Tag Archives: trailing spouse

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

7 Mar
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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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An Aussie gal takes on Italy

22 Nov

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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

 

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From Trailing Spouse to Trailing Mum!

30 Jan

Being a expat is a privilege, a challenge and a journey.

It doesn’t define you, yet it is a way to identify yourself. I have been living back in the USA for 18 months now, as a trailing spouse.

A new term I hadn’t heard of, yet now after research, writing blogs and learning more, I now have a better understanding.

When taking on another overseas assignment, I knew that we would have children oversea. I knew that and I was and still am happy to do so.

With motherhood comes, amazing moments, challenges, new stage of your life and new found respect for your own mother and those that you know.

If being a Mum wasn’t a challenge enough try being a expat or rather a trailing Mum. A Mum who followed there partner overseas and has a newborn.

If you had told me at our one year wedding anniversary that I would be living back in California, having a baby girl who was born 8 weeks early and spent 49 days in the nicu, I would say you are crazy. But that is what happened.

From that experience I have learnt a lot and have started to experience being a expat as a Mum. Instead of a late night on the town, I am going to mothers group, instead of a last minute weekend away, I am going on a family outing to the farmers markets and instead of a romantic dinner for two, it is now a dinner for 3 and you know what I wouldn’t have it any other way.

My expat experience is more enrich, meaningful and fulfilled.

Do I miss my family?
Do I wish we live closer?
Do I want our daughter to experience Australia?

Absolutely! But she is enjoying a life experience that children dream of, not to mention she is a dual citizen.

Recently I have had a few readers ask how do I do it. How do I be a expat mother. Well I am not going to lie, it is hard work! But I love it! Every single thing about it!

So to all those other expat Mums out there, here are my top tips for new mother expats, on making the most out of this experience. Also how to survive being a stay at home Mum ( short term or long term)

Mothers group- sounds corny I know but find a mother group. Both a online forum and a meet up group. This give you a chance to socialize with other Mums, learn from each other and be each other support.

Hobbies– make sure you don’t lose sight and time for your hobbies. Be it netball, singing, volleyball, cooking anything. Work out a way to continue these interests.

Time out– find time and a way to have time away from the baby. Go to the movies with friends, a girls night out, dinner with family, anything!

Communicate– being a expat our family and friends are far away, so make sure you keep them up to date. Send a monthly email, send pictures of the baby, chat on FaceTime, viber, Skype.

Help– don’t be afraid to ask for help. I learnt this when I was pregnant. A complicated pregnancy meant needing help. I was so touched by the support and help I had from my fellow expat friends. If you need help, ask for it.

Let’s continue this journey and enjoy motherhood, expat life and everything that comes with it!

“I am a wife and mother first, then the First Lady!” Go out there and enjoy your expat life!

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