Last week we wrote an article about Why we love Retrosaria, based in Lisbon, Portugal. I thought it would be fun to give a little background about my connection to Portugal and how Portuguese culture is an intrinsic part of my life.
My Nana Louise.
I was born and raised in Haleiwa, HI, on the North Shore of Oahu. Hawaii is a melting pot of cultures, in the mid to late 1800's families from different parts of the world moved to the islands to work in the sugar cane plantations. My Grandpa's family arrived from Japan in 1918 and my Nana's family arrived from Portugal in 1913.
My Nana, Louise, the youngest of nine children, was born in Hawaii. My Great Aunty Laura (Dolores as is written on her birth certificate) was the oldest of the siblings and she and her three brothers and one other sister were born in Serpa, in the Alentejo Region of Portugal.
A drawing of my Great Grandfather Antonio Felix and my Great Aunty Laura (Dolores) .
My Great Aunty Laura (Dolores) whom my sister was named after.
Growing up my cousins and I would spend our summer days at my Nana and Grandpa's house while our parents worked. I have memories of her yelling at us to stop going in and out of the house ( we were letting the flies in) while she prepared her Bacalhau (salted cod fish). Food is very important in my family and there was always a blend of Portuguese, Japanese and Hawaiian food during holiday meals. When I go back to Hawaii to visit my family I always fill up on Malasadas, Portuguese donuts.
My Dad and Mom have visited Portugal many times and have eaten their way through the country. They visit the Alentejo region, which is known for their olives, cork, sheep cheese, black pigs and wine. They also spent time researching our family genealogy and found baptismal records of our family from one of the churches in Serpa and even met up with some distant relatives that live in Serpa.
My Dad and his two sisters visiting with Jose and Ana Vilao, a distant relative in Serpa.
Having Retrosaria yarn at Tolt and knitting with it is very special to me. I feel connected to my roots like I do when eating Portuguese food. I hope to one day visit Portugal and Rosa Pomar of Retrosaria and spend some time learning the history of Portuguese knitting and sheep farming.
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