June 19, 2012

Who am I?

Sometimes it seems to be that our online life began with Facebook and no one knows about anything before.

As time flies, it is easy to forget.

I have been living in Italy since 1984 and teaching cooking since 1988. In my previous life, pre-Italy, I worked for 7 years in a 5 star hotel in San Francisco, The Stanford Court.

I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to work with Jim Dodge as a pastry chef for a couple of years before I left.

 When I did leave, I bought a one-day ticket to Europe. I wanted one more trip before I settled down in the wine country. I had decided to move north and open my own little pastry business in Sonoma.


My gypsy blood got the best of me.


My first trip to Europe was in 1973 they year after I graduated from high school. Actually it was during the first semester of my sophomore year. I was lucky enough to have fabulous professors that realized the value of travelling.

I spent 5 weeks, seeing all the art I had studied in books. I was a studio art major. I did ceramics, photography and soft sculpture.

I was never the same again.

But, it was part of my DNA

This foto is of my grandparents.

My grandfather was born in Soisson, south of Paris, France of a English mother and a Turkish father.
Not sure how, but he moved to American with his mother, after going to grammer school in Istanbul, and joined the American Army and became American and was sent to Shanghai.

My grandmother was born in Tblisi, Georgia, Russia, with her family they moved to Harbin and then to Shanghai, where they met and fell in love in Shanghai in the early 1900's.

My mom was raised in Shanghai until they left before the communists took over in the 40's.

They moved to America and that is part of my DNA.

I tried several times to live in Paris, searching for my "roots" sort of. Perhaps I was looking in the wrong place.

I took multiple long trips to Europe over the years, including a 9 month Mediterranean stay between Greece and Israel, pre peace treaty in the late 70's.

We are what we eat, but also where we have been.
My life was never the same after my first trip to Europe.

Now almost 30 years later, I wish I had a better memory or took more foto's.
Today everything is online.

I am heading home this summer and will be digging through the family albums, which I started to do when my mom died last June.

I hope I also find some of my foto's to help remember.

I was flipping through my Flkr albums online and need to also go through my external hard drive to look through the foto's from the past which are digital.

Then will see where I put all the real foto's and try to scan them in too.

Who knows what has been lost in computer crashes too?

Maybe I can piece it all together.

Visiting Istanbul is on my bucket list, hope to get there this year. I want to see if we have any information on my grandfather. I think he lost everything except a foto in flash flood in America.
But will be fun to see if I can put together some of the puzzle.


  1. Anonymous2:20 AM

    What a nice tribute to a life well lived, with more living yet to come! Family research is very good way to feel connected.

  2. how I love the intracicies of genealogy! I am a great one for strolling through cemeteries looking for my family names. If only I could discover who was the firsy Este to leave the Lago de Como area....and why would he leave and go to Scotland!
    I hope you make it to Turkey soon!

  3. What a wonderful post! I so enjoy learning about you, and the photo is wonderful. But The Stanford Court! Oh my! I had no idea! Jim Dodge! Oh Judy, I just wore his books out. I am so pleased to know you worked with him. What a master, and I do not know how he was to work with, but he seemed like quite a gentleman. Thanks for the insight in to you.

  4. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.