Expat life: Looking forward, looking back

Having family split over 3 countries can lead to a bit of chaos, especially when a baby's due date is part of the planning.  New jobs and the ability to finally have our belongings sent from Italy, plus the travel blogging, meant that we've taken more than one flight over the last few months.

Still, it worked out all right.  We have a brand new nephew, whom Dario got to visit a few times before flying back to Cork.  I'm not a big fan of babies or children in general – animals are more my speed – but I was very glad to watch as happiness lit up the faces of proud parents and grandparents.  Watching our niece exclaim "Più piccolo!" ("Smaller!") over her new brother was a treat, too.

radiant  nipotino!











Moving to another country is not as immediately exciting as travel for travel's sake.  Some of the logistics involved are the same, however: plane tickets, baggage allowance, accommodations, travel and medical insurance, etc.  Though I'd venture to say the anticipation is even greater, in some respects.


If you're bouncing around deciding upon where to become an expat,
remember to take care of your body and get some medical travel insurance.
Gotta stay healthy if you want to eat those scones!

This time around, for example, we already have big plans to see more of Ireland and take lots of road trips.  I guess what I'm getting at is that moving is like a bigger, messier, yet ultimately more fun version of the week-long excursions we typically plan.  Woohoo for expat-ness!

As the days to Ireland liftoff counted down, Dario and I talked a lot about what we were looking forward to and what we would miss.  The first two items were food-related, naturally: scones in Ireland and tomatoes in Italy.  Of course, there is a lot more to love in both places, but that's the first thing that sprang to mind.  I've compiled two lists, in no particular order, of other things we discussed.


Things I Love In Ireland:

tea and sconestea and scones in Cork, Ireland
– friends
– the River Lee
– luminescent green fields
– pubs
you know, next to the road, all picturesque-liketrad music
– our car!

– "Thanks a million!"  "Oh, yer grand!"  "Hey, lads!"
– people who look like me
– ocean, rivers, and leetle waterfalls
– delicate wildflowers among the gorse
– Atlantic-caught seafood
– Beara
– privacy
– quiet chats
– bookstores
butter, cream, milk  …Oh, Irish dairy products!
– cuddling without melting



Rolling green hills and SHEEP!  :D


*splat!*Things Miss About Italy:

– delicious tomatoes
– scorching hot summer days
thermal baths
– Mamma's homemade Italian food
– local wine
– lack of body shame (ALL women wear bikinis!)
– bidets  …There is no hiney like a clean hiney!
– sleeping "in the altogether"
– stylish interior decor
the Colosseum
– the cat
– the dog  …A home without a dog is just a house.
– cheap and delicious fruits and veggies
dinner and a show– mountains
– speaking exuberantly and with great passion
– volcanoes
– eating dinner in the garden
– the entire neighborhood (city, region, peninsula?) cheering during a football match


Can't see the video?  Watch it on YouTube: http://youtu.be/1ZrtWe7kxxw


It's probably worth pointing out that some of these things are quite particular to our situation.  I know, for example, that there is plenty of ocean around Italy, thankyouverymuch.  The thing is, our car is in Ireland and the family lives quite a ways inland.  We managed to see the Mediterranean on our trips to Naples and Venice, but had no chance to go for a dip.  Alas, alack!

In any case, we can, and likely will, visit Italy often.  So we're not exactly giving it all up.  If anything, I think we're getting the best of both worlds.


Where are you coming from & where are you going?


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  1. We went to Scotland after spending two weeks in Italy and yeah… we really noticed the difference! Both had their positive points but the weather could not have been more in Italy’s favour… and the food lol. I’ll have to make it to Ireland eventually though!

    1. I have yet to make it to Scotland, though I have been feeling the pull more strongly as of late. Surprisingly enough, I actually like haggis, so I think I’ll be just fine in the food department. ;)

  2. We only buy Irish butter, it’s miles better than anything local (sorry, Texan dairies!) I wish we could get Italian tomatoes :(

    The way I see it, the B side of the expat life is that you find yourself constantly missing something from the last place you lived in or from home. I find it can be a bit distressing sometimes.

    1. Yeah, it can be. On the other hand, if you’re in a good spot for traveling, it’s not such a big deal. This time around, we’ll be in a better position to set off for spontaneous weekend trips. Craving tapas? Head to Spain! Desperate for mint tea? Hop a plane to Morocco! ;)

  3. One day I’ll get to both of those places… too many spots and not enough money…

    1. Hurry up, lady! We’ll show you all the scone-ing hot spots! Oh, and bear and whiskey, too. ;)

  4. so would love to see Italy and Ireland! Both places sound fantastic ;)
    I have been to England but that was when I was 18, young, not married and not a Mummy – now I cant wait to see many places and show our boys what life is really about!

    1. Ha! The first place outside of N. America that I visited was the UK, but I was 8. Still, it did have an incredible impact on me. So similar, yet so different. I’m glad I got to travel when I was young, even if only a little bit. It’s great that you want to travel with your boys!

  5. I have wanted to live in Italy for a long, long time, so I can imagine that there are many things there you will miss. I’m sure Ireland will be very different and there will be many positive aspects to living there!

    1. Well, this is my second time ’round for both places. I am generally of the opinion that Italy is a wonderful place to visit, but not a great place to live (Dario concurs). The infrastructure is just too degraded and bound up in red tape. For instance, we had to move out of a place once because, after 6 months, the gas still hadn’t been turned on. The Italian appreciation of enjoyment, along with all of the things there are to enjoy here, is wonderful. But every day life is often terribly frustrating.

      The first time we moved to Ireland, our Irish friends would complain up a storm about the inefficiencies of the system and how terrible the roads were. We always laughed. “Ah, that’s just because you’ve never lived in Italy!” We sent in paperwork to a gov’t office and it had been mailed back within a week. We were over the moon! ;)

      Anyway, if you’ve always longed to do something, go ahead and do it. I really enjoyed my first year or so in Italy. Everything was so new and fabulous and fascinating. It was a great education, for sure!

  6. I totally relate to this. I’m always sad to leave places I love, een if I’m going to another place to love. I can see why leaving Italy would be bittersweet, but Ireland is pretty awesome!

    1. Actually, at this very moment it’s mostly sweet. I’m totally looking forward to being somewhere cooler! 11:30 pm and 79°F/26°C. Eesh! ;)

  7. Ah goodbyes are bitter-sweet, but I think we will always return to places we really love!

    1. I think the jam and cream on my future scones will go a long way toward mitigating the bitter part of bitter-sweet! ;)

  8. Oh, but you can always go back to the Italian tomatoes. Next summer perhaps, for holidays!

    1. It’s true. We tried to eat tomatoes in Ireland – tried and tried! – but they are just so anemic. I think we’ll stick with canned this time around. But really, who needs tomatoes when you have SCONES? :D

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