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Espresso In My Suitcase

(by Sarina Alfarano)

I’m not able to remember the nine months I spent in my mom’s belly, but I'll bet I developed with a lot of pizza, pasta, and meatballs, and for sure espresso because I have a lot of energy. My name reveals my Italian heritage, but I was born and raised in Frankfort, Germany, where my parents immigrated in the 1980s because of work and better opportunities. Being Italian but growing up in Germany is kind of confusing. My Italian family is big and loud, the opposite of Germans who tend to be more private and circumspect.

My grandma cooked every day for her seven children and 16 grandchildren. During the summers that we spent in Italy, we had our own children’s table at her house. When we had to leave her juicy meatballs and homemade bread to drive back to Germany, it was heartbreaking, but my brother and I were squeezed in the car between packages of espresso, salami, and prosciutto, with enough homemade pasta and olive oil to feed us for the next three months. It felt like Grandma was sitting in the car.