Originally, I was looking for a translator in southern Italy. I had contacted the University in Cosenza Language Department, posted on several message boards, and to no avail.
Mirella contacted me offering her services, and we decided that it made more sense for her to do research on our Grandmother’s side. Our Grandmother was from a small town by the name of Serra Pedace in the Calabria region.
It was doubly confusing because several families (including our Grandparents) in that small town have the same last name, but are unrelated. Not speaking Italian, I am not sure we would have ever figured it out. Not to mention that the village is so small that the public records offices are not open during regular hours, and so who do you call? Mirella figured it all out, and kept us informed each step of the discovery. It was exciting!
Mirella returned all e-mails. Even clarifying, or researching travel options in the south. Her services far exceeded what we paid for. She was tremendously helpful. Her English is flawless as are her communication skills. And she understood the importance of our journey, had such respect for the cultural differences.
She provided the documents for us to explain how we were related, called the family ahead of time to let them know when we were coming. She was in constant contact with us as we traveled through Italy until we actually met our relatives. And then followed up afterwards.
The family history is a bit sad, as my Grandmother died when our father was 4 years old. He longed to meet his relatives in Italy. After several trips there, he was able to find his father’s family, but not his mother’s. This was a life-long dream. His dream, and then ours.
Mirella called our family in Serra Pedace to let them know we would be coming. I cannot even describe – their warmth. It was everything we imagined and more. It was so much fun meeting them. Amazing the similarities – even with the language barrier. We had coffee with them, and then to the cemetery, then to dinner. It was a whirlwind. They begged us to stay longer, promised to stay in touch and pressured us for a return date. The day we left, they took us to the train station and waited until the train actually left the station – blowing kisses.
None of this would have been possible without Mirella’s services. I am grateful for the services provided, but also for her understanding. She has a great attitude and a joy to work with.