Spring in Italy

18 Apr

CCFAD4BF-0F8D-498E-8F4E-00DBD3F309C6

As the snow starts to melt away on the mountains, the flowers are in bloom and every third person is eating gelato you know it is spring time. 

Italy is magical is spring. It isn’t the busy season yet, the perfect weather and the smell of flowers are in the air.

This year was my first Italian winter, to say it was an experience was a understatement. This Aussie is not use to snow, cold and wet weather. Let alone navigating a double stroller through it. So the day when the sun is shining and the weather is above 15 degrees it is like Christmas. 

Italians have a love of life and enjoy it in every way. From long lunches, to aperitivo in the piazza to spending Sundays with family, they take every moment and turn it into a memory. 

The pace of life is different in Italy. No one is ever in a rush. It isn’t a rat race and because of that people seem to be more relaxed. As I see people walking across the piazza it appears they have no care in the world. Now that may not be the case but to be relaxed and I would say carefree is blissful. 

Spring time. Is my favorite season. I love the smell in the air, the atomosphere and the excitement of summer approaching. This year unlike other years I thought I would make 10 spring time goals for the season. 

1- Eat gelato often 

2- Enjoy the sunshine 

3- Attend the flower festival 

4- Visit the seaside 

5- Enjoy the seasonal foods 

6- Visit the wine region 

7- Try new types of white wine 

8- Enjoy local arts and music 

9- BBQ often 

10- Attend an Italian cooking class 

 

So to my fellow readers enjoy the spring time and come up with your own goals to enjoy the season.

88486CDF-C106-495A-AF62-79A733A01A7F

Advertisements

The art of coffee and blind friend dates!

13 Apr

AD0FDAC8-26F0-4FCF-9D59-021C3E010406

I have a love for coffee! For the smell, tasting that first sip of fresh brewed coffee to socializing with friends over a coffee. 

Italy is famous for coffee! They have some of the best coffee in the world and it is a true art form to make it.

Coffee can mean a lot to a lot of people. From making a new friend over coffee, to a first date, to a long overdue catch up to a blissful moment alone with your cup of coffee. 

Being a expat you meet new people all the time. The art of asking someone to coffee is not always easy. I have had a few blind friend dates. From people I met from a group online, to meeting up with someone my friend knows to just catching up for coffee after meeting the person once. 

It can be nerve wracking to ask someone to coffee, to make a new Mum friend or to just have someone to socialize with. But what I have become to realize is most of the time the person you are asking is wanting coffee also. They are just too nervous to ask. Many of my close friends I met by chance or by meeting online. 

So take a chance and next time you meet someone new you would like to socialize with, ask them to coffee! You can always make friends over a good cup of coffee. 

 

4BA44B31-B130-4939-A4DE-CD4B837C9BA5

Returning from the land of English!

4 Apr

2A043D11-466B-4F70-BF6F-AB9F3E3C7ADF

Expats have a love for travel, which is also a passion of mine. In the past month we have been to London and Ireland. Both of course are English speaking countries.

Now previously living in the USA, I wouldn’t think about the language of the country we are visiting, especially when it is English, but after living in Italy and visiting Ireland this past week it was interesting to realize how easy visiting a country that speaks your own language is.

Now on arrival into Ireland I did use grazie a few times until I got my bearing but then it was like, wow I can say what ever I want and they understand me. It made me realize just how easy being in a English speaking country is. Also how easy it is to fall back into it.

But what I found most interesting is adapting back to my Italian life. Previously after returning from Australia at Christmas it was very difficult for myself and our children to adjust back to italian life but as time has passed it is becomes easier. This was the first time on return into Italy that it felt like home. It was a weird feeling as it is still so foreign and every day we are learning something new, but this time it felt almost normal and it gave me comfort.

I grew up always wanting to travel and move abroad but I never thought I would live in Italy. I thought my expat experience would end in the USA. But little did I know another abroad assignment was around the corner. What I am starting to realize is being a expat in Europe and more importantly in a foreign speaking country is completely different to that of a English speaking country.

Everyone’s expat experience is unique and different. Each of us face our own challenges, discoveries and journey. Not one expat experience is the same as another. It doesn’t make one better or worse but rather different.

Since arriving in Italy, I have never met so many worldly, transit, inspiration women. It is really mind blowing. Each of them have there own story and each of them has experiences to share. I gain knowledge in those that have moved to non English speaking countries and who have tackled it head on.

As I continue this expat Italian journey, I will strive to face each challenge head on, to emerce myself in the language and culture and gain comfort in other expat women’s abilities to do the same.

So though English is my first language I am striving to make Italian my second. It is about the journey, not the destination!

691CF926-C3ED-4D5D-A6BA-E948FB3FB571.jpeg

 

 

Expat women unite!

27 Mar

The power of women is like nothing else. I was brought up the theory that “ women hold up half the sky” and I couldn’t agree more.

In today’s  society women,  and in particular mothers,  have a tendency to be very judgmental. Rather than doing that we should be doing which is, being supportive and lift each other up.

Since arriving in Italy and meeting women from around the world it has inspired me. Expat women are fabulous, fearless, relentless, inspiration people.

This last week I came down with the flu and our two children with bad cold, while my husband was abroad for work. When my girls friends found out my situation it was like a call to arms and the offers of help flooded in. It was mind blowing. All my friends have responsibilities, work, kids to name a few but yet they offered to drop off food, help with the kids or just come over to give me a rest. It was so thoughtful and so lovely, it was really touching.

5F5222E5-0FE9-4223-A90D-E40D7C7443C5

After moving many times over the years I have wonderful girlfriends around the world, that mean the world to me. They inspire me, advise me and support me and for that I am forever grateful.

This experience in Italy is like nothing else and the first time I have met so many women of all different ages, background and lifestyle that truly are incredible.

Girlfriends are a huge part of my life and something I could not live without. To be honest my best friend is my Mum but my girlfriend are apart of my soul. What I realize is behind me is my back up committee that always have my back. They are there for me no matter what.

I need to continue to strive to be the best women I can be, to learn from fabulous expat women and to fight the good fight.

This blog is dedicated to my girlfriends around the world. I love you all so much and are forever grateful for your friendships.

 

B00F23A8-FA0F-4D1B-87F1-1F60301E722B

Living on the Italian edge

15 Mar

4FAACD45-8BFA-43D5-AB06-83BBF0D944DF

As a expat every day we are putting ourselves out there, embracing new challenges, discovering our self and facing our fears.

But imagine if we didn’t do that, what our expat experience would be like. Recently I was ask “ Sarah how are you so proactive?” The answer is well I am not sure.

Is it because I am outgoing?
Is it because I have been a expat for so long?
is it because it is time for my personal life to come in to play, after putting my family first?

Well I think it is all the above.

Being proactive is not easy and it takes effort. It can be tiring, it can disappointing at times but on the whole, it is worth it as on a daily basis I get so much out of it. From meeting new people, learning new cultures, experience new things and gaining confidence to take it all on.

I am one of those people that having one thing or doing one thing doesn’t always make me happy. I need say 10 elements in my life to be fulfilled. My Mum always say I want to be involved in everything and take it all on. She is right but what I have recently discovered is I don’t want to do things to fill in time but rather do things that fulfill me.

So being proactive in a fulfilling way is a new concept for me. I would say I am a giving person, always wanting to help and lend a hand so trying to determine do I want to help or will this fulfill me is different concept to me. It makes me discover what is important, what I enjoy and what I want to achieve.

As a Mum we always put our family first and we think about everything second. I have always wanted to be a mum and a wife but don’t want to be defined by just that. So asking myself what do I do in Italy while the kids are in school, while in Italy, while being fulfilled is a the big question.

So while I ponder that question I continue to be proactive, meet people, discover opportunities in the hope of determining my Italian way.

 

FE08FDE2-24D3-444F-B3B9-6281B07BCC75.jpeg

Secret tips for newcomers arriving in Turin, Italy!

10 Mar

514B0D1A-12F1-4C72-ABDE-93FC7BD97C88

This week I meet up with some girlfriends for pizza and wine. One of my girlfriends suggested I write top tips for expats living in Turin. So this post was inspired by my fellow Aussie friend.

After 6 months and a lot of research, recommendations and help, here are my tips: in no particular order.

1- Online supermarket delivery– don’t lug wine, sparking water, groceries around the city order online and get it delivered to your door. Carrefour does free delivery for any order over €70 and you select a timeframe the same day or next day.

http://www.carrefour.it/volantini/

2- Google chrome– use google chrome on your phone and it can translate whole websites into what ever language you would choose.

3- Want thai, Chinese, Italian food delivered to your door? Use foodora or just eats. Order online and get delivered to your door.
https://www.foodora.it/en/?r=1

4- Torino Museum card– a annual card that gives you access to museums sights and royal residences. It is the best value for money. Visit https://piemonte.abbonamentomusei.it for more information.

5- Google translate– try the ap, the website and use it to learn Italian words, sentences and in required events have it speak Italian.

6- The International Women’s Club of Torino – this is by far one of the best groups I have joined to date. The International Women’s Club of Torino is an expatriate club with members from all over the world. Founded in 1960, is a non-profit organization. Visit https://www.iwct.it/ for more information.

7- Facebook groups– search for group that fit your interest- there are many English speaking groups, Mom groups and interest groups. It is a great way to meet people and expand your social circle.

8- Italian equipment adjustment – we tried to plan prior to our arrival but to be honest nothing could have prepared us for the fact the double stroller doesn’t fit in the elevator, that my California boots and jacket don’t cut the snow weather and that I would need a granny trolly to carry my groceries. You can only prepare so much so on arrival access what you have, wait sometime and then get anything essential.

9- Italian websites are not always updated and often are hard to navigate. So I find going in person is best. That way it is easier for them to understand me and if they are closed for a period of time often the notice will be on the door or window and not on the website.

10- Restaurant booking are needed especially at night on the weekend. Well after a few non successful attempts speaking Italian over the phone I was recommended two websites I can make reservations online. Visit https://m.thefork.it/it_IT/home or https://www.quandoo.it

There is still so much to learn, understand and do but hopefully these tips help you adjusted to life in Turin, like they have helped me.

Now to continue the Italian journey and get excited for spring to arrive.

 

Once a preemie always a preemie!

7 Mar

43B44F46-C18E-4A1C-9DEA-856F9834C426.jpeg

It took a lot of courage for me to write this article. I have been asked many times to write about my experience having two preemie children and I have been reluctant to do so. Why you may ask, well maybe because I am not over the experience I had and because I am still living it.

I always dreamed of having a family, white picket fence, husband and the whole enchilada. I met the man of my dreams, we bought a house and then were ask to move abroad to California for the second time. I knew it would mean we would have children abroad. I am a planner by nature and we decided to try for a family and was pregnant quickly.

From the get go it wasn’t what expected. The pregnancy glow, the cute bump never happened for me. I was the one vomiting in the corner, having appointment after appointment and multiple hospitalization.

Grace was a iugr baby. What that mean is she had a growth restriction which meant she couldn’t grow as planned. I was closely monitored, praying she would gain weigh each week, hoping she was still in my belly and praying everything was ok.

It was a silent battle that very few people are aware of, and for some strange reason we had faith that everything would be ok. Each night I would sing to pebbles (the name we called he baby) amazing grace, not knowing the sex of the baby, having faith that all would be fine.

I went to multiple appointments each week and it was determine we would have a c section at 32 weeks. At 30 weeks,  faith had another plan and Pebbles heart rate was dropping and I had to have an emergancy c section. It was by far one of the most scary things we have ever done. We prayed that Pebbles would come out and be alive and screaming. I made my husband promise that no matter what, he would go with the baby and be with the baby no matter what happened to me.

Grace was born October 3rd 2014 at 1 pound 13 oz. To this day I don’t remember a lot, except my husband going with Grace to the NICU. I was being put back together after a intense classical a section where I lost a lot of blood.

AA78FAAF-A591-410D-BEEB-E54A3D93792B

Grace spent 49 days in the NICU. She was on oxygen, c pap, had blood sugar issues, jundice, slow weight gain, reflux, to name a few. But she is a fighter and gained weight and got through it. In those 49 days I have never loved my husband as much as I did then. He was the strength I needed and he was my rock and together we took it on.

31DED2BA-85F3-4AFE-8EA9-1F28245338B5

Once Grace was released from the NICU, we felt relief but the start of a long medical journey began. Multiple appointments a week, for weight check, physical therapy and eye check began.

We gave everything we could to her to ensure she had the best care, love and support possible. I didn’t return to work and invested all I could to be with her and support her. She continued to surprise doctors with her strength, courage, determination and independence.

Grace is now 3.5 year old and to say it has been a a journey is a understatement. We didn’t realize the journey ahead at the time she was born. She is now a thriving 3.5 year old. She is petite for sure, but there no medical issues and she continues to surprise us on a daily basis.

Since we had Grace we have had our son William, who was 5 weeks preemie and is Grace’s best friend. We have moved countries, been abroad from family and strived everyday to give our kids all we can.

2688B1C4-582C-4D77-B316-A7C37259E616

We are surprised each day with what Grace has achieved and realize that she may in fact always be petite but she is reaching every milestone and taken each
challenge head on.

We thank faith that Grace was meant to be a part of our family and for our parents,  for the support and love through out our journey. I personally don’t talk much about our experience as it was something hard to explain, hard to relive and hard to imagine. There are many people that helped through out the journey and for those people we are forever thankful.

We are thankful for each day for our two children and forever thankful for the staff and NICU of Kaiser, Walnut Creek, California, in which we would not have Grace in our arms.

To those of you reading this while you are waiting for your baby, sitting in the NICU or living the preemie journey, you are not alone, it is not easy and remember it is all worth it !

6 months in the land of pasta, pizza and vino….

7 Mar
turin
Last week marked 6 months in Italy. To say it has been a journey is an understatement.
Italy is everything you would think- good food and wine, amazing buildings and history, friendly people, rolling green hills and cobblestone piazzas.
What tourists don’t see is the bureaucracy, red tape and the inconvenience factor.
So in 6 months I have learnt to do the following, these are my top ten learning experience ( LE as my Dad likes to call them)
  • How to push a double stroller through rain, snow, black ice and on cobblestone streets.
  • That my California warm jacket won’t cut it and in fact a puffer jacket in required.
  • That sometimes when I am speaking Italian, in fact I am either speaking Spanish or a completely made up language.
  • That a big supermarket shops is not a thing here and everyday grocery shopping is, so don’t buy 6 bottles of wine at once as the whole shop looks at you.
  • That Australian hips and big boobs ( c cup and above) are hard to shop for with Italian cloths. Ordering online is needed.
  • That Italian coffee is some of the best coffee I have ever had.
  • That a granny trolly is essential for grocery shops no mater how dorky I look.
  • That travel in Europe is so easy and quick we need to do it more often.
  • That toddlers are more adaptable then I give them credit and that our children will speak better Italian then we will.
  • Finally, that Italy makes some fantastic wine and even better it is a lot cheaper than other parts of the world.
As the year continues, I will continue to learn, appreciate, accept and enjoy everything Italy has to offer.
Rome wasn’t built in a day and this expat wife will continue to grow every day.
turin-1112x630__2_.jpg

The Italian Way

16 Dec

In Italy, things are done differently, it is the Italian way of life. Some of it is good, while others is not so good. Some of it is logical while others is illogical. But if you want to live in this beautiful country then it is up to you to adjust and accept.

Italian people are friendly, helpful, kind, love children and accepting. Growing up I always wanted to travel. In fact I made songs up about it with my brother. The big hit was called ” Hawaii”. I dreamed of exploring new countries, discovering cultures and hidden gems. But never in my wildest dreams did I think I would of lived in a California and now Italy.

Italy is a place people dream of, for the food, wine, the culture, history and beauty. It was a place I wanted to visit but was never my top destination to discover.

We have been living in Italy for almost 4 months and I have to say Italy as surprised me. From the beauty, to the Italian bureaucracy, to the culture to generally living in a country where English isn’t its first language. Has it been easy? Definitely not! But I have learnt more about myself than I thought and discovered the beauty of this great country.

When you make a change, it gives you the opportunity to rediscover your passions and to reconnect with what is important to you. The last 3 years have been a whirlwind, the birth of our two preemie children have been the most amazing thing to happen to us but have also been the most emotional, particularly with our first Grace.

This assignment is a time to rediscover who I am, what I want out of life and return to my goals I made long ago. So time to set goals for 2018. As 2017 comes to a end I am thankful for the opportunities given, the magical moments and are excited for what lays ahead.

As I toast out 2017, I wonder what 2018 will hold. My goal blog is to come! It isn’t about the destination but the journey!

IMG_2096.JPG

Another day, another glass of Prosecco!

7 Dec

IMG_1948

My eyes open and a new day begins. I stretch out of bed to hear ” Momma Momma” and the day is underway!

I venture out into the cold to walk the kids to school as Grace is singing all the way. The city is starting to wake up, the smell of coffee in the air and a new discovery awaits.

I start with my morning coffee and I see what the day holds. From coffee dates, to volunteering to errands, some days are normal life while others are about discovery the city and Italian life.

I get asked most day where am I from? What brought you to Turin, Do I like Italy? And what school do my kids go to?

It is funny that the same questions are asked and the excitement I get to speak to someone in English. If they are Australia, it is like Christmas.

But what I find really interesting is that every expat is different and every experience is different. What is common to me isn’t the same for another.

So far it is interesting what people expect our Italian life to be like. People say I have spent time in Italy on vacation and it is magical, I would love to live there, all the time. Let the truth be told vacationing in Italy and living in Italy is entirely different. I mean it is completely different.

Now there are some similarities, the food, the culture and lifestyle. But what is not expected is the Italian bureaucracy, the inconvenience factor and the lack of technology. Once you face the fact that these factors can’t be changed and you personally just need to adapt, then your life will be easier and enjoyable.

From my recent blog, I have had requests on top 5 tips of living in Italy so here we go.

1- Patience ! Number one top tip is patience. Be aware that things take time, you are not in control of everything that is being done and time has no limit.

2- Flexibility– be flexible in all situations. Sometime things in Italy are not logical, and don’t always have a straight forward process so the key is to adapt and be flexible

3 Network– meeting people makes a big difference to your experience. Join meet up groups, international groups, moms groups, what ever interests you. Making friends and sharing experiences always makes me feel more settled.

4 Make your house your home– make your home feel like home. Send over your furniture , put up paintings, set up your house and make it feel like a home. We shipped all of our items and it made a world of difference particularly to our children.

5 Be open minded– go with an open mind. Try not to compare Italy to other places, try not to concentrate on the negative but instead embrace the positive. If you are constantly comparing you will always be disappointed, rather start new experiences, enjoy what Italy has to offer and embrace it.

So with all that said it is time for another glass of prosecco.

Until next time, Ciao!

 

The Philippines Like A Native

The View From Down Here

Shuffle With Confidence

If the radio didn't suck, it would probably sound like this.

Bucket List Publications

Indulge- Travel, Adventure, & New Experiences

Skein Lane - IN THE LOOP

Let's knit on! For many of us, it's a way of life and this blog is about sharing that experience....and a way to share the experiences of Skein Lane Knitters. I love knitting and it is indeed a way of life for me.

Cô Kerri

A hobbit's adventure teaching in Vietnam

A New Life Wandering

A blog about travel, food, photography, and lifestyle.

La Vale and Her World

La Vale and Her World is a Travel Blog. I also love traveling and sharing. Travelling is a Life Experience, which also means new recipes, new styles, culture and so on… you’ll find all my love for traveling and what it entails in this blog!

Distant Drumlin

Returning to the UK after living in India and China. Opening my eyes to the details of life back home.

The Expat Loop

A expat journey from Australia- USA- Italy and beyond!

The Daily Post

The Art and Craft of Blogging

The WordPress.com Blog

The latest news on WordPress.com and the WordPress community.