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Gia-Gina Across the Pond

So I've decided to follow my husband to his native Italy. Follow our adventures as we eat, drink, travel, adapt to and explore this remarkable country. Part food blog, part photo blog but mostly my rants and raves. After our two years in Italy, we relocated across the Atlantic "pond" and are back in the States.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

My First Year in Italy

The end of February marks my first year in Italy. So many things have happened, so many things have not happened, so many things have yet to happen, my journey is in no way complete. “A very wise friend here in Torino, who is blonde and works in opera, (hint, hint), once said to me, “We live here and don’t we owe it ourselves to TRY, and make life livable and enjoyable?” My answer is a resounding “YES.” And so I have put my nose to the grindstone to improve all the things I can, and deal with the ones I can’t in a “Don’t-let-it-Drive-you-Crazy-Way.”

Things I love about Italy:

-little family run shops on every corner
-coffee is made really fast
-when someone says “cara” to me when I enter their shop. “Cara” means “sweetie”. Usually older women say this.
-my bread shop and pastry shop will let me pay another day if I don’t have enough money
-the automated video store
-flower stands at every corner
-my friends and in-laws
-my dog is allowed everywhere and I am credited with his great behavior
-the convenience of having a custode-someone that takes care of your building. She bring up packages, has an extra key and keep the place spic and span, not to mention doggie sits and cat sits for us.
-real Italian food
-I like being called Signora
-when grandparents pick up their kids from school
-the variety in the different regions of Italy

Things I don’t love about Italy: (this list keeps getting smaller):

-pedestrians have no rights
-red tape
-when people ask me if I am really American because I have Chinese eyes
-when people pull their eyes into slits to demonstrate they know what Asian eyes look like, as if I did not know.
-too much honking
-customer service can be very bad
-many things are more expensive that in the U.S. like appliances
-shops close to early and are not open on Sunday
-too many rules and regulations
-too much taxation
-long lines at the doctors’ office

Things I miss about the U.S.:

-Whole Foods-a grocery store chain and their giant homemade cinnamon/pecan buns
-Uwajimaya-a great oriental grocery in Seattle
-Chinese food,
-Thai food
-Vietnamese food
-my family, my friends
-my job
-20/20, Dateline NBC and Jeopardy
-my garden
-the 4 parking spaces I had right in front of my house
-the drive thru pharmacy at my drug store
-the dog park
-the conservatory at Volunteer park
-super clean streets
-great public parks that are well taken care of
-wonderful outdoor trails, managed by a fantastic park system

Things I don’t miss about the U.S.:

-the threat of guns in road rage incidents
-the “go-go” lifestyle
-the rain and mist of Seattle
-too much fast food all over the place

I am sure I am leaving something out but for now. I think this is it. I still miss the US but am liking my life here more and more. Is it Zen time?

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At 5:10 AM, Anonymous Kristy said...

I have read throughout most of the past year and I have never lived in Italy but I think you have been fair about all of your observations. I think you're a strong person to move your life acoss the ocean to a new and foreign place. I think you have done so successfully! Thanks for sharing for those of us that may never have the opportunity to know what it's like to move to Italy. :)

At 5:26 AM, Blogger Bryan said...

Gia, Congrats on your 1 yr in Italy - we will start our year next month. Your food photos make my mouth water.

At 5:35 AM, Anonymous island girl said...

Happy First Year Anniversary in Italy!!!! I have really enjoyed your blog, your observations and your friendship. I am also coming up on my first year in N.C. in a couple of months though it's no comparison to living abroad. I can't wait to read more of your adventures!

At 7:00 AM, Blogger Cynthia Rae said...

TANTI AUGURI GINA on your first year in Italy! In the short time that we have become friends, I have noiticed a huge change in your feelings towards Italy. I hope things get better and better with each passing day. As time goes by, the homesickness starts to heal (that is when I really started enjoying my new life here). Although we will always have our "what I miss about America list".

You are wonderful person and I wish you all the best.


At 7:05 AM, Blogger Gia-Gina said...

Thank you everyone for your kind words. Moving is stressful there is no question about it, it's up there with a death in the family and losing a job, I have to thank my husband, my family and my friends for seeing me through, you are all gems!

At 9:19 AM, Blogger S* said...

Ciao Gina,

I chanced upon your blog when I was going through the forum pages at the Italy Expat site - I've lived here in Torino for a year too! Except my husband's French not Italian, so BOTH of us have had to struggle to adjust to the move here.

I really do understand the pain involved in explaining who you are - try explaing (in not very good Italian) that Singapore is not a province of China (or Japan) but an ex-British colony populated by Chinese migrants and our first language is English, and you'll get the idea.

Anyways, this is my email address:
sharon.thibault@gmail.com - we can exchange more gripes and small celebrations.


At 10:19 AM, Blogger Tiff said...

Let me say: Tanti auguri!! I know there were times when it was hard, but you made it!

"-when people ask me if I am really American because I have Chinese eyes
-when people pull their eyes into slits to demonstrate they know what Asian eyes look like, as if I did not know."

I don't really think these are isolated to Italy. Especially the second one* And even in America, some people seem to have a hard time believing I am not from somewhere else, or at least born somewhere else. As if Asian people can't have kids on any continent other than Asia.

But maybe there is just more ignorance about that in Italy than over here and I just haven't experienced it.

*Though neither of our eyes are slits anyway! I think you have very round eyes at that, not small at all.

At 10:06 AM, Blogger L said...

When I read your posts, it sounds like you've been in Italy longer than a year. You seem to adapt quite well!

I can't believe people still do the eye slit thing. I mean, it's 2006! People should know better. And besides, you have large eyes for an Asian person.

At 11:08 PM, Anonymous Laurie said...

I though I had posted this but it disappeared. TANTI AUGURI GINA! You are an inspiration to me and to many others....I stand in awe and am so proud of your determination and courage..... thank you for sharing this with so many of us who need to hear what you have to say....(even on the bad days!) much love to you....


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