We were 1,000 miles above the Atlantic Ocean on our way to Rome, Italy. Inside I felt like a hot mess of nervousness because the next day we were going to Priverno a small town in Italy about 60 miles south of Rome to see our distant relatives.

“Sweetie, wake up, it’s time to go to Priverno.” It was mom. It was around 7 a.m. I was as tired as a hibernating bear because in Italy there is a 6-hour time difference from home in Royal Oak, MI. “Do I have to wake up now?” I groaned. “We don’t want to miss the train,” mom said. “Fine,” I replied. 

A couple of hours later we walked into the train station. All I could see was people! Well, not all I could see. It was so crowded in there! Soon after, we managed to squeeze our way out of the crowd, finally seeing the trains. They were gigantic! I was amazed.

When we stepped off the train it was a whole different world. We were off the dirty streets of the big city of Rome and were on the beautiful streets of the small city, Priverno. It was so beautiful I felt like time had stopped! When time started again two random people we never met before ran up and hugged us so tight we could barely breathe. They were named Maria Ida and Achille. 

About a half hour later we arrived at the house and we saw Maria Ida’s dogs. They were as cute as pie.

I felt like a movie star as I walked through the red velvet curtain in the doorway and as I walked up the stairs I thought to myself, what are they going to look like? Are they going to speak English? My head was filled with so many questions that I couldn’t focus. As Maria Ida opened the door I couldn’t see straight. I heard a lot of greetings then everything was clear. People look so different from home, I thought to myself. 

The questions I asked myself earlier were answered immediately. Only two people spoke English and Maria Ida was one of them. The other was Antonio, the father of Osvaldo, who Anthony (my brother) was attached to. Osvaldo was not there yet. I felt like I had to say Olivia about 50 times because it was so noisy no one heard me. Everybody in Italy gives a kiss on one cheek then the other, then the first one again. 

We sat down at the kitchen table and watched them cook. We felt so awkward just sitting there watching them cook lunch that my mom even offered to help, but they refused. Once everybody was finished cooking they placed everything on the table and sat down with us. Then Osvaldo came and everybody started having their own little conversations. 

What they made for lunch was lasagna. It was my first time trying lasagna and it was delicious. Since my mom is a vegetarian they made vegetarian lasagna as well as regular lasagna.  Everybody got served one piece, but my dad got served two.

After lunch, we toured the city and saw the house that my great-great-grandpa grew up in. Next we got the most delicious gelato I have ever had. After gelato, they took us back to the train station and we waited for the train to come.

Once the train came we gave everybody a big hug goodbye and stepped on to the train. I was sad that we had to go, but we could only stay for the day. “I had a really great time,” I said to my dad. “Me too,” he replied with a smile. We all rode back to the dirty streets of the big city, Rome, with a smile on our faces.