As a young teen growing up in her hometown of Pesaro, Italy on the Mediterranean Coast, Camilla Berti always liked watching the Disney TV show "The Sleepover Club."
So when she arrived in Marietta to spend a year as an exchange student at Marietta High School, she was pining to have a slumber party of her own.
In Italy, a sleepover happens when girls go out together and end up at a friend's house to sleep. There might not be tons of food, games and giggling as is the American tradition.
Photo by submission
Camilla Berti, Italian exchange student at Marietta High School, left, enjoys a birthday slumber party last Saturday with fellow exchange students Molly Josefsson of Sweden, Mari Kirsti Kaaen of Norway, Micaela Avero of Argentina and Antonia Kubeneck of Germany.
"It's just to sleep, not to watch movies," said Berti.
There was sleeping -eventually-at the sleepover that Berti's host parents, Stassa and Jay Phillips of Marietta, threw for her last Saturday in honor of her 17th birthday, which was Aug. 23.
Berti, her host family and eight exchange student friends arrived at the Phillips' welcoming 19th-century home on Washington Street about 8:30 p.m.
As the sleepover began, Berti and friends trekked upstairs to the comfy, casual and over sized attic bedroom on the top floor of the Phillips home.
Dropping flip flops, pillows and sleeping bags on the bedroom floor, the girls settled in for Berti's introduction to the great American sleepover.
Slumber parties are a rite of passage for the majority of U.S. girls and part of American pop culture.
In 1965 Mattel even introduced the "Slumber Party Barbie."
And think of Rizzo belting out "Look at Me, I'm Sandra Dee" at a Pink Ladies' sleepover in the movie "Grease."
Or there are the mean-girl slumber parties on the TV shows "Beverly Hills, 90210" and "Gossip Girl."
Then there's Jack Lemmon in the cinema classic "Some Like It Hot." In his female disguise as Geraldine, he hopes for quality time with sexy Sugar Kane (played by vampy Marilyn Monroe).
Lemmon's hopes are dashed when a gaggle of boisterous girls joins in for a memorable pajama party.
Berti's sleepover included the equally-memorable movie "The Notebook" and a rousing round of the board game Apples to Apples.
In between, the girls noshed on tortilla chips and salsa.
"I don't like spicy food," declared Berti. Instead, her salsa choice was pineapple.
Then there were the Oreo cookies, a true icon of American pop culture.
With impressive restraint, Berti didn't pop her first Oreo in her mouth.
Twisting the two chocolate parts of the cookie in opposite directions, Berti enjoyed eating what she called "the white part."
As the touching, tear-jerking movie came to an end, Berti's eyes remained dry but not those of her friend Micaela Avero, an exchange student from Germany.
Every good birthday pajama party needs a special birthday cake.
Berti's was an ice cream cake extravaganza. Showing her growing fondness for American sweets, she gushed over the cake.
"I liked everything about it, especially the green and white 'Happy Birthday' writing," said Berti.
As the wee hours of Sunday morning rolled around, Stassa Phillips, sneaked upstairs to check on the girls.
"They were up until 2 in the morning," Stassa laughingly remembered.