Mi dispiace, Sicilia.

24 05 2010

I feel like I’m a traitor to my heritage.

My dad was mostly Italian. A generation or two back, his family was from Sicily. Their last name was Giuffre when they came to Ellis Island. My mom’s family were mostly Irish. So ignoring that I’m adopted, that makes me Irish/Italian, like most of New Jersey. I have something close to thirty cousins, my mom is the oldest of ten, and my dad had two families (he was fostered due to abuse.) I LOVE having a huge family, with great Italian and Irish traditions. Being in New Jersey throughout my childhood meant that you never ordered Domino’s – there were great local pizzerias everywhere. I miss the shore, I miss going to NYC for a show, but most of all I miss good pizza. Italian everything infiltrated my life.

After my Sophomore year of college, I spent a summer in Italy. More specifically… Sicily. I actually never made it up to the mainland. I spent those weeks here, in Taormina.

In the back there towards the coast is a beautiful, ancient amphitheater where I saw a premier of Batman Begins with celebrity guests like Andie MacDowell, Malcolm McDowell (no relation), and Jason Biggs. Amazing. Except for the sweaty Italian man whose back was up against my knees. Ancient people were shorter.

I spent my time in Taormina eating…

(15 pounds worth…)

And drinking…

Hmmm… cute. And yes, that is Wyborowa Wodka. Way better than grappa… ((shudder))

I got a B in Italian language, an A in Mafia Studies, and an A- in Sicilian culture. I loved it there. I was conversational in Italian and drank it all in.

So why do I bring this up?

After growing up in Jersey, and living in Sicily… until this year, I had never seen The Sopranos or The Godfather.

Insult to injury? They filmed The Sopranos in the town I grew up in. I saw them filming more than I saw the show.

In my defense, I grew up kind of sheltered. My parents weren’t so much for allowing us to watch MTV or VH1. It was more Mel Brooks movies and Broadway musicals.

Big Daddy got me a Sopranos box set of all seasons for Christmas last year. We are about three or four seasons in. And on Saturday, I finally saw The Godfather. It made me miss everything Italian from my past, and wish my family was a little more murderously loyal. Just a little.

I also was able to gain a little Italiano street cred when I deciphered some of the non-subtitled Italian conversation in the movie. Booyah. (ps- “mi dispiace, Sicilia” means “I’m sorry, Sicily.” After going so long without seeing The Godfather, I feel as though I owe the region itself an apology.)

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