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mi famiglia è fin da sardegna!


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so my italian needs work. my fried stef in roma should help me translate my title...
i'm an italian. that's something i've known since before i started reasoning. before i was able to understand what italian meant, i knew i was italian; my family, like most italians, was very proud of our heritage and the place our ancestors and family came from, italy. more specifically, an island in the mediterranean sea off of the western coast of italy called sardegna. (sardinia)
sure, i'm a red-head. i can still be italian, right? i do have brown eyes...
when i was twenty-six years old, i visited ellis island for the first time while visiting my friend corey, who was at the time living in hoboken, new jersey. as silly as it might sound, and it sounds a little silly just writing it, visiting ellis island was something of a pilgrimage for me, as i was always told that my great-grandmother and great-grandfather entered the united states through ellis island from sardegna when they were just a young married couple, and settled in new york city for many years where they raised my grandfather and his siblings, then eventually retired to new jersey, where they both lived out the rest of their lives. my great-grandfather augustus guiseppe was twenty-one years old when he came to america, and was several years older than his wife, my great grandmother antoinette. my grandfather was his father's namesake, but everyone called him "joe", the american version of guiseppe, (joseph) and some people even called him "a.j.". my grandfather passed away more than twenty years ago, but even to the day he died, he was a very handsome man with thick, curly black hair and mediterranean-italian good looks.
a friend of mine on flickr recently posted a series of photos to his account that told a story of his recent visit to ellis island, and i was very moved by his images; the images portrayed him, an american citizen, standing in front of gorgeous, large black & white images of immigrants upon their arrival at ellis island through the port of new york, some of them had names emblazoned at the bottom of the image; some did not. i commented to him how his photos had moved me, and how i had wished that my visit to ellis island had been longer. i explained that my visit was the last ferry of the day, and as such, corey and i along with the rest of the passengers on the ferry had been a bit rushed to view the museum as quickly as possible before they closed for the day. i told him how i desperately wanted to visit again to see if i could uncover any evicence of my great-grandparents having come to new york more than a hundred years ago. he responded in kind, and included a web link.
in less than five minutes, i had found the passenger record of my great-grandfather guiseppe that was created on his arrival to america from italy in the early 1900's.

the record stated that his first name was guiseppo [sic], his last name was pippi, he was married, he was twenty-one years old, his last place of residence was ponto torres, he was of italian ethnicity, and his ship of travel is listed as the sardegna. fitting.
all of my life i've wanted to visit sardegna, and now more than ever. i know i won't find my family there; although if there are any members of the pippi family left in sardegna, chances are better than not that i'm related to them somehow. the island is beautiful and green, and swathed in a rainbow of flower species indigienous to the region, and is in the heart of the medeterranean sea. who wouldn't want to visit a place like that? and the food...
if you've never had sardinian food, oh my. i found an authentic sardinian restaurant in dallas called arcodoro pomodoro. to my knowledge, it's one of the only authentic sardinian restaurants in the u.s. and the food was absolutely unbelievable. it's less similar to italian food than one might imagine, but there are undeniable, delicious similarities like the pastas, carpaccios, pizzes i zuppas (she said, waxing italian...) and for the love of god, do your absolute best to eat your weight in sardinian music bread! of course, i grew up eating food very similar to the fare offered at arcodoro pomodoro - albeit much more rustic and informal - whenever my great-grandmother antoinette was in town from new jersey. i called her nonnie; we all called her bella. she made a sauce that was so thick and rich and full of pork so tender that it could make you fall to your knees. i haven't had my nonnie's sauce in more than twenty years, but i can still taste it. nonnie's sauce was so good, it could be a meal in itself, and a satisfying meal at that.
there's a wealth of information on sardegna to be found on this internet super highway, from maps of the region to vacation locales to its history to its cuisine. i highly recommend if you ever have the chance to experience sardinian cuisine that you jump at the opportunity. go for the lamb, it's incredible when it's prepared in the authentic sardinian way. for that matter, go for the veal. or any of the many varieties of seafood. what the hell. just eat until you burst.
i'd also recommend staying away from a sardinian delicacy, casu marzu. i'm pretty food-adventurous, but not even i would go near that.


1 Responses to “mi famiglia è fin da sardegna!”

  1. Anonymous matt 

    I love you. I love you even more now than I did just 5 minutes ago.

    What a beautiful posting and such a rich way to give us insiight into you, your family, your story and the history. I think it's invaluable to know where we came from, how we got there, the struggles and leaps of faith our families took to give us a better life. And damnit, we have it so easy. We should never forget.

    Beautiful, just beautiful. Like you.

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