The Cousins

Today we had the family reunion.  All of the Pazzo’s family, who live near Parma came.  Zia Rita and Zio Carlo took us all to a restaurant for lunch.  Vivienne (Zii Rita and Carlo’s daughter) was there.  Zia Annamaria came too, along with her daughter Colette.  Fabrizzio, Colette’s husband, and her son Marco (who is 8) were also there.  Kids entertainment was taken care of thanks to Vivienne’s inspired choice of books and Marco’s presence.  The 4 kids were now a tight knit bunch, really enjoying each other’s company.  Language was no barrier for this lot.  Yanni was translating.  Ivy started to use some broken Italian, but at least she was giving it a go!  Jamie was trying as well, but his Italian is more broken than Ivy’s.

We went to a restaurant which served a bit of everything.  So, we started with polpe.  I thought it was going to be meatballs, but how wrong was I?  It was octopus chopped and braised with a few vegetables.  It was delicious.  Also for antipasti there were muscles, a plate of prosciutto (of course, when we are in Parma, the home of prosciutto) and a plate a plate of salami.  

Next came the main meal.  The Pazzo and I shared a mixed grill.  There was chicken, steak, and pork, served with a touch of zucchini, eggplant and capsicum.  It was also really nice.  Yanni and Ivy had pizza, while Jamie had tortelli ‘erbette, a family favourite, one that Nonna makes for almost any celebration.  Finally dessert.  I have to say these relatives know me well.  They convinced me to have dessert and then they can justify having it themselves, and those who know me know how much I hate dessert!

Dessert arrived and with it more cousins.  Betty, Carla and Linda all popped in on their way home from week at a spa resort near Venice.  It was good to see them, it had been 10 years since our last brief meeting.  This was another brief meeting.  Betty and I talked a bit, pleasenaries were exchanged with Carla and Linda.  By now though, I was getting tired and headachy, you know those headaches that you get when you concentrate to hard for too long.  Yes, I was concentrating hard, trying to follow the conversation in Italian, trying to work out what to say in Italian, and I must say I was mostly failing!  Thank goodness every one understood this and let me get away with English mostly, I mean they all speak English anyway.  Wouldn’t it be great to speak 2 languages?

Getting to the restaurant had caused some difficulties.  Zia Rita’s car didn’t start, so there may have been a bit of illegal transportation going on, with too many people in Colette’s car, but then again this is Italy and the rules seem to be flexible!  Álvaro (Vivienne’s husband) had arrived in the mean while, so now there really were too many people for a car, even by Italian standards.  Colette and Álvaro decided to walk home.  I volunteered to go with them, as I was in desparate need of fresh air.  I had eaten too much.  I was cross with the kids.  They were all wet.  Somehow they’d found a water source and had drenched each other (thankfully this all happened outside!) A walk was just what I needed.  A walk was just what I got!  It was cold, but we set a brisk pace and soon warmed up!

It was good to catch up, to see the cousins again.  It is a shame to be leaving Parma so soon, we really had only just arrived.  Tomorrow we are off to Trieste, to visit the Aunts, Uncles and cousins who live there.  Time to spend 4 more days eating (because everyone wants to feed you in Italy), with the other side of the Pazzo’s family!

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