My first trip to Sicily in 1996, pictured, changed my life. When I met my cousins Evelina (Big), Francesca, Evelina (Jr.), and Filippo (not pictured), who were in my age group, my perspective of the world changed. Evelina (on my right) is six months younger than me. We didn’t meet until we were in our 20s, yet our inherent connection was profound–and still is. Our grandmothers were sisters and as close as sisters can be for one having immigrated to America and the other having lived her entire life in Bagheria, Sicily.
Meeting my Sicilian cousins presented me with a different kind of mirror, one that reflected back to me how different, yet similar our lives were. Until that meeting, I knew next to nothing about them. Today, I feel so fortunate to see them often, and we know each other well, and meanwhile, that same mirror continues to provoke my perspectives and ideas about the world in a very positive way.