Time in Trieste

I've been wanting to write down some of my travel memories for a while, and I figure that some of them are interesting enough to share. My parents gave us some wonderful travel opportunities, and one of my favorite places to visit just happens to be my namesake. My dad served his mission in Padova, Italy, and Trieste was his favorite city. It's a port about two hours up the coast from Venice, and it is, to me, one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Trieste not only hugs the Adriatic, but it's nestled against the mountains and is only 15 minutes from the Slovenia border. It is one of the most interesting places I've visited, as it has a castle, a university, an incredible plaza and fountain surrounded by old government buildings and quaint cafes, Italy's sole concentration camp, and some awesome shopping venues and restaurants. I've visited Trieste three times, and the last time I went I stayed for half a summer. One of my favorite memories happened one weekend when we went to the Piazza Unita (the main plaza). Trieste was celebrating its 50th anniversary of being freed from Austrian rule, which came about because the Alpini, or "Alpine soldiers," fought for Trieste's freedom. About 50,000 people came to Trieste to celebrate over this anniversary weekend, and several thousand were Alpini soldiers, both young and old. Alpini are easy to find since they all wear their signature felt hats with a long eagle feather on one side. They are known for their love of singing and drinking, and they usually do both quite well:) This particular Saturday, we (me and my Italian "family") were walking down a side alley to get to the plaza. It was crowded because there were so many tourists visiting the city, but it was a beautiful day and we were taking our time. I noticed a 60ish-year old, rather overweight Alpini walking towards us, and as he sang loudly and stumbled a bit, it was obvious that he'd had a few drinks already. We gave him a wide berth, but he then started walking right towards me. Before I could step out of his way, this man literally walked into me and wrapped both arms tightly around my torso, pinning my arms to my side. He started singing again, swaying back and forth and kissing my neck and telling me how beautiful I was. The couple I was living with were mortified and tried to pry this guy's arms off me, but he was a happy drunk and didn't want to let go. My little Nonna (Italian grandma... about 4'11" and 100 pounds) was tugging on my hand and asking the guy to let me go. My Nonno (Italian grandpa, very loving but very protective) was trying to talk this guy into letting me go. After what seemed like an eternity, the man loosened his grip... but before I could squirm out of his arms, he kissed me several times on the neck and gave my bum a little smack. So here I was, a tall, strawberry blonde, green eyed American in Italy (aka I stood out like a sore thumb), and I was so overwhelmed by what had just happened that all I could do was laugh. My Nonni were just relieved that this guy finally let go of me, and once I stopped laughing, we continued toward the plaza. It wasn't but two minutes later that we entered the massive plaza and ran smack into a group of about fifteen young Alpini. These soldiers were my age (early twenties), and lemme tell ya, they were high on life! They were singing and laughing and having a good ol' time... and then they stopped when we came into the plaza. I've never felt more self-conscious in my life because they were staring at ME. A few of them actually pointed! I couldn't figure out why I was suddenly a specimen, but one brave soldier came up to me, put his arm around my shoulders, stuck his face just inches from mine, and said "Mamma mia! Che bell'occhi!" or "holy cow, what beautiful eyes!" My poor Nonni... they were standing close to me, making sure we didn't have another neck-kissing, bum-grabbing drunk man on our hands. But these young guys were awesome! I felt like a celebrity! Within seconds of the beautiful eye comment, I had guys surrounding me, wanting to take a picture with me and inviting me to spend the day with them. Between shouts of "you're so beautiful!" and "will you be my girlfriend?!", I was being yanked on one arm by these testosterone-filled Alpini while my Nonna held firm to my other arm. I was blushing and flustered and giddy that I'd had more male attention in the last 5 minutes than I'd had all my life (stupid American men...), and finally my sweet Nonno stepped in and invited the young soldiers to enjoy their day, as I would spend the rest of my day with my 'family'. I don't remember much else of what happened that day since I was on Cloud 9, and my Nonni kept having to reel me back to reality. We shopped, we saw some friends, we took pictures, we ate gelato, and after a few hours, we began the walk back to the car. As we were about to cross the plaza, two Alpini on a tandem bike came into view and it was clear that they were happily buzzed and singing at the top of their lungs. We were walking towards them, and as I watched them I realized that the soldier riding in front was also watching me. He steered the bike toward me and began singing loudly about "la Bella Bionda", the beautiful blonde. We had been walking in the middle of the street, so when the Alpini reached us, they began riding in circles around me and continued singing to me. Once again, I felt like a movie star. Remember, these are ITALIAN MEN literally falling at my feet. I thought I'd wake up from a beautiful dream at any moment, but it was very real! The Alpini sang loudly until their song was over, and as they rode away they both blew me a kiss. People who'd witnessed the scene began clapping and, for the umpteenth time that day, I blushed. My Nonna grabbed my hand, and in playful exasperation she scolded me and told me they would leave me at home next time. I could've died happy at that moment... I'd had men drooling over me all day and I never felt endangered. These men were not perverts hoping to get lucky. They were happy Italians who made this Americana feel like one lucky gal. Even the first drunk Alpini was non-threatening. He was just a happy drunk who had no concept of personal space and told a woman (while kissing her neck...) that she was beautiful. I will forever remember my introduction to the Alpini with fondness, and it's a story I will tell for the rest of my life. Even my Nonni remind me of 'that one time when the Alpini loved me.' I've not had an experience since that even comes close to making me feel the way I did that day. It still puts a smile on my face!




(Disclaimer: This post is not meant to offend or point fingers. I am stating what's on my mind (aka I'm venting) because I feel like I may not be the only one who feels this way.)

So, I live in Utah... "The Greatest Snow on Earth", "The Beehive State", "The Mormon Bubble", etc., etc. There are so many things I love about this place; the mountains, the awesome summers, the skiing, how close we live to the temple, and not to mention the incredible network of friends and family that we have so close to us. Utah is our home for now, and I will appreciate that. However, there is one thing about this great state that I do NOT appreciate, and that is stereotype. What I'm going to say might sound harsh to your ears, but please remember that these are my feelings. In a nutshell, I am not a blonde, size 4, gourmet cooking, interior decorating, quilt making, award-winning blogging Superperfectmom. Phew. There's my confession. And I am so SICK of the expectation that that is exactly what I should be. I've never before felt the pressure for perfection like I've felt here. And quite honestly, it boggles my mind that I feel inadequate sometimes when I'm surrounded by these Superperfectmoms, because I'm a great person! I constantly have to remind myself that not everyone speaks 3 languages or has served a mission or has a college degree or has traveled to 15 countries or is temple worthy. And before you judge, I am NOT bragging... I'm simply stating that I've done some pretty cool things with my life and I shouldn't feel inadequate just because I don't make bread from scratch! Why do I feel like, in order to 'fit in', I should not only look cute and fashionable all the time, but I should be a pro at everything? I should take my 24 hour day and feed the hungry, knit a sweater, cook an amazing meal for not only my family but the gal downstairs who just had a baby, run a 10k, teach my 20-month old how to read, maintain a perfectly clean, beautifully decorated house, read my scriptures for an hour, and invent some cute craft that I can sell on etsy and make enough money to support my mani/pedi obsession... right?


I am not a Superperfectmom, but I am a super mom. Not Supermom, just a super mom. And wife. I provide the emotional and (hopefully) spiritual support for my hard-working husband and sweet little boy. Sometimes the house is clean, sometimes it's not. Sometimes I'm really proud of my culinary creations, other times we enjoy grilled cheese and tomato soup. I don't sew, I don't scrapbook, I occasionally blog but I've never been published, I'm sure as heck not a size 4, my hair color is NATURAL, and I still wear the same clothes that I've had since 2005 (gasp!). Sometimes I'm tired and I let Gabe watch Dora the Explorer all morning, but he knows who Jesus is and he can say his prayers and point out the temple when we drive by it. He has an incredible vocabulary for a boy his age because we work diligently with him on communicating. I know that my husband and son feel loved because I tell them and show them all day long. I have to give myself some credit, because if I don't, my lack of stereotype will be the death of me. I'm learning to accept that I'm not that Superperfectmom, but with 1 in 5 Utah women on antidepressants, why would I want to be? I'm just me, take it or leave it.



a cute boy, a birthday present, and some fish

I feel like my life really isn't all that interesting to blog about. We stay busy, but it's the everyday stuff... Ross goes to work, Gabe and I play and read books and I try to teach him how to clean up his ENDLESS messes, I do some work for my dad and (try to) keep the house in order, and when Ross comes home we eat dinner and try to catch up on Modern Family. I know people who have kids blog about their kids, but I don't want to be one of 'those moms' that can only talk about the amazing achievements of her offspring. Don't get me wrong... Gabe is pretty much the most amazing kid I know and I love talking about him, but I can keep a conversation going without talking about him.

Anyway, our 2011 has been interesting so far. We've either been sick or, well, sick, and I finally had my tonsils out in January (I did NOT enjoy my birthday this year... it was spent in bed and in PAIN!). I can easily say that it was the WORST thing I've ever gone through. It's been almost 4 weeks since the surgery and I'm still not 100%. In fact, the doc says I'm a week behind most patients, with is due in part to my age. It's not an easy recovery for anyone, let alone a 27 year old (the recovery usually takes longer if you're not a kid). I still can't yawn or take more than 2-3 swallows of water at a time, but at least I can eat and talk, both of which were very difficult for a good 2 weeks. The doc accidentally knicked my uvula during the surgery and it's still swollen, but at least he didn't accidentally remove that too :) Ross has a severe sinus infection that spread to his ear (he spent Valentine's Day in bed sipping chamomile tea), and Gabe is recovering from a nasty virus that turned into a deep, lingering cough. And amidst all the germs, I've caught a yucky cold and am thinking of buying stock in Kleenex. We've gone through so many tissues in the last month, it's unbelievable. However, today was gorgeous and almost 60 degrees, and I did some deep cleaning and had all the windows open to air everything out. Hopefully the germs are gone and we can recover! I've never been so ready for Spring! We just need to move to Jamaica. That would solve all our health problems...

And now, on to the part most of you are probably looking for anyway: pictures! It's okay, I realize that most people don't read my ramblings and just look for the good stuff. So here it is...

Our old bookshelf was literally falling apart, so Ross got me a new one for my birthday. Thank you babes! I love it!

Gabe has 2 new roommates, Benny and Joon. Aren't they cute?!

What mom doesn't have a picture of a spaghetti-covered child? We had to scrub him to get the orange stain off his skin, but he loved making a mess.

Look at that face. Pure joy.

I let Gabe play one morning while I made breakfast, but realized I hadn't heard him for several minutes (doesn't your heart drop when that happens?). I walked into our bedroom and he was hanging out on our bed, playing the Animal Sounds game on my phone. Kids these days... technology is in their blood!

And again, a few minutes later. Still gaming...

Look at that cute face. This was right before bathtime, and he was just chillin on the recliner. I love those juicy little lips!
Time to take some Nyquil and read Vampire Academy:) I figure it was just a matter of time before my sister beat me over the head to get me to start reading them... (love you sizzle!).