Archive | March, 2018

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.

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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.

 

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Living on the Italian edge

15 Mar

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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.

 

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Secret tips for newcomers arriving in Turin, Italy!

10 Mar

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.
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