An Italian New Year’s and a European Resolution

An Italian New Year’s and a European Resolution


Last night I had an amazing Italian New Year, joining the Gissara Famiglia with their other friends and family similar to Christmas dinner with a night beginning at 8pm and going into the wee hours of the morning.

It was nice to see how much thought goes into creating a great celebration of the New Year, it see that it’s not all about drinking and having an excuse to make bad decisions and watch the ball drop, but to really take in your loved ones around you and appreciate the good tidings of the year. It was also nice to see that no one was on Instagram or attached to their phones (only when making plans) and just eating, drinking, playing songs on the guitar, singing dancing and living happily.


The kids table

New Year Dinner- just as big as Christmas with a special Spanish rice first course

New Year Dinner- just as big as Christmas with a special Spanish rice first course

When the countdown began everyone started hugging and doing the whole European cheek kisses to everyone, which is still an amazing foreign concept to me.

The cheek kisses itself relinquish this awkward barrier of space and distance we keep from people. It’s like, hey I just met you, come into my personal space, you are invited and welcome (also reflecting the warm culture).

Afterwards, Mario, one of the older gentlemen brought out his guitar and we were singing Italian songs and older American songs from The Beatles and Elvis.

Everything in my life is starting to make sense.


It is such a reflection to see all of the older men singing, “I did it my way,” by Elvis Presley around a dinner table with food and alcohol, laughing hysterically because it clearly replicates the Bornancin brothers in my famiglia. My dad, David, Tony, Gary and Denny are the loudest bunch in town and it’s so amazing to see how so much of how I grew up and just traditions and concepts have such a direct line to the Sicician world.


Around 12:30am-1am the younger twenty-somethings headed out to this hotel where they were hosting a disco- New Year’s celebration. You had to pay $25 Euros and have tickets in advance which I did not plan for, but was extremely fortunate that the family I am staying with ended up knowing the owners made some special exceptions. My Italian friends were joking that I now not only stood out as the American, but perhaps the “famous American” who could get into clubs. (It also didn’t help that I was the ONLY one not wearing black- rocking my bright red dress, I figured, red for the New Year?)

The place was an open bar, to which was a SHOCK to me. An open bar to Americans would just be a crazy mess, luckily Europeans are much more mature about their alcoholic intake, at least at the beginning of the night ;)



We started drinking, dancing and I met more Italians and was introduced to probably the only other fluent English speaker in the place, an Australian named Anthony who was a cousin of one of the friends’ friends I was with. (Everyone’s starting to mesh together in my brain.) It was so refreshing to be able to have in-depth conversations with him about our experiences abroad quite comical to see how we were both observing the culture as the sole outsiders until that moment.

Everyone kept coming up to us asking if we were “okay” which is quite common here I’ve noticed and we laughed how up-front everyone is, with his cousin saying, “Do you like this girl? Do you like him? He’s beautiful, yes?” haha, to which was fun to see both of our foreign responses.

In that whole process Anthony brought up a very good point. Europeans are what Australians (coming from an Australian) and Americans are not – HONEST.

They are straight up with their emotions. They leave nothing off the table. If they like someone, they make it known to everyone and then pursue immediately. If they have a problem with you, they tell you right away instead of tip-toeing around hiding their feelings. If you don’t like something like their cooking or something, it’s okay. By just saying, oh, I prefer this over that, opens up a whole window of- OF COURSE, no worries.

A good term for this in English I would say – BALLSY. In Italian, I would say, “Non preoccupanti” – don’t worry about it.

An Italian New Year’s Resolution

As most are reflecting on the 2013 at this point and their goals for 2014, I’ve come to realize a huge lesson that I want to take with me in the new year.

Italians have taught me that life is an adventure and that you can truly choose to live it however you please. It really doesn’t matter what is the “typical” way of doing things, what American’s deem as acceptable or unacceptable. If you want to go to Asia, go to Asia. If you want to fall in love, fall in love. If you want to become a football player, become a football player.

They are ballsy and fearless and I just love it and want to live my life like that.


I’ve also realized that I am starting to become the person I’ve always wanted to become- starting to form habits I’ve always talked about and never actually did, starting to truly take everything and everyone in and live intentionally.

I’ve realized that not one thing is more important in your life than another. To focus your whole life on your career and all of your days, you are leaving no room for family, enjoyment and the mysterious of God to let loose into your heart.

The one lesson that I want to take with me into the New Year and encourage you to reflect on is that

  You can’t create the future without living in the present.

And life is too short to not be ballsy.

Last night I expressed that Americans are always wanting answers and everything explained to them before making the next step. They are always asking why. While Europeans on the other hand are always asking, “Why not?”

Let’s make this year about the “Why not?”

Salute from across the globe and a Happy New Year to you all, make it one worth remembering, but let’s not think too much about our decisions that we don’t actually do them. :)



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