2001 | Florence, Italy | Age: 26
Federico: The pope has come!
Alessia: He says that because I never take out this set. My grandmother served us tea in it when we were little. It’s Richard-Ginori porcelain. My grandparents were farmers, and when you live in the countryside, you don’t have fine things. This bone china was considered a fine thing. I don’t know how they came to own this set. I never use it now because I’m afraid to break it, but she didn’t worry about us kids breaking such an expensive, special set. And you know, we never broke any of the pieces. For me, it’s just a memory of my childhood at my grandmother’s house. She used to make this very watery, light tea with a lot of sugar. I loved it. Every time my mother would make real tea, I’d say, “I don’t like it! I want it like nonna’s!” By the way, my grandmother is still alive. I’m speaking about her like she’s dead!
I came here in 2001 for a 3 month “life break,” a little time off. I was 26, and I had quit my “safe” job back home in Florence. I came to New York to find myself. Instead, I found Federico. That explains a lot of my character in a way. I’m not made to be alone. I envy people who can be alone. That first time, I took with me this image of the Virgin Mary that my grandfather had given me. He was very religious, and he wrote a message on the back. I hoped that it would protect me during my stay here. And, I’m still here!
I met Federico at a friend’s Christmas party, but I only had the 3 months. After 2 weeks of dating, I moved in with him. I didn’t have many things. I only had a dresser that he helped me buy from Ikea. Then I had to return to Italy, but I knew that I’d come back here. Federico came to visit me in the summer. In August he proposed. On November 1 we got married here at City Hall. A year later we had a beautiful wedding in Italy.
On the way to the U.S. after the wedding, I cried the entire flight. I thought that was it; I wasn’t going to go back and forth anymore. We had drafted a contract in which we agreed to move to Italy later, but it hasn’t been honored yet. But it was then that I knew that something had changed. And that’s when I brought this set with me.