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Living on the Italian edge

15 Mar


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.




Secret tips for newcomers arriving in Turin, Italy!

10 Mar


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.

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.

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 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 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 or

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


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.


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.


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.


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
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.

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!


Another day, another glass of Prosecco!

7 Dec


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!


An Aussie gal takes on Italy

22 Nov


It has been some time since I have written a post and this is why. Aside from having two kids under 4 we moved from San Francisco, USA to Turin, Italy.

Yes you read it we moved to Italy! We have been here almost 3 months and it has been an adventure.

Let me just create a scene for you… firstly the top questions I am asked – no I don’t speak Italian, yes I have been to Italy before, no I didn’t think I would ever live here, yes I know it gets cold and no I am not prepared for it, we moved for my husbands work and finally yes we brought the dog.

I have been abroad a long time now but never moved to a country where English isn’t the countries first language.

So what do I think, well that’s a hard one. Firstly I love Turin, the people, culture, food and scenery are amazing. The bureaucracy, lack of online services, language and the steps to do things can be tricky.

What I have found interesting about moving to Italy is the things I didn’t expect and what I am learning along the way.

So here are my top discoveries I have found to date-

Moving with kids– firstly I have never done this before and secondly it makes things even more complicated. Italian love children and are very accommodating. With that said there isn’t always the baby conveniences like other countries. I think since we have been here, I could count on one hand, the times I have changed Will on a changing table and not the floor.

The cold– it is safe to say that this Aussie gal is not use to cold and or rain. Imagine me with a double stroller and an umbrella. It resulted in a drown rat, that rat being me. I mean what the heck is a foot muff. In case you a wondering it is like a sleeping bag pouch which attaches to the stroller to keep the kids warm. Finally, everyone where puffer jacket and I was told to embrace the puffer and I did and you know what they are great.

Technology– now I know I have come from Silicon Valley, tech savvy place of the usa but I guess I didn’t realize what a tech life we have been living, from remotes on everything, fast internet, wireless security, overhead lights just to name a few. Here everything is engrained with such rich history and beauty but doesn’t alway have the tech bells and whistles. It makes me realize what a tech life we have been living and how people in Italy arnt on there phones, internet or social media all the time but rather are relaxed and enjoying what is right in front of them.

Each day I am seeing, learning and discovering more and more. It is interesting as along the way I am rediscovering myself and not as a wife or as a mother but rather as just Sarah.

We all have dreams and goals and some of those I had forgotten and you know what it is time to reconnect, rediscover and reward.

At the end of the day all I need is love, laughter and prosecco! Cheers until next time xoxo




From Trailing spouse to Expat mother 

6 May

Being an expat is an adventure! It is an amazing journey of highs and lows, laughter and tears, goals and fears and most of adventure! 

My love of the USA started back in 2005 when I came over to be a councilor for summer camp. California was like no where I had been. The food, people, sights was like nothing else. 

We then returned in 2008 and spent 8 years on and off in the States. We were expats. When we returned to the states in 2013, I knew we would have children abroad. My husband and I always wanted children and I knew it would happen in California. 

With that said we had two beautiful children Grace and William. This is when the transition of trailing spouse to expat mother occurred. Being a expat is one thing, being a expat mother is another. 

As a expat you are constantly navigating daily life- banking, working, insurance, housing. Having a baby in a foreign country takes on a whole new world. From navigating the medical system, to citizenship, to health insurance to then taking on parenthood. 

What I have realized is when you change from a trailing spouse to a expat mother something inside of you changes. Yes you have had a baby but something else. It is as if it makes you more independent, resourceful and resilient. 

Being a mother is no easy task no matter where you live but living away from family and friends adds a further challenge. Now for me, I have lived away from family a long time. I haven’t lived in the same country or place as my parents for over 10 years. But it is when you have children you wish you lived that little bit closer. 

As a expat you constantly have to put yourself out there, to make friends, try new things to take on new adventures. Being a expat Mom has a whole set of new challenge. A fellow reader asked me about my motherhood experiences recently And what are my top tips for surviving motherhood as a expat. This was the inspiration for this blog, so now to share my tips! 

Well here are my top tips! 

Support– reenforcements, family, friends, mother helper 

Mothers groups- find/ meet other mothers, find people you click with, have something in common with. 

Date night- find time to have some adult time and enjoy a date night with your partner.

Hobbies– continue or find a hobby just for you! Tennis, going to the gym, language class, choir. Something for just you! 

Intellectual outlet– find something that simulates your mind- work, study, writing a blog, keeping up with the news. 

Wine– if all else fails wine! Everything also seems clear upon a nice glass of wine. 

Motherhood is an amazing gift, journey and adventure. It is powered by love, fueled by coffee and sustained by wine! 

Where have I been? 

16 Mar

It have been 17 months since my last blog post and the question you may all been asking, is where have I been? Well that is a good question.

First and foremost I have been a mother to our gorgeous daughter Grace. Taking her to physical therapy, doctor appointments, preschool. Her preemie journey is never over and it wasn’t until about 6 weeks ago that she started walking. So time and dedication has been been needed over the last 12 months. 

We had our second child, William. A preemie also, born 5 weeks early. He is adorable, happy little born and much loved by his big sister and puppy Matilda.

Aside from being a mother to two children, I am also a wife to my husband. My husband works very hard and travels extensively for his work and is away about a third of the year, so with now two kids, that makes it even more hectic

Now take kids and husbands out of it and I have been President until recently for our local netball club and also involved with the local Broadway Chorus group. Not to mention moving house shortly after having William. 

Then comes travel with 3 trips to Australia, Disneyland, LA and Southern California, Texas, Vegas, Italy and Sri Lanka, it has been a wonderful travel whirlwind. 

So as you can imagine my time for blogging has been limited. With that said 2017 is the year for me. A year to discover what I want out of life and to achieve it. 

The past 4 years I have dedicated 100 percent to my family and I wouldn’t want it any other way, but now it is a little “me” time and with that said I continue my journey as a now expat mother. 

I haven’t forgotten my readers and are reminded every day from you to blog again! I thank you for your love and support. I look forward to giving you insight as you follow my journey into the next chapter. 

Our “Amazing” Grace…

7 Oct

I always wanted to be a mother, it was something I have always dreamed of. So when the day came that we decided the have a family it was a easy choice and a few months later we were pregnant. 

The moment I peed on the test and then it went positive and my heart skipped a beat. It was as if time stood still and I was overcome with joy.  

Pregnancy was nothing like I thought it would be. I had dreams of cute belly pics, baby showers and prepping the nursery. Little did I know that I would have endless morning sickness, pregnancy complications and delivery 8 weeks early. 

This week our baby girl turned one. It was a milestone that we have aimed for since the day she was born. 

The journey of Grace was not a easy one. With mutilple scans, blood test, blood pressure check, stress checks, numerous hospitalizations, early contractions and in the end a emergency classical c section 8 weeks early. 

If you had told me it was going to be like it was, at the time I got my positive test, I wouldn’t of believe you but it was. 

Looking back it felt almost like a dream. Like I went through the journey but parts I can’t recall and others are so vivid. 

Having a baby girl, 8 weeks early, at 1 pound 13 oz who was in the NICU for 49 days has changed me. It was the most scary, emotional experience of my life. 

I get asked all the time to this day, how did I get through it? How did I cope through the pregnancy with the unknown? How did I see the light at the the end of the tunnel? And you know what,I don’t know. I always had faith that she was ok and that everything would work out. I never doubted it for a second. 

When Grace was born, my first thought was I hope she can breath. Then she took her first breath and then she cried for the first time, I just burst into tears. I asked the nurse and my husband multiple time if she is ok, tell me she is ok. Once they checked her and she seemed ok she then was taken straight to the NICU. This was when our journey really began. 

The NICU is hard to describe it is a place where babies are cared and treated. The first time I walked in, I had no idea what to expect and wasn’t sure how to handle the experience. But as time went on it became familiar and like a second home. It went from the scary unknown to a familiar home. 

The nurses and doctors were simply amazing, but the experience is like nothing I have ever faced. It was an emotional rollar coaster of not being able to take our baby home, worrying if she was gaining weight, eating enough, her test come back ok, each day was a challenge, each day was emotional. 

I keep making myself goals- get to 2 pounds, 4 pounds, home from the NICU, drink so much milk, 10 pounds and 1 year old. As each milestone was met, I could breath a bit easier. But what I discovered this week is that Grace is a premmie and her premmie journey will never be over. I, as a mother will always be worried and wants what is best for her. 

As Grace turned 1, I have reflected on the past year and are just pleased we got through it and that she is doing so well. It is hard to explain the experience, hard for others to imagine but all that really matters is when you look at Grace you forget it all. When you look into her eyes and see her smile it makes everything worth it. 

Grace is the most amazing baby girl. She fought ever day to gain weight, improve her health and to thrive. I look back on the photos and I can’t believe how small she was and how far she has come.

What I now realise is that we needed this experience to realise just how thankful we are to have her. She is simply our ” Amazing” Grace and I am thankful every day to have her in my arms and call her my daughter. 

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