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Individualism vs Assimilation: The Moving Abroad Battle

This is a story about finding yourself, moving abroad and refinding yourself within different parameters. It’s about the internal battle that comes with change when you find yourself in a new country. How much is acceptable? Where do we draw the line?  Oh, and it’s about shopping of course. –––––––– I needed new clothes. As… Read more »

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Lessons Learned From My Italian Nonna

When I first met nonna she sat poised on an antique chair surrounded by her beautiful and very carefully curated antique furniture. Big and little paintings hung on the wall, each from a different century, each with a different story. The light was dim but just right on the deep green walls. “Sage,” she told me…. Read more »

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A Bumpy End of The School Year

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday. Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. That’s all I had left of the school year. Thursday and Friday were off for Italy’s national republic day meaning just six more days and I was done. My kids were happy and agitated. I was happy and agitated and running lists in my mind to finish the… Read more »

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14 Extended-Travel Tips Learned On Our 21-Day Honeymoon

Last year Marco and I got married in America, then enjoyed a 21-day honeymoon exploring Singapore, Java and Bali Indonesia. Considering that we came early to America for the wedding, we were traveling for nearly two months all in all. It was incredible and hectic and between 14 hours of time zones, washing our clothes… Read more »

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Getting to Know a City, Getting to Know Yourself

The first time I saw Monza I knew as much as any other chauffeured tourist knows. That is to say, nothing. I didn’t know how close it was to Milan or how close it was to my future husband’s hometown. I didn’t know that the people were well-off yet surprisingly leftist politically, that the library… Read more »

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Why We Canceled Our Trip to Turkey

In January my friend and I were able to convince our apprehensive husbands to go on a trip to Istanbul, Turkey in March. It’s been years since I’ve wanted to go and Marco knew that. It seemed with cheap flights and a long weekend available for everyone, now was the perfect time. Then on January 12, the day… Read more »

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Running While Traveling: The Park of Monza

It was February when I moved across the world – from the Midwest of the United States to Monza, Italy – to settle down into a small apartment with Marco. Though it was all very exciting and very new, when the novelty wore off I was left with too much free time and no view… Read more »

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Why I Study Languages

The benefits of bilingualism are proven. Studies show that knowing two or more languages makes us smarter, protects us from Alzheimer’s disease and allows the brain to look at things in a fresh way. Of course none of those are what pushed me to study Italian. I began my Italian language journey with a spark… Read more »

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Working Under The Table and Why Everyone Does it in Italy

It doesn’t take long to realize that things work … differently… in Italy. Or sometimes, they don’t work at all.  A large part of the Italian workforce gets paid in nero, meaning that all or some of their income is paid in cash, “under the table.” As far as the state knows, they’re not working at all. “Those… Read more »

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How to Survive Italian Bureaucracy

Anyone who has spent more than a brief stay in Italy has likely had some sort of experience dealing with the Italian bureaucracy. Whether it’s studying abroad, getting a visa or even getting a speeding ticket as a traveler, the system is draconian. Blogs detailing the horrors of the Italian bureaucracy abound from a more positive… Read more »