Finally, we’re back in Italy as of a few weeks ago. And, we’re really happy about it.
We had to leave for the summer due to visa reasons. Well, Kamea and I didn’t have to leave because we’re in the middle of applying for our Italian dual citizenship, but Greg can’t apply until I get mine (as my spouse).
Therefore, we had to leave because he couldn’t stay.
Obvs, I was eager to get back. Italy is amazing. A little piece of my heart (or, rather, a big piece) was back in Italy while we traveled to Ireland and Bulgaria during the summer months.
And since we’ve been traveling like nomads pretty much since March of 2018, I’m a little eager to settle down. Now that we’re here, we’re doing just that.
Update On Our Italian Dual Citizenship Goal
It’s progressing nicely. For starters we’ve been able to get permission from the police headquarters here for Greg to stay while we’re processing my citizenship papers. That’s a relief because we don’t need to come and go anymore from Italy.
The other amaze-balls thing is that my paperwork continues to progress, getting the necessary approvals and verifications along the way. We’ve only one more approval to secure – the town where my great grandfather was born. They need to verify that he was indeed born there, even though they already sent us a copy of his birth certificate for the application. Mamma Mia!
Meanwhile, we’re living up the life in Italy. Indulging in the food, embracing the culture, and taking courses.
This picture pretty much sums it up regarding Italian community culture. Yes, please.
I’m back in the kitchen and I’m experimenting with Italian cuisine (yes, that means pasta!). Funny thing, though, as a kid growing up with pasta I would eat a huge plate of it, then find myself noshing on the stuff cold from the fridge in the middle of the night. But in Italy, a serving of pasta is not quite like that.
So, I bought a scale to serve proper amounts. I also bought a nice pasta pot. You know, a pot with a strainer insert for making pasta? I thought it made sense to buy one.
Well, when I was walking home with my prized possession last week I bumped into my Ukrainian neighbor (they’ve lived in Italy 11 years).
Always eager to practice my Italian, I told her I bought a pasta pot.
She asked why?
Ummm… to make pasta, I told her.
And you know what she did? She nearly busted a gut laughing. I’m still trying to figure out why she laughed so hard. Who knows, maybe something got lost in translation. Don’t people use pasta pots for boiling pasta?
Anyway, I made pasta for four days in a row using recipes from a couple of my favorite books on Italian cuisine: Eating My Way Through Italy and Eating Rome, while using solid information from one of my favorite books on cooking in general, Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat. <— Get that book. You’re welcome.
The Carnivore Diet vs The Fuck It Diet
Some of you might wonder what happened to my carnivore diet. Eh, well, I still eat a lot of meat and a lot of the day is animal products (eggs, yogurt, cappuccino – the milk part lol, mozzarella, prosciutto, etc).
But, well, I’m in Italy… and I’m also
conveniently following some principles of the Fuck It Diet. That’s an interesting book I recommend. It opens your mind, giving you some stuff to think about. Basically, it flies in the face of everything I have done in my life regarding diet. Of course, an experimenter at heart, I’m trying the principles in it.
Ergo – pasta.
However, eating pasta four days in a row didn’t agree 100% with my digestive system. And since I’m all about listening to my body, the following days and nights were egg-cheese-n-beef-filled. :)
I Semi-Retired My Moka Pot.
I bought one of those little espresso pots for the stove back in the spring. I finally mastered that Moka pot, and then I semi-retired it. I learned to sort-of like the coffee coming from it. It’s cute and a common way to make coffee in the home in Italy.
But, it’s made from aluminum and I don’t fancy that.
There are some stainless steel versions but I decided to take the cost of one of those, add more money to it, and buy a proper espresso machine, complete with cappuccino-making abilities. After having espresso in the local bars it’s hard to jump up and down for the Moka creation.
My new BFF in the kitchen… err bathroom, as you’ll soon see, gets me much closer to that divine elixir offered in our favorite bars.
Though, I drink 3x as much coffee now.
But, they’re smaller cuz they’re espressso so that counts for something, right? To be
boring safe, however, I created a canister of coffee mixing regular and decaf so I don’t overdo the caffeine.
I went for this nice little machine, by DeLonghi.
The main priority was finding a quality machine small enough for my minimal kitchen counter space.
I needn’t have worried though because it turns out the plug doesn’t work in my kitchen outlet so my espresso machine is in the bathroom. Sitting on top of my washer.
At first, it was a bit weird (and kind of gross(?)) making espresso in the bathroom, but I quickly acclimated as I could get it made while brushing my teeth at the same time. I’m very efficient.
Activities for Kamea in Italy
A main goal in settling down for a bit is to allow Kamea to enroll in some extracurricular activities with other Italian kids. For this we decided on basketball and dance.
The awesome thing about extracurricular activities for kids in Italy is how cheap they are. And, they often let you try the classes for free to see if it’s a good fit for your kid. In the case of basketball, Kamea gets to try it twice a week… for a month! Ha!
Even when paying, each 60-90 minute activity (either basketball, dance, or other) is only about $6-$7. I don’t think I ever paid anywhere near that cheap in the U.S. She also went to summer camp for a couple of weeks here in Italy. You won’t believe what I paid… she was there from 9am to 5pm, Monday through Friday, and it cost me about $75 each week (for 5 days a week!) Only $75 for the whole week! I’m still giggling appreciatively.
Practicing Italian As If My Life Depended On It.
The main thing I’m doing with my days is learning Italian as if my life depended on it. And why? I don’t really know. I mean to say, I want to learn and it’s a huge goal, but the intensity to which I’m approaching it, I’m not sure why. After all, I’m not the one who has to take an exam – that’s Greg (required for his citizenship application).
I can’t help myself though. When I sit down to practice, I’m totally focused and trying like hell to remember it all perfectly, as if everything is on the line. Honestly, I don’t need to take this approach and I’m trying to chill out a bit. But… I can’t really help it.
I constantly think of things to say, and then I try them in Italian. Like… All. Day. Long.
I’m using Duolingo, watching Netflix shows dubbed in Italian, listening to Earworms (I love Earworms with Audible – so cheesy and yet quite helpful – it’s my “lazy” way to learn Italian.). Essentially, I take any and all opportunities to listen to something with Italian: podcasts, Italian music, Italian shows, English shows dubbed in Italian, Audible Earworms, etc.
What else? Oh, watching a shit-ton of YouTube videos, too.
I’m also talking with locals when I can. I even made an Italian friend who insists I speak Italian every time I see her. A two-hour long cafe rendezvous with her and I’m ready for a 2-hour recovery nap. Totally fried.
No wonder I’m tired and hitting up my new espresso machine all day long. It’s exhausting learning a language.
Drinking More Wine and Taking an Online Italian Wine Course
Pure enjoyment goal here: Drink wine.
As I read the many books on families expatriating to Italy, they’re always chatting up the wine. They describe leisurely lunches and dinners with a glass of wine (or carafe!). It’s my dream.
Unfortunately, or not, I’m a light weight and I don’t tolerate alcohol well. Especially wine.
But there’s a longing in me to get the better of this situation. I love the taste of wine. I love the history of it, the colors, and everything it means. I love how it pairs with food and elevates the whole dining experience. I love how regional it is, connecting you with the local land.
So, Greg found a really neat online course to teach us about Italian wines. We’re watching it together in the evenings and it’s just so darn fun. It’s taught me much after only a few episodes.
Slowly and surely I’m building up my tolerance.
- Cappuccino and Espresso – Two of My Favorite Things About Living in Italy (Italian Expat Life)
- Caffe Shakerato in Italy’s 100 Degree Heat – Italian Expat Life
- Italian Pastries Around the Corner – Living La Dolce Vita – Italian Expat Life
- Italian Dual Citizenship Accomplished! (My Expat Italian Life)
- 4 Kitchen Machines I Won’t Live Without