Being from a big Italian family is a blessing and a curse. You hate to love em! Here are some experiences and lessons that will seem familiar to those who know what it's like to be surrounded by type A personalities all the time...
1. There's never any privacy
At every family event, you know that there is no escape. All 30 of you are cramped into one person's family room and kitchen basically sitting on each other's laps. You probably have had to sit on the floor a couple of times, when you hosted, you probably tried to hide in your room until one of your relatives came to put their coat down or something... having some alone time in an Italian family- well- it just doesn't exist.
2. Everyone has their own opinion and thinks their's is the best
Forget trying to have a civilized conversation about ANYTHING remotely controversial. If your opinions are different than some of your family members, it's best to just keep them to yourself... you love them and they love you, but there's no such thing as respecting each other's ideas in a heated discussion.
3. Family comes first-no matter what
It doesn't matter how far away you live. You will be there for every cousin's birthday, graduation, wedding. Every family reunion, anniversary, funeral, you name it. Family takes the main priority. Always.
4. Do NOT disrespect your elders
They know best. Their legacy brought you to this Earth. Italian families make it very clear that you must respect your older relatives, and acknowledge all they've done for you. You'll probably get sick and tired of hearing your ancestors' immigration story or how your grandparents grew up so much differently than you did, but ultimately they're just trying to love and educate us.
5. Wine is the best thing for you!
It's at every Italian event. It's probably everyone in your family's preferred drink. Italians who drink too much of.. well, that's a whooollleee different article. A blessing and a curse, I've found that wine brings out the best in your crazy Italian family members.
6. Keeping track of cousins is a challenge
You have to keep track of the cousins on your mom's side, and your dad's side. You have to remember the names of your parents' first and second cousins, you should probably know your grandparents' brothers and sisters and oh! Don't forget! Soon your cousins will be having their own children that you'll have to remember all the names and locations and accomplishments of too!
7. Sundays are the best days
Sundays are the best days. It's when your family comes together to eat pasta, catch up on each other (even though you basically know everything already), drink wine, gossip about your other family and just have a grand old time.
8. You probably know how to make some form of Italian dish
Whether it's Italian sausage, homemade gnocchi, pastina, or garlic bread, learning how to cook delicious food is a huge plus to being Italian. Learning old family recipes and getting to know them and pass them on when you have kids is sooo special.
9. Just say "yes" when someone offers you food or drink... Mangia!
I mean most of the time we're not complaining about this one, but I'm sorry sometimes having an antipasto, appetizers, 3 different kinds of pasta and meat for dinner, then dessert is a lot? But we've learned there's no use in telling someone "no" in an Italian family when they are literally trying to shove a cannoli down your throat.
10. Knot cookies were the highlight of your Christmas
If you're Italian, you know that these puppies are all you eat during the holiday season. Whether your family makes them traditionally with lemon or just loads them up with sugar and sprinkles, they are at every family event, you've probably made them before, and you might even still have some freezing in your backup freezer for whenever you get hungry;)
11. You are aware of the correct pronunciations of words such as "mozzarella"
None of this "Mar-e-narah" or "tor-dell-ini" crap. True Italians and true Italians only know that mozzarell is really muzzerel and sauce is gravy. Also, don't piss us off because we have generations worth of Italian cursing slang that we could throw at you and you would have no idea what it meant!