Enza Is Here!

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She made it!

I texted Enza’s daughter, Mirella, almost all night long – both of us with our respective versions of Google Translate open, trading information from Sicily to the USA via texting.  Enza was traveling with her granddaughter’s (Mirella’s daughter’s) school trip to the USA. First there was a strike, which led to a cancelled flight.  Then the new flight missed its connection in London, so they got stuck there and had to spend the night (thankfully in a hotel).  Then an earthquake this morning in London.  Wow!  But they finally made it!

Frank and I nervously waited at the rendezvous spot – the Midtown Hilton – where the school group is staying.  They are part of 2500 high-schoolers from around the world participating in the Model UN program.  Very cool. 

They sent us this picture as they left JFK Airport for Manhattan.  They were getting closer!

Then Lady Enza made her entrance, looking perfectly coiffed.

This is Gaia, Enza’s granddaughter, one of the Model UN participants.

We also met all the teachers and students.

Then we headed for pranzo (lunch) at the Stardust Diner for Enza’s first glimpse of New York City.  This is the diner on Broadway where the waitstaff sings.  They even sang “Time to Say Goodbye” in Italian (from Phantom) just for Enza.

We’re in for a fabulous few weeks, I can tell.  Come along with us!

Enza is on her way!

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I received a very excited text last night as Frank and I were going to bed.  It was 4:30 am Sicily time (10:30 EST) and she was up and waiting for her son and son-in-law, Salvio and Benedetto, to take her to the airport in Catania, about 2 hours away.  She would be flying over with her granndaughter’s school group, connecting in Amsterdam, and then would see us in America!

Frank’s cousin, Enza, from Sicily arrives tonight!  We think. 

Then around 10 am, I got a text that she was just leaving Catania and going to London and then would see us in America! 

Hmmm . . . Was she just confused? 

I texted her daughter, Mirella.  Turns out there is a strike in Sicily, so the flight was cancelled and the school group broken up on different planes.  As we speak, Enza is on a plane to Milan, which will connect to a flight to London, which will eventually end up (we hope) in New York around midnight tonight.  And she is no longer with her granddaughter, but is with 2 professors and 20 other students.  Of course, all of these texts are in Italian.  Apparently the final flight to NYC is a little up in the air (no pun intended!), so we still don’t have a flight number or airline.   

In the meantime, Mirella sent the above picture of Enza at the airport this morning.  Frank and I had warned her it was cold in New York so bring a coat.

So the adventure begins – stay tuned to find out if we actually find Enza in the big city of New York!

La Nostra Cugina Siciliana – Enza!

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We are reviving the blog because we have a very special visitor who is about to arrive – Frank’s cousin from Sicily, Enza!

You may remember Enza from our trips to Sicily before.  She took us all around Canicatti, Frank’s mother’s town (where Enza lives). And we had so much fun that she traveled with us to Siracusa and Taormina.

Enza is Frank’s first cousin.  Her father is the brother who traveled to Naples with Frank’s 16-year old mother so that she could embark on a ship to the New World. 

Enza, who can be quite a character, sent me a Facebook message last fall with an idea – her granddaughter’s school group was coming to the USA in February.  If she stowed away with them, could we pick her up?  She’d stay with us for a month, and then we’d deliver her back to Sicily.  What did we think? 

This proposal was all in Italian.  Facebook does have a “translate” feature, but I entered her message into Google Translate to make sure I’d gotten that right.  We were to pick her up somewhere in the United States – in February – and deliver her a month later back to Sicily? 

It sounded a little crazy, even for Sicilians!  So I emailed back to confirm that I understood – and she said it was her dream to visit “her beloved cousin in America.”  That clinched it. Frank and I looked at each other, shook our heads with a smile, and decided to jump right in.

And that is how we ended up on a train to New York City with our Italian flashcards in hand – to pick up Enza Tuesday night as she flies into JFK for a month. 

Come along for our wild ride!  We promise it will be an avventura!