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The Year of The Book: 2016 Reading Review

Last year marked my first ever “Year of The Book.“ Entirely made up by myself, it was my way to bring myself back to my love of reading, to allow myself to “waste” time in the lovely, fulfilling, necessary pursuit. The year before I had read a staggering (for me, at the time) 24 books… Read more »

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Venice’s Carnival: A Sea of Secrets

A sinking city of sea and secrets, Venice is known for its inescapable romance, beauty and mystery. Visitors can find all three at the city’s infamous Carnival celebration. Now an annual, three-week celebration, the first Carnival of Venice supposedly started in 1162 to celebrate a military victory of La Repubblica della Serenissima, as Venice was originally called. Known as carnevale in Italian,… Read more »

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The Food of Valtellina 

Winter in Northern Italy means bone-chilling humidity. The damp air seeps into our bones, making even the most virile young person feel achy, tired. Though life goes on at top speed with school and work, Christmas preparations, and twinkling lights that attempt to shine through the fog, there’s little to do to escape the heavy… Read more »

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How to Build a Community Abroad 

Moving is hard. Whether it’s to a new town in the same state, across the country or across the world, you’re uprooting yourself from everything, and everyone, you know. And while we all consider the logistics and bureaucracy basics, we don’t always consider the most important thing: forging relationships. Making friends as an adult is… Read more »

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Done the Big Five in Italy? Here’s Where to Go Next

Umbria. Umbria is where to go next. Most first-time visitors to Italy rightfully visit what I call the “big five” – that is, Naples, Rome, Florence, Venice and Milan – or a combination of some of them. Italy’s five “main” cities, they hold the vast majority of the country’s historical, political, artistic and religious wealth and… Read more »

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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 Hedonistic Journey in Time at the Bormio Thermal Baths

Grown men and women shuffled in their standard complimentary flip flops, white flesh hanging out of swimsuits, long hair pinned back with clips and scrunchies. Those who had just arrived seemed timid, unsure of where to go, while those who had already laid under hot jets of water, on bubble beds or across warm sauna wood… Read more »

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Why I Decided to Study Spanish

I’ve decided to start studying Spanish. Why, you might ask, would I be willing to subject myself to the arduous task of learning a language – again? I studied Italian even though I had absolutely no need for the language. Eleven years, one country and a husband later and I can say that Italian is… 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 »