Tuesday, May 25, 2010

A Roller Coaster of Emotions

Okay, so this is for all you lady expats who are also Sex and the City fans. =) They show Sex and the City reruns everyday here on Sky (the cable company), and even though I have the whole series on DVD (thanks to my close friend Melissa *muah*) I still watch it every time it comes on! I swear I have watched each episode a hundred times and will never get sick of it. Anyways, I just watched one of the last episodes of the series, where Carrie goes to Paris with Aleksandr. I can’t believe how this episode has changed to me every time I watched it. The first time I watched it I was still in LA and already emotional watching it and so sad the series was ending. Now, I watch it and I can totally relate to Carrie finding difficulty in a new city as I’m sure a lot of you will as well. (Sidenote: I know it’s really cheesy that I am relating to something fictional but having American shows to watch here is sometimes just the dose of home I need =)).

She steps her foot in Paris and is ecstatic of this romantic city. Then is lonely and waiting for Aleksandr. Then decides to go out on the town on her own only to trip and fall and have everyone stare at her. Then walks past a restaurant window and sees four girls laughing away together. Then she calls up Miranda to vent and says that she misses them but stops herself and thinks she’s crazy for complaining about being in Paris. Then Miranda keeps saying “come home” when they are on the phone. Does this sound at all familiar? Anyone going to a foreign country to live for a period of time goes through this. It is a roller coaster of emotions and don’t let anyone say that you are crazy for being sad in an amazing city.

Sure it is a great adventure and an experience of a lifetime, but it doesn’t change the fact that you are placed outside of your comfort zone and away from your loved ones. I am extremely happy here and am grateful for what I have but it does not change the fact that I miss my family and friends dearly. I miss my Sunday family days with my family where we all get together at the house and just hang out. I miss going out with my girlfriends and laughing and talking all through the night. Never stop yourself from feeling these emotions. This is what will make your relationships stronger and help you really appreciate everything you have, near and afar. The reason why people grow when they move out of their comfort zone is because it does put life into perspective. Often, you can find yourself the easiest when you aren’t around people that you are always around. Just don’t lose yourself or ever try to blend in, love you for who YOU are, not for what you think others will “accept”.

Unfortunately, I can’t tell you exactly how to adjust in a foreign city as I am still trying to as well. I can tell you that the braver you are and the more you go out and explore, the more you will grow and get out of it. At first I was even scared to walk outside in this little town by myself or go to the mini mart because I hated people staring and I was afraid I wouldn’t say something correctly. However, I pushed myself to do it and things have gotten much better. People know me now and are friendly and chat with me. The smiles and salutations I get everyday are a great jumpstart to my day… when I think about it, I don’t even get that back in L.A. I am so consumed in getting from point A to point B and getting what I need done, that when would we ever say hi to someone we have never spoken to on the street? I know I have never said hi to someone unless I knew them or they worked at the store in L.A., but if I did, they would probably just think I am crazy or got the wrong person.

There will always be the good days and the bad days, the days where you miss home more and the days where you are having the time of your life. But it’s about confronting each day at a time and being able to make the effort to smell the flowers. And, if you have time to sit and reflect and miss home, then that definitely means you have time to look out the window and smell the flowers. =) We are only human, and where ever we are today, it’s about getting through the day to lead us to whatever happiness awaits us in the future.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Superstitions - To Believe or Not to Believe

For all the fabulous and beautiful pregnant women out there:

Now I am not one for superstitions but being Chinese, you may or may not know that we have TONS of superstitions, I mean tons! Some are quite ridiculous and I choose not to believe them for the sake of my own sanity. Now I don’t want to give you any more things to worry about when carrying a baby is a huge responsibility on its own but what I heard from my mother-in-law was quite interesting. Although they may be superstitions I think it is sooo interesting to hear about other cultures and their beliefs and how some of them cross over to my own culture…

So, my mother-in-law explained to me the following three things you should not do when you are pregnant…according to the Italians:

1. Do not walk over blood (I mean this should be pretty easy to avoid but who knows what rare situation you may run into) – if you do, your baby will be born with a red birthmark on their little cute booty.

2. Do not walk over a wound up hose, rope or any other rope-like item. If it is stretched out then it’s no problem, but as long as it is not looped up. If you do, your baby may have the umbilical cord wrapped around them which is often the case why women need to do a C-section. I know, this is a carry scenario but also quite interesting.

3. Do not walk over fish water…. Yes this might be the weirdest one…. She explained that back in the old days, they would throw the fish on the ground to wash, thus, there would be fish water on the floor. If you do, your baby will be born with scaley like skin – many people do have this, not sure the correct medical term, but dryer skin.

Okay those are the three Italian superstitions for a pregnant woman. I hope this has not scared you but has entertained you a bit and may be nice to just keep in mind for the sake of taking precautions. After hearing this, does this sound like anything you have heard in your culture? Surprisingly enough, my mom confirmed that the Chinese believe in the first two as well! It’s great when cultures have things in common, makes it sound like we are much more similar then we choose to believe and can really relate to each other more. =)

I am definitely the kind of person who loves to be able to relate to someone else and I believe that’s what makes a friendship thrive. Being the minority here in Italy, it’s comforting to hear things that I may have in common with Italians and not feel so … different. =)

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The Stress Spectrum

Living in Italy has made me realize what a broad range of different stresses effect people. I first made this realization when I was speaking to an Italian friend and he said, “It must be so much less stressful in America than here. Everything is so fast-paced here.” When he said that, I did a double take and said, “What? It should be so much less stressful here and life goes slower and more calmly here that you get to enjoy life. You get to sit in a bar and people watch. We are all over the place in America.” That’s when I started thinking about how interesting it was that Italians had the same conception of Americans as we did them. Living in one place, we often look at other faraway places and just dream of how wonderful it would be to live there and how much more appealing it looks. We see the vacation spots, and the beautiful scenery, and the food and other products we don’t have here. We only look at the good, whereas, we are quick to judge our own living quarters since we know it so well. The phrase, “the grass is greener on the other side”, could not be any more accurate in our mentalities.

Back in the states, I had many different kinds of stresses. It went from major stresses to frivolous ones – work, traffic, deadlines, family, bills, what to wear, where to eat, chores, etc. Some of them effected me much worse than others. And then there were those that I learned to change into advantages. I learned to cope with the traffic to work and took the two to two and half hours I was in traffic going and coming from work as my “alone” time. Instead of swearing at the traffic and trying to figure out what was the hold up, I realized that wasn’t going to get me from point A to point B any quicker. So instead, I enjoyed the music playing in my car, caught up with a friend on the phone, and just took the time to be by myself. However, traffic is a major stress for many, especially in LA, and people deal and react to it differently.

Here in Italy, it’s the same thing. There are people here who have to work and pay the bills and care for the family just like in the States. We tend to remove those factors when we think about vacations and incorrectly stereotype people. I think the one difference that I do see in the stresses between America and Italy, is that Americans are definitely more career driven and competitive. We constantly have to gain more experiences to stay at the top of the game and have to manage to stay at the top once we get there. Once we do, we still tend to keep our options open, waiting for the next big thing to hop on and jobs are much more dispensable to us. (Today’s market may be an exception with the economic crisis). As for Italians, the job market isn’t as competitive but there also aren’t as many opportunities. So in their case, it’s more about finding a job that is secure and staying there. There isn’t that drive to constantly look for something better and get a better salary. If you have a job, you thank god for it and stay there for as long as you can. Hence, whereas the stress of continuously finding a better job is prominent in Americans, Italians appreciate the job they have and are grateful for not having the stress of unemployment.

I think one thing that really stresses Italians out more so than Americans is the government and communal structures. Their city halls and other government offices lack organization, rules, and consistent order of procedures. Having to experience this first hand, primarily with getting my paperwork done to get married here, and then with getting my Permesso di Soggiorno, I was bounced back and forth among a couple different offices. Everyone had their own instructions and told me different things. It was extremely difficult to get concrete and reliable information. And most of all, good luck catching them during their office hours. Each office had odd office hours, almost like the doctor’s hours here, where it wasn’t just straightforwardly Monday through Friday from 9am-5pm but varied and would be open two or three days a week at odd, non-continuous hours. With this matter, the Italians definitely have more stress. I respect the fact that we are much more by the books in America and although there may be a congestion of people in line to get paperwork done, at least our offices are actually open and we know exactly what we have to do and where to go.

Thinking about my own life here in Italy, I have never been less stressed. I am fortunate enough to have a safe and secure life here with not much to worry about. It almost makes me worry about going back to the States and if I will have to end up re-adjusting back there! Part of me loves the fact that I was able to handle the stresses that LA gave me. I don’t want to lose that part of me. Then, just these past couple of days, I have had this huge issue with spider mites that have invaded my balcony plants. Now, this does not seem like some life-threatening, end of the world problem, but it has stressed me out! Like I said, there is broad range of different stresses that effect people. I despise insects… I would rather come across a rat than a spider. And so these spider mites are totally stressing me out and I thought to myself – oh my gosh, what has come of me that I don’t have the normal stresses I use to have and now I have this frivolous, domestic stress?

And although I have left all my old stresses, I did take on the new one of adjusting in this foreign country where I have became the minority. Asians are still considered a minority in the States and California, but since LA is such the melting pot, it definitely did not feel that way and I loved the way all cultures intermixed. Not so much the case here. Whereas some may enjoy being different and standing out, I do not. I like to blend in and not draw attention. I think that’s one thing I miss about LA. I could go about my business on the streets without worrying that I had a million eyes on me and wondering who I was. I didn’t have to feel self-conscious about myself because most of the time, everyone was in their own world and too busy to really wonder about anyone else. Here, it is difficult to walk down the street without someone just hanging around outside of their house, or sitting outside of the bar specifically “people-watching.” If anyone has a quick remedy for me to relieve this stress of mine, please share!

Everything is subjective, everything is relative. I think the important thing to remember is the grass isn’t greener on the other side. It’s just different. Whether it is different in a good way or a bad way, we have to confront the stresses we have and take them one at a time and know that we are not alone. It’s what makes us stronger if we deal with them and you always have to keep in mind that you need to appreciate what you do have through this spectrum of stress we ride.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

La Musica Italiana

This blog is to anyone who appreciates music and enjoys finding new international music to listen to. I have discovered many Italian singers that have moved me just as much as American singers, if not more. I think at the beginning I was a little cynical and sort of a snob to be honest, thinking that we have the best music in the States and that it would be hard for me to “connect” with any other songs that were in a different language. However, sooo not true. The Italian language is so beautiful to me and needless to say, so is the music. There are some songs that are so romantic and some that make you just wanna get up and dance too.

Actually, when I first set foot on Italian soil, I found it extremely difficult to find some good Italian music because if you walk into any store, they are playing American music. I was quite surprised but I would have to say that 60-70% of the songs they play on the radio and MTV are American songs! Of course, this helps me feel much more at home, but a little more difficult to delve into the music culture. Anyways, for all of you who would like to hear some great music, here are a couple singers that I absolutely adore here.

Laura Pausini (my favorite is “Io Canto”)
Elisa (she has some American songs as well and a couple songs are often used in dance choreography)
Nek (he also sings in Spanish) the first Italian song I liked was “Almeno Stavolta” and I also liked his blue eyes… =)
Gigi D’Alessi
Eros Razmotti
Tiziano Ferro
(he has a song out with Mary J. Blige and another with Kelly Rowland)
Pino Daniele (a true legend and classic here and created his own type of blues here)
Nino D’Angelo (also a classic and thought fondly among the Napolitanos being a native himself and singing in the dialect as well)

The following above are more soul and top 40 type music. I do have to say that I cannot stand the rappers here in Italy… I am sorry Fabri Fibra, you just ain’t doing it for me….

Music is powerful and inspiring and everyone’s spirits would not be the same without it. It allows people to find serenity and release stress. Buona ascolta! =)

Monday, May 10, 2010

Siena vs. Vitulazio - The Difference Between Northern and Southern Italy

I have actually been fortunate enough to live in two different cities in Italy and experience the difference between the two. Rome is basically the dividing line between Northern and Southern Italy and just like any rival teams or how NorCal and SoCal bash each other, there are quite a lot of differences and rivalry between the two. Okay where do I start?

First of all, their accent and Italian language is different! I actually had no idea, but Italy has quite a few of their own dialects. In the south, Naples and Caserta Regions, they speak Napolitano…. Extremely different from the Italian I learned and I feel like I am learning a completely new language … and forget about even pronouncing the words in the proper accent… so for now, I am going to do my best to learn it and understand it but will stick to speaking formal Italian as that is already a challenge for me. =) Actually, Florence is known to speak the most purest of the Italian language which explains why it was much easier for me to understand when Italians were speaking to me in Siena. =) It’s interesting how many Italians can tell what region you are from because of the difference in accents… I have yet to master that.

Siena was actually voted to be the #1 city for highest standard of living in Italy. It is no surprise to me. The people there are sooooo kind and still family oriented. The scenery and Tuscan hillside is breathtaking and I never got sick of staring in awe every day I passed by them. The Chianti wine is still my favorite red wine of all. This medieval town seems to have stood still in time and holds so much history. Just looking at the fortress that still stands tall helps you easily visualize the days when there was war. I can sit and people watch in Piazza del Campo all day long. The Tuscan style homes with stoned walls have so much character and beauty. The Palio allows the city to have a “college-like” atmosphere as each of the 13 contradas the city is separated into have so much pride and spirit and parade around the town all year long and always have celebrations on the streets. It truly is one of a kind. Notwithstanding, there are so many quaint little towns nearby as well to take day trips to and explore.

I do miss my dear Siena where I have so many memories. It’s where I studied the Italian culture and language and met some of my closest friends. It’s where my life completely changed and I met my husband and where we got married. =) Siena will always hold a very dear place in my heart.

As for Vitulazio, it is very important to me as well because it is officially my new home. It is where my husband grew up and his whole family lives. When I think about how bizarre it is that we are such worlds apart, it is so amazing that I have this opportunity to see his childhood first hand everyday now. I can’t tell you how many people in the town will retell stories to me about him as a child and although they were more about how naughty he was, it is extremely entertaining and I am so grateful. =)

The cost of living is much cheaper here, thankfully, compared to Siena. And when I say cheaper, I am talking about 20-30% difference in food prices. As for rent, you can rent an apartment for €200 for two bedrooms here when Siena would cost about €800 for a one bedroom… extremely huge difference. Of course, it will be more expensive for rent once you go closer to the city centers but I am sure Milan still is the winner in highest cost of living in Italy.

Okay, I must go on to the food! I am sorry Siena, but Southern Italy is the winner for me in food…. Of course all of Italy has exquisite food but every region varies in their specialties and foods that originated in those regions. As for our regions, the PIZZA! Omg, to die for… seriously… if you have been to Italy, you have not tasted the best pizza until you have been to Naples or Caserta. It is like no other. I thought it was great in Siena, Florence and Rome but they are no comparison to the south. I think the water is different here which makes the dough different but the Mozzarella originated here as well and that is just yummy. It is the fresh mozzarella from the buffalos here that are absolutely delicious on everything! I even tasted Da Michele’s in Naples which was voted as the #1 pizza and it is quite heavenly. So if you are ever in the Naples city center, you have to go there and try their pizza. The only things on their menu are the Pizza Marinara, Pizza Margherita, Pizza double Margherita, Water, Coke, and Beer…. So you won’t have a hard time choosing… It is a total mom and pop, hole in the wall shop but there is always a ton of people (lots of tourists) waiting outside for a table at all hours… I believe they are open from 10am to 3am. =)

In the Toscana Region, they are known for their Fiorentina Steak (1 kilogram T-bone steak) and their wild boar among other things… definitely ideal for you meatlovers and carnivores out there but the pizza won my heart. =)

As for shopping, there is a huge difference as well! I love the shops on the streets where you just walk outdoors and pop in to any store you pass by…. Very convenient and definitely a different kind of atmosphere. It’s the reason why I love going to Old Town Pasadena and The Grove, but, being the city girl I am, I need my MALLS! There were weekends in Siena where I was dying to get into a nice big mall, my sanctuary, and just stay in there for hours going to my favorite stores… no such luck AT ALL in Siena. I would have to take day trips to Florence to get my shopping fix since they had more stores on the streets but still no malls. And finally, I found my sanctuary in the south! Okay, so they might be owned by the… should I say it… is it safe to say it…. mafia… ok I will only say it once….who knows, it is highly likely they have some involvement, but they are malls and I need them for survival. Oh sooo wonderful… okay so not exactly as big and wonderful as my usuals in LA but good enough. And the fact that they don’t close from 1pm to 4pm is just sublime.

Alright, last topic for this blog because I can really go on and on but it is getting too long…The driving.. omg the driving…. I think any big city in Italy and all cities in Southern Italy consist of absolutely crazy drivers…. Well I will say that they are very skilled and drive very well defensively, but still crazy. Siena was pretty good at keeping order and most people respected the stop signs and red lights and weren’t weaving and cutting all around. But, when you enter a city or the south, it’s chaos. It’s every man for themselves – lane dividers do not exist, tailgating is the norm and everyone is honking everyone. I will leave an entire blog on Naples for another time and get further into their driving dynamics…

I can also go into the difference in the people and their characteristics but I think that is subjective... however, I will go further into the Napolitanos at a later time. =)

All in all, wherever you live, you make the most of it and there will always be pros and cons. If you choose to come visit Italy, be sure to get a good taste of the different regions because they are all quite different in food, culture, people, atmosphere, scenery, etc. You can’t just go to Rome and say you have “seen” Italy. Don’t sell yourself short, there is so much to see and appreciate here. If you are an expat living in Italy, you may want to consider experiencing the big city life and the little town life as well. The big city life may be comforting because there are many others like you and the Italians are use to tourists and don’t stare at you like you are an alien. I know I was hoping to be in a big city since I thought that would help me adjust much more easily and that I wouldn’t stick out like a sore thumb as much. But you will be amazed about how much more you get to dive into the Italian culture and traditions if you are in a little town. Wherever life takes you, just remember to live it. As my husband says, “La vita è una sola” (You only live life once).

Friday, May 7, 2010

Healthcare in Italia

One of the first matters I wanted to address is something that many are interested in and have questions about - Healthcare. In fact, we have so many issues with it back home, makes you wonder how other countries are. In Italy, and in some other countries like Australia, health insurance is covered by the government. I was able to get insurance once I got my Permesso di Soggiorno (Permit to Stay) and became a resident here. The great thing is that you don’t have to pay crazy monthly bills or have it deducted from your paycheck. Keep in mind that this is for your primary physician. For the dentist, optometrist or any other specialist, you will have to pay out of your pocket. I cannot stress how important it is to know people, or to know the physician personally if you are in a small town… in that case, they will surely “take care” of you.

I have to admit, at the beginning, I was really scared about the healthcare here and wasn’t sure if I would be able to trust them and always had this bias that we have such great hospitals and doctors back home. However, there are also some really bad hospitals and bad doctors back home as well. It is the same case here and many countries. I hate that I automatically made an assumption with that. If you are with a doctor that cares and is really good then you are in great hands and will be taken care of and they will help refer you to any needs that you may have. Like in the States. However, if you don’t have a good doctor or don’t even have a doctor then you may find the search for one quite frustrating. Again, it will really benefit you to know someone or have someone refer you.

As for the hospitals… there are good ones and bad ones. I visited one hospital that kind of reminded me of General Hospital in Los Angeles… need I say more? Then I also went to a private clinic that looked extremely clean and new… as you can already guess, that quickly put me at some ease. It’s always a give and take.

Back to primary physician care… the one thing that I am bothered by is the fact that the doctors normally have very limited visiting hours. For example, Mondays 9:00am to 12:00pm and 3:00pm to 5:00pm and then Thursdays from 3:00pm to 5:00pm….and that’s it… Ummm I believe that adds up to 7 hours a week that they are available???? On that note, people end up starting to line up at 1:00pm when the doctor comes in at 3:00pm because there are just sooo many people that end up coming that you end up waiting for two hours anyways. It is solely walk in, thus, no appointments can be made ahead of time. And then, they don’t normally have a nurse. So you get there and there is no front desk and no sign-in sheet. So, for any new person that arrives, they always have to yell out, “Chi è l’ultimo?” (Who is the last one?) because you have to make sure you know who you are after. I don’t know, maybe I am being a little difficult, or just use to the process we have back in the States, but don’t you think our process makes a little more sense? Sure, I get that they might not want to have a full-time nurse, but a simple sign-in sheet would be effective. On a brighter note, most doctors do house calls which is great if you are really ill, but of course, within the hours that they are “available” to come.

In regards to the pharmacy, I have yet to find a 24 hour pharmacy. I guess I should assume they would be scarce or nonexistent since they close for three to four hours every afternoon (1:00pm to 4:00pm) so surely they aren’t going to consider being open for 24 hours right? But then a lot of them are closed on Sundays as well. Ok, here I go again being completely use to what we have in the States but what if you have an emergency or your baby isn’t well at night and you need to go get medicine? Notwithstanding, you basically have to be prepared, suck it up and brave the storm, or go to the hospital. Oh, and forget about having your physician call in your prescriptions, you have to go to the doctor’s office during office hours, wait in the long line of patients, and go in to ask the doctor to write it up. =/

Hopefully I don’t come off as just complaining…. This is me adjusting and educating you. =) What can I say? The luxuries we have as Americans…. Oh and I can’t wait to tell you how they use the saying, “Vuoi fare Americano?” (You want to be American or You want to do as the Americans do) all the time…. That actually cracks me up and I am slowly beginning to see how true it is… =)

Ciao ciao!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Oh My, From Los Angeles to Vitulazio...

What better place to start then to tell you about my new hometown here. First of all, I cannot tell you how many people are thrown off when I tell them I am originally from Los Angeles. It usually is the same reaction and goes a little like this...

Italian: "Oh where are you from?"
Me: "I am American. I'm from Los Angeles"
Italian: (looks confused and a little afraid to say another word then hesitantly says as if it's taboo...) "But... you don't look American....not your origin...."
Me: (after losing a little patience by the hesitation and waiting for them to finish their sentence so I can clarify the mystery once again) "Yes, I am Chinese, but I was born in America and have lived there all my life."
Italian: "Oh okay" (blows a sigh of relief that the mystery has been solved, yet still feels a little peculiar) "Oh my, from Los Angeles to Vitulazio, what a crazy turn of events to end up in our little city..."

Yeh... welcome to my world here. I have to always remember that they are a small town and given the fact that they are not use to foreigners or tourists, these things aren't normal to them. And of course, I can't blame them for automatically assuming I am Chinese and should be from China... I guess.... ?

So back to the lovely little town Vitulazio that I now call home and is where my husband grew up. Now let me put on my "Tour Guide" hat and give you a little summary...

Vitulazio is located in Southern Italy in the province of Caserta and region of Campania. It is situated about 20 km away from the busy streets of Naples. Population stands at about 5600 people and covers an area of 22 km (8.8 square miles). *You like how I have also converted to the metric system here?* Life would seriously be easier if we all had the same measurements... sigh... So basically... even UCLA is bigger than this town and has more students by like 6 times or more.... you will get to know me better and realize that I like to compare towns and cities to UCLA to get a good idea of the size. =)

Anyways, I have to say every day is a challenge for me. I get really self-conscious when people stare... My friends always tell me it's because they are curious, but I have a hard time getting use to it. However, for the people that I do know, they are the most friendly and sweetest people I know. There is definitely character in this little town and a lot of adjustment for me coming from a big city, but the fact that you have everything just downstairs from you is awesome. I've got a little mini market 50 meters away from me with all the food staples I need and fresh vegetables and fruits. And right under me is a fish shop (Pescheria) that has fresh fish everyday. It's pretty great.

You can really tell that they still have whole-hearted traditions and family values here and are not corrupted or diluted from the big cities which is quite comforting. Coming from a very tight-knit family myself, it's great to still have that here. I absolutely enjoy learning all the Italian traditions and my mother-in-law is so great at telling me stories... but I will save that for another blog. I think my adjustment here will be a challenge for a while but it is a good challenge. I like to think that this truly is an experience that will make me a stronger person in many ways and I am glad I can share my journey with you all. Will write soon.... Un bacione...

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Benvenuti to my Blog!

Hey everyone,

First of all I would like to introduce myself... My name is Anna and I am originally from Los Angeles, California. Born, raised, and proud Angelino. I currently live in Italy and have lived here for almost two years now after getting married to my husband who is Italian. So let me rewind back a bit to get you up to speed….

So in the last quarter before graduating from UCLA, I decided I wanted to study abroad before entering that wonderful world of work and officially growing up. I went to Siena, Italy in the Fall of 2003 expecting to come back wiser and more worldly and of course having the time of my life in a different country all on my own! My friends would joke that I would find love in Europe with another student on the program when love failed me back home, whereas for me, after a really long time of wanting to fall in love…. I just wanted to leave everything behind, including my search for love, and just live for myself. Ironically, I found love there! When people say it will come when you least expect it, believe me, it’s true! It could not have caught me more off guard.

I met my husband on the very first night I was enrolled in my program at Siena. I barely met my roommates and saw my apartment and went out for a night on the town with them to explore our new home. The rest is history you can say…. I call it destiny…

Now, here we are at almost seven years together and almost two years into our marriage. =) So now that you are caught up, I can finally explain what made me decide to create a blog. Living in Italy and leaving my life in L.A. has been nothing less than a roller coaster of an adventure. It is not easy and I figured that creating a blog would be sort of therapy for me as well as allowing others out there to hear my story and maybe learn a thing or two.

This blog is dedicated to my family and friends back home who I miss dearly, for those romantics who should never give up on love, for expats who are brave enough to move to another country and can relate to me, for those students who choose to study abroad, for those who want to and have come to Italy for vacation, for those who find an interest in other cultures, for those who want to get some yummy Italian recipes and for those who are curious enough to just want to share in my adventures. I hope that I can inspire, educate, and/or entertain my audience. Part of me has always wanted to be a writer or at least put my crazy mind on paper and here is my chance… Stay tuned for my blogs which will range all over the spectrum from serious to frivolous, informative to random, but most of all – helpful in some way….

Ci sentiamo presto!