Wednesday, March 28, 2018

A special birthday party for Flavia, an accomplished and elegant young lady


Today we feel especially blessed that we chose Montecarlo as our place of abode in Italy. One of the many reasons for this choice is that we would be near relatives, which would increase our chance of being included in social gatherings and assist in our integration into Italian society.

Elena, Flavia, Davide
That choice paid off in a big way yesterday evening, as we had the privilege of attending a big bash for the 18th birthday of Flavia Seghieri. Apparently, such grand parties are common here when children turn 18 and become recognized as adults.
Sergio and Silvana
The party included a multi-course dinner at the Poggio, live and recorded music, appropriate decorations and, of course, an elaborately decorated cake. We enjoyed sitting across Flavia’s grandparents Sergio and Silvana and next to four of our Seghieri relatives from France who came down for the celebration.

Seghieri cousins from France arrive at the festa.
It seems like only a couple of years ago that we attended Flavia’s 12th birthday party at her home in Marcucci. While it was obvious at the time that she was unusually poised for her age, last night we had a chance to see her with all her friends from school and her musical ensemble—a group of nearly 50 teenagers. She was radiant, polished, confident, beautiful. She moved from table to table, making sure everyone felt welcome and important. "This is my life," she said. "These are all people who are important in my life."

French tablemates Rose and Emilio.
In general, teenagers in Italy seem much more comfortable, friendly and accepting of each other than their counterparts in America. I taught in American high schools for 30 years, so I have some experience observing groups of young people. I think the difference is that Italian students stay with the same classmates for many years, and they also have more opportunities to interact in casual social settings. It could also have something to do with the small but generally stable families that emphasize rules of etiquette and civility.

Matteo, one of Flavia's friends, entertained on the drums.
In Flavia’s case, she is an only child, raised by parents Davide and Elena, who are exceptional in every way—and she lives next door to her grandparents, another special couple. She can speak French with her cousins from France and English with Lucy and me. She is an accomplished clarinetist who has received academic honors and recently won first place in a writing contest. It’s truly been a pleasure and honor to be welcomed into this warm Seghieri family.




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