1. Trick-or-Treating in a land of trick-or-treat experts.
For the past 5 years, we had to create our own Halloween in Italy. Sure, the shops were festooned with jack-o-lanterns and witches, but that's where all the orange and black fun ended. No one actually carves pumpkins or goes trick-or-treating. All the costume fun comes later, during Carnivale.
We started a trick-or-treating tradition with our neighbors, but we had to buy the candy ahead of time, put it into small bags and tie the bags to their doorknobs. That way our kids would get candy even if the neighbors weren't home. And most weren't, because why should they be at 7:30pm, when most people are just getting off work? This year, it was so nice to go door to door and get free candy. For the kids, or course...it all went to the kids.
The most common kind of trees in Trieste seemed to be pine trees. There were other kinds whose names escape me, but very few turned color in the fall. Those who did were beautiful, but their hues were mild, understated. The fall colors here on the east coast of the U.S. took my breath away.
My Italian relatives have all seen the traditional Turkey-Day dinner in American movies, of course, so they were all excited when the end of November rolled around. This meant that Natalie had to prepare the turkey and all the fixin's herself. Everyone worked on Thanksgiving, so they all showed up right before dinner was served. Italian table manners dictate that you must dive in as soon as the food is set before you (a sign of respect for the food and the cook, because who wants to eat cold food?). No matter how much I planned, I was always slow on the gravy uptake, and my in-laws would inevitably finish the dinner while I was out in the kitchen stirring up the gravy. This meant more gravy for me, however, so it wasn't all bad.
This year we went to my parents' house, and my mom was in charge of the dinner. She would tell my sister and I when to stir this, how much butter we needed to add to that, which we dutifully did while the three of us chatted away. I loved it.
Hope everyone had a peaceful, happy Thanksgiving!