My Nona's Big Fat Italian Birthday Party!

Hi everyone! Had a busy couple of days! I worked all day yesterday, then went to see the movie "Juno" with Diana and her mom and younger sister, then hung out at Diana's house and spent the night, and then this morning I went to my Nona's 75th birthday party!
My mom totally tricked me into going. I usually get really nervous about family gatherings because I just have trouble being around a lot of people, and I am always embarrassed if I'm going to be around additional people who I don't know well but who are connected to my family in some way. First of all everyone assumes I am still in high school, or they mix me up with my younger cousin Jessica who is 19 and is away at college like a regular kid. Then, when I admit how old I actually am, first we have to do the, "Oh my God, you're how old?" routine, and then field all sorts of questions like Where do I live, am I married, to I have children, what is my career, why am I still in college... bleh. Plus I am just generally uncomfortable in social situations. My idea of a good time is exactly what I did last night... going out and doing something with a few very close friends, or just hanging out at home with friends and family members. Maybe going out to a small local bar once in a while. Nightclubs and cocktail parties are very overwhelming for me, and even large family gatherings can be tough! I just never know what to do, where to stand, what to say... and when it is noisy, I cannot understand what anyone is saying, making me even more nervous!
So I had asked my mom who was going to be at the party, and she said, "Just us... you know, family." Which would mean the usual crew: my Nona and Bopop, two uncles, one aunt, all their spouses, two teenage cousins (except for when the older one is still away at college) and three cousins who are small children.
Later my mom added, "Plus Auntie Etta." (MY great-aunt.) Okay, cool. "Plus Uncle Leo and Aunt Harriet. (My great uncle and stepaunt.) Cool, cool... I really don't see them very much at all anymore, so that might be nice, right?
"And the Pillars." (My Nona and Bopop's former neighbors.) Okaaaay.
"Plus like twelve of their neighbors and friends."
So it wasn't really a small gathering, and my nervousness doubled... but it actually turned out rather well. I sat by my one uncle and his toddler son (his wife couldn't come) and two of my grandparents' neighbors. I did pretty good at conversing with my grandparent's neighbors. The fact that my little cousins were there probably helped a lot, because I am always more like my regular, relaxed self when I am around little kids. I conversed with my grandparents' neighbors about how smart my one little cousin was (he's usually very shy, but he's extremely bright, and today he was talking up a storm!) and then moved on to other topics, like my job, and the fact that my grandparents' neighbors often spy on me out their window when I go to visit my grandparents, and that they admired the colorful tights I wore on Christmas.
(See, I'm not just paranoid! People are watching me!!!!)
And, dude, there was so much food there! First there was bread, and then soup, and then salad. Then the main course, which I didn't actually eat much of, because I was already full from my bread, soup and salad! Then spumoni ice cream, and then giant slices of cake! By the end, I thought I would pop!
It wasn't even Italian food... the party was at my Nona's favorite restaurant, a sea food restaurant... but I guess it doesn't matter what kind of food is served! Italian people just know how to pack it away!
At any rate, except for having to work on Saturday, I would say this weekend was close to perfect!


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