards that my grandfather had written in the late 1800's and early 1900's. Yesterday I e-mailed this cousin to introduce myself. He wrote back quickly and offered to help me trace my ancestry on my grandfather's side. He and his family still live in the south of France (apparently a lot of the family migrated there from Italy during a war at the turn of the last century). And he said that there are still houses, churches, and other buildings with connections to my grandfather.

I just called Ed and told him that our next European trip was SO going to be the south of France!


namaste said...

okay, since no one has said it in a while, i'll say it for all of us. i am SO jealous of your european travels.

alex and makenzie are beautiful!

as for the luggage. my grandmother was one of those black luggage ppl. and she used to tie a bright colored scarf on her suitcase to stand apart from the others.

wow. no spit up from the first three. that's pretty amazing. glad you and the family had such a nice time.


Desert Diva said...

It sounds like you and Ed are enjoying yourselves.

Baby Alex is just too cute!

Lori E said...

I know what you mean about the "others" at the table but in our get togethers we French and not Italian. Just as loud and we use our hands just as much. And boy do we like to feed people.

Lori E said...

I'm such an airhead..I meant to comment on the genealogy part of your post too. I do research all the time and am just finishing up on a tree with an actual castle in the family long ago on the Italian Swiss border. What fun. You are so lucky to have made that connection. You will find that in genealogy people are so generous with the info and photos that they have and they share them every chance they get.

Jenni said...

That picture of Alex is friggin' adorable! His expression is priceless!

I'd love to learn more about our family in France!

It's Me said...

ahhhhhhh....there's nothing greater than a big, beautiful, family!!! Life is sooo good to you, Sandi!! Baby Alex is not such a little baby anymore!!! My, they grow quickly!! He's gorgeous!

Drowsey Monkey said...

First off ... Alex is sooooooo adorable! LOL What a face!

And the red suitcases - what's up with that? That's just weird, LOLOL!