Most Memorable Memories in Life Were Once a Crazy Random Happenstance

A few months ago, I wrote a post about some of my favorite “things” (which were actually more like memories).   Most of these things were not planned, they kind of just happened.  I feel like sometimes someone pushes us to go somewhere because that is where we are supposed to be.  A couple months later, I wrote a post about opening myself up to more unexpected opportunities that could turn into these types of memories.  (P.S. Links to both of those posts are contained within the text!)  I would like to update and expand on both these posts to show that I am somewhat, slowly but surely, allowing myself to take such opportunities.

I would  like to add to my list of favorite memories the Bikini Laser Tag Rave (yes you read that correctly) I attended because I happened to accept a free ticket to a Tampa Bay Storm Game where one of my friends happened to be reading a newspaper that had an article for an event happening the following night which I just happened to have off.  I had always wanted to attend a rave since high school, and this was a good, clean opportunity to do so.  And it was a blast.  I danced until dawn, made new friends, got a free photo shoot, and listened to some great music.  I would also like to add to my favorites list my two recent trips to Daytona.  Both were fairly random and last minute and ended up being tons of fun!  First was the Daytona 500 in February, which I would never have thought to go to until I won tickets and had a blast (and met Brad Paisley).  Second was a mini beach vacation with a friend that seemed to be just what the doctor ordered to add new life to my other wise busy schedule and just happened to fall on my two days off.  So yes, late night road trips, drinking all day, and good music with family and friends.  Sounds like a winning combination to me!

The moral of this post, and a few of my others, is that you never know what life has waiting around the corner.  You can plan all the trips you want, but, at the end of the day, the most memorable ones are the ones you weren’t expecting.  I figure I get particular days off for a reason, meet particular people for a reason, and end up in particular places for a reason.  I may not yet know that reason, but I’m pretty sure part of it is to have fun and enjoy life!

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What’s in A Name? (Not Israel!)

I went to Torah Study last night and like many times before, the Twelve Tribes of Israel came up.  People were mentioning which tribe they were descended from and I was wondering how one would determine this? So I started to do some research….

It seems that the simplest was to claim a tribe is based on where you are from. The United States/North American is mostly descendants of Manasseh. Which works fine for the part of me that is Native American, but the rest only came to the United States in the past century or so.

So I tried to see who came from Italy. But there really is no tribe associated to Italy or any of southern Europe really. Perhaps this is because it was the home of the biggest Pagan empires: The Greeks and Romans.  The closest I could find was Reuben, whose descendants are from Northern France.  So they suggested that by looking into the heraldry of your name and coat of arms (this is much easier to do if you are from England, Ireland, Scotland, or Wales, by the way) that you could associate the symbols of your family heraldry to that of one of the tribes. So I started researching my name, which I’ve never really done. I’ve tried to research my direct ancestors, but never my name in general.

One article I came across said how much of the the area my family comes from (Reggio di Calabria) was actually destroyed by Mt. Etna on my birthday in 1908! Which is funny because this is shortly before my great grandparents were born and would have moved to the states!  I also learned that before that our descendants came from nearby Krotonas, Greece and settled Crotone and Cotronei, Italy (notice the similarity in the spelling!).  Cotronei would be the plural of Cotroneo, meaning everyone in that city is a Cotroneo!

But I digress.  I failed to find a picture of the Cotroneo or any similar name coat of arms anywhere online for free. So I decided to look up the Calabrese flag.  It’s a knight on horseback  killing a dragon next to a person praying.  Not very useful in relating to the tribes.  Another flag shows a crown over a sheild with four poles and two equilateral crosses all surrounded by an olive wreath.  Olive wreath shows promise.  Still another flag shows a tree, two equilateral crosses and a stone pillar- perhaps slightly more useful.  What about Napoli?  A black mustang on a yellow background- useful still.  Finally there’s the Sicilian flag featuring the trinacria (which funnily enough looks like a three legged swastika) and the head of medusa.  Fairly certain none of the tribes of Israel used a swastika.  One thing these flags all had in common is that they were on red and yellow backgrounds.

Still none of this helps. I’m pretty sure my family was straight up pagan.  Further research shows that while their are some Levite descendants in Northern Italy, most Italians are not of Israelite descent and are in fact descendants of Greeks, Canaanite and Edomites (the arch-enemy of Israel).  It is possible that through migrations and mixes of Greeks, French and Arabs that all occupied Sicily at one point I could be descended from any one of these lost tribes or none.  I could go through my mother’s genealogy, but it is such a mix (Irish, German, Native American and Bohemian) that I could still belong to any one of the tribes.  Alas, this brings us to the second option- associating oneself with whichever tribe whose characteristics you share.  This is the Israeli personality test!

So, upon some semi-extensive research and the creation of a rough little chart of positive and negative qualities, I can most relate to Reuben (emotional, empathetic, independent perfectionists), Nephtali (faithful, modest, reliable, musical, and needing a partner), or Issachar (intellectual, hard-working, lacking common sense, down to earth, pleasure seeking, know-it-alls with dominant women-folk).

So at the end of the day I really didn’t find the answer to the question I originally sought.  But I did learn that you can’t define yourself just by your name.  And I did learn some interesting things about the dispersions of ancient peoples, the migrations of peoples and the development of cultures and languages. And I also found interesting links between things like the 12 tribes of Israel and the 12 signs of the zodiac or the 12 birthstones and the 12 stones of the breastplate.  I suppose anything throughout history can be tied to anything else in history or in religion or culture.  It’s all about symbolism and at the end of the day a picture is worth a thousand words.  If I knew what to do with it, I would go back to school and study symbolism, just because it is so deep and fascinating.

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