Those Italian Sweets

Of my 8 great-grandparents, 5 were Italians, including several Sicilians. My wife likes to joke when we've been in Italy that Italians don't seem to know what to make of me. "You look like you belong," she says, "and they talk to you like you do." I've run into something similar here in Tenerife. Some …

U.S. Expat Murdered In Italy

[UPDATED: January 18: see below.] [UPDATED: January 13: see below.] Struggling to outline the next novel and how I am going to attack the tale and its scope, I spent most of this morning and early afternoon reading and tapping tapping tapping preliminary notes - all while trying to take myself back to the 1790s. …

Sneak Peek: Our Grandparents

If you are partly "Italian-American" (as I am), and that ancestry stems from you being a product of immigrants who arrived in the U.S. between about 1870-1914 (as I am), it's likely you grew up with a complicated relationship with Italy. My maternal great-grandparents were all Italian immigrants. My grandparents were born in the U.S. …

An Immigrant Heritage

If I'm given the chance, I'm unsure if I would vote for Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal for president. I don't know enough about his politics. They seem deeply conservative, and I'm annoyingly moderate. He seemed to say some stuff many here in the U.K. disagreed strongly with when he visited recently. However, I am willing …

Because We Love Italy

In the first two volumes, I concentrated (unsurprisingly, I suppose) on three countries: the U.S., France, and Britain. However, I also made scattered references to Italy. I included the likes of "James" having an Italian aunt, "Isabelle" having been to a language school in Rome, "Giorgio" debating Italian girls with "Isabelle," English "Natalie's" younger cousin …

Sorry, But You Don’t Have A “Right” To Relocate Wherever You Want

Forgive a long post, but this is a complicated, emotional issue just about everywhere in the world, and can't be addressed glibly. If you aren't interested, click away. But please do come back another day! 🙂 In the last decade of the 19th century, Italian ancestors of mine emigrated to the United States. (One was …

American Study Abroad Students … And Alcohol

Back on Saturday, CNN reported on the death of a American college junior in Rome: A U.S. student who went missing while studying abroad in Italy was found dead inside a railroad tunnel in central Rome, police there said Saturday. Investigators are looking into the death of John Durkin, an economics major from Rye Beach, …

She Had Better Not Get Less Than A “B”

Leaving aside the question of whether one Amanda Knox is guilty, let's briefly consider a broader issue. I had noted back in December that there seem to be Americans ages 18, 19 and 20, wandering around abroad who look just like adults. Usually they speak like adults too. However, behind the adult facade, far too …

Creativity From Anger?

You may not have considered this, but it may be worth asking it of yourself. Do you find you write better when you're feeling generally contented? Or does it come easier when you're irritated, down, and even angry? I suspect the latter may provide a burst of extra creativity over a short-term which likely cannot …

Consular Access? Uh, Maybe….

Americans' reactions to Amanda Knox's treatment in the Italian justice system are often intriguing. Some seem to feel she is an "innocent abroad" Italian prosecutors have decided to persecute despite there being "no evidence" of her guilt. Others appear to think she is a victim of a foreign miscarriage of justice. Italians "targeting" her - …

Escaping An Extended Childhood

The other day it was reported American Amanda Knox (who had been convicted in Italy of the murder of British student Meredith Kercher in Perugia in November 2007, had seen that conviction overturned in 2011, and then saw that overturning itself overturned in March 2013) had sent an email from the U.S. - via her …

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