Archive for April, 2009


April 28, 2009

2008 180

Originally uploaded by nonsonoitaliana

Anyone knows that memory is a fickle and mysterious thing.

I watched my grandmother age, and in particular I watched her memory fade and warp and finally morph into something completely different than what her life had been.

I hear my parents complaining about the rounded, blunt edges of their memories now.

And I remember when I first began to notice, in late elementary school, that I couldn’t remember details of my early childhood, or that those details that I did remember were just plain wrong.

However, nothing prepared me for the profound loss I am experiencing since moving abroad. Vast swaths of my memory have just disappeared, leaving nothing, not even whispers of what once was.

I had already noticed that I couldn’t remember events, sequences, conversations with the clarity I was accustomed to before I went home last year. But in Cleveland, surrounded by old friends discussing the past, I began to notice real holes, gaping holes, as over and over again I couldn’t recall what they were talking about. And someone (I can’t remember who) suggested maybe it was because I wasn’t there anymore, wasn’t surrounded by the familiar, every day or week passing by landmarks in the terrain of my memory.

Back here in Italy I recently fielded this idea to my friend Rut, also originally from somewhere else, and other immigrants, and they all agreed: not only have we lost our homes, we have lost our past.

Not all of it certainly. But I do think that those who leave home to live in a very different place, speaking a different language, experiencing a different reality, they lose a lot of what made them who they are. They still are who they are, but the road traveled to arrive there starts to fade.

It can be disorientating, not to say desperately sad and painful.
Going back helps, but doesn’t repair the damage.
And I think the fact that I am aware of this now helps, too.
And talking with other immigrants helps a lot, not to bring back the memories, but as a sort of validation that yes, we were somebody before we came here; our lives didn’t start the moment we stepped over the border.


Amalia moving

April 26, 2009

Amalia moving

Originally uploaded by nonsonoitaliana

Amalia is mobile as of a week ago, and getting stronger and faster everyday.

I am aware that this is the beginning of a change that will be almost as great as the one precipitated by her birth five and a half months ago.

I have a list of things I want to write about as long as I am far from home, and yet somehow all I can manage are Amalia updates.
Not that these aren’t important, but I swear there are lots of other thoughts in my head, they just aren’t making it out of my head into cyberspace.

I am going to try this week, really try, to write about:
1. on leaving, language and loss
2. masculine and feminine in language
3. a garden update

Photos will most likely be completely unrelated.


April 17, 2009

oh yes!

Originally uploaded by nonsonoitaliana

amalia officially became a united states citizen on april 1, 2009.
no joke.

and the italian passport? still waiting. . . last i heard from the questura was a month and a half or more ago when they called to ask how tall she was. i pointed out that she was a baby and just in the time since we had submitted the application had grown considerably, and so we had left that part blank.

but discretion is not permitted and so i got out the tape measure and stretched amalia out on the bed while the woman waited. dont even remember how many centimeters.

i didnt bother to tell her that we said amalias eyes were brwn when in fact they are still changing. chances are they will be the dark brown-green with gold of her papa’, but thats not an option ive ever seen on any form.


oh, yes.

Carrots and kiwis

April 15, 2009


Originally uploaded by nonsonoitaliana

so ive been really struggling over the whole solids-issue lately. the pressure from in-laws as well as absolutely complete strangers about feeding amalia her “pappa” has been grating on my nerves for MONTHS. but recently ive seen that she is very interested in what we are actually doing at the table, and i gave her water and i gave her grated apple and carrot and then just sort of felt stuck.

like, what the heck do i do now?

this is what i am doing now. very much the way i learned to eat solids (thanks, mom!) and very much in synch with my general attitude regarding amalia’s development.

which is cruising along at what feels like light speed now. transfering objects from hand to hand, supporting herself completely on knees and hands, scooting, sitting a bit and just a general character change that comes from being able to finally DO things.

oh, and the “quiet, alert” that was supposed to happen with a sling-carried baby? finally getting that, too. not sleeping so much when we are out, but watching, listening, ABSORBING.

Five months

April 14, 2009


Originally uploaded by nonsonoitaliana

She scoots across the floor.
She wriggles when nursing.
She sleeps in the twin bed next to ours for some of the night.
She loves to be outside: walking, working, or just on the balcony.
She loves to tear up paper.
She sits in her chair at the table, propped up with pillows.
She likes to drink water from a cup.
She smiles and laughs when her mama sings.
She pees and poops in the sink.
She is fascinated by the computer, cell and house phones.
She grabs everything.
She burned her foot when mama was baking.
She had her first vaccinations and screamed bloody murder.
She smiles at folks like they are the best in the world.
She gets very serious when she sees the camera.
Her hair has grown in a lot.
Her nails don’t grow as fast.
Her eyes are still changing.

Amalia Amalia Amalia

right now

April 7, 2009

coffee pot seal

Originally uploaded by nonsonoitaliana

things i am loving about my life right now:

1. amalia and i are outside for at least two solid hours a day, sometimes many more. our mornings are for the garden, arms bare and heads covered with sun hats, and our afternoons often include a walk.

2. my developing identity in my small town, independent of my husband and his family.

3. amalia’s and my relationship, the ease with which we move together through our shared day, shifting seamlessly through phases of working with her on my back, nursing, her on my hip in the sling involved in the work im doing, to nap time, to time on the mat playing with toys, and all the other things we do.

4. amalia’s expanding interest and involvement in the world around her. today she tasted apple, local apples, just a bit, finely grated. she was so excited and concentrated . . . like i had given her the greatest gift.

there is also great sadness now for me, too, as we watch the continuing disaster in abruzzo. nature’s disasters are so often exacerbated by our own human choices, actions, mistakes. ilario’s and my hearts go out to the folks struggling down there, and we will try to help the relief effort financially as well.