The Italian Connection

IMG_20171024_091959645_HDR.jpgThanks to my terrible procrastination from lesson planning, I’ve recently come across a few other (much more professional) fellow English speaking expats blogging about Italy. You should definitely check them out: I’ve been following La Brutta Figure for a while now, leading to a long list of Tuscan villages to visit and a huge envy for her photography skills. Thanks to her link, I came across the #dolcevitabloggers, organised by three other incredible Italian-focused bloggers: Kelly, Jasmine, and Kristie. Seriously, check them out. They have come up with the awesome idea to connect all of us Italian enthusiasts, and the first theme is Italian connection. So what’s mine?

Unlike most of the other #dolcevitabloggers posts I’ve read, I don’t have a lifetime of passion for Italy. Really, it was purely luck and coincidence…

I arrived in Italy over three years ago as a completely lost, unsuspecting, recent literature graduate. I’d studied very basic Italian as an extra at university, and obviously heard all the famous stories of il bel paese: the food, the wine, the art, and the men. With no plans on how to start a normal career, I was lucky enough to find a beautiful Italian family who were trusting enough to let me look after their adorable one year old daughter: what better way to see a country and absorb its culture than living with a native family?

I spent nine incredible months seeing every city I could manage in a day trip from Lake Garda, finally discovering a love for red wine (two weeks in Italy was enough to wipe away a lifetime of dislike), and reaching a conversational level of Italian. It was an emotional goodbye, involving me trying not to cry on the almost two year olds’ shoulder. But I’d had my gap year experience, and that was that, right?img-20150630-wa0009.jpg

Well, not exactly. One stressful office job and six months later, the family asked if I could return just for a few months until summer, since their new aupair had to return early to England. I handed my notice in before any confirmation.

Did I forget to mention that I met a nerdy, rather dashing librarian just two weeks before going back to England? Well, I messaged him with the news of my return. We met in both our favourite Irish pub on my first night back (also Saint Paddy’s day, so the best setting), and with a little thanks to a smooth-working mutual friend who was far more forward than either of us, we were dating within a couple of weeks.

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We spend a lot of time in medieval castles

Skip forward a year and a half and I’m still working for the same family (who now have two semi bilingual daughters), soon to be living with said Italian nerd, and slowly increasing my teaching work with the hopes of making it full-time in the next year.

I’m ever improving my Italian which has become all the more important with the view of permanent residency here, and somehow still finding unexpected castles and exquisite view points in the land I can now call home.

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23 Responses to The Italian Connection

  1. Kelly says:

    Ciao! I am so thrilled that you have joined us for #DolceVitaBloggers!!! This was my dream & intention for creating this community…to discover and get to know other Italy loving bloggers & vloggers like you! I am so happy I discovered your blog!

    It’s so funny how you described some of those stereotypical Italian men…I call them the “Ciao Bella” Italians. Your librarian (how cool is that?! I am a total book nerd) seems just like mine…the total opposite of a “ciao bella” Italian (and hence what attracted me to mine).

    P.S. Come ti chiami? Sei di inglaterra?

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    • sarahjoy says:

      Ciao! I’m so glad I found it, it really is a brilliant idea, and I didn’t realise how many of us there were. So thank you!

      Aha that description fits them perfectly! Luckily it only took me a few of them before I found one who held his “ciao bella”s for when we were properly dating (though I won’t lie, even now I sometimes find it a little cheesy). And yes, the librarian thing was a big attraction for me too! Even better, he now works in a bookshop so brings home discounted books all the time.

      Mi chiamo Sarah, e si sono d’inghilterra. Tu sei americana vero? Abiti qua in italia o in America?

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  2. mammaprada says:

    Hi Sarah! Thank you for linking up! I love this story of how you just didn’t plan to end up in Italy but it’s been so life changing! I love a nerdy guy as well. Much better than the overly confident ones who are really no use at all! 🙂 Where are you based in the UK? Thank you for sharing and being so enthusiastic about the link up. Kelly and I have been wondering about doing this for about a year! And now I think we’re pretty amazed that there are so many of us and that it’s such a great little community! Look forward to reading more of your posts! Kristie xx

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    • sarahjoy says:

      Hi! I’m from Redditch, near Birmingham, but I live on Garda Lake permanently now and tend to go home just for the holidays 🙂 are you and your Italian man based in England? Thanks for creating this link up, I’m loving finding so many like-minded people! Such a great idea xx

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  3. Thank you so much for the mention Sarah, what a lovely surprise!! So I take it you’re still in the Lake Garda area? Lucky you! Like your comment about red wine, I feel so sorry for people who don’t like wine here…they’re missing so much! Good luck with your move and with your English teaching 🙂 Looking forward to reading more of your blog!

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    • sarahjoy says:

      No problem, I found your blog a few months ago and especially love the posts about all the unique, off the track villages in Italy. And you have such an incredible way of describing them that I can picture them perfectly. Yes, I live near Desenzano and hoping to stay! What part of Italy do you live in? Aha I know, I can’t believe I didn’t like it for so long, I wish I’d discovered Italian red wine sooner! Thank you 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Ishita says:

    Ciao cara!! So lovely to read your story and know more about your Italian connection. It is amazing how this community has grown. I hope to write my Italian connection soon. Baci da India!

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  5. questadolcevitablog says:

    Hey!!! We need to meet up! I read you’re on Lake Garda so that’s kinda close to me in Bergamo. Love me all the Italians, nerdy or stereotypical smooth talkers ahaha. Mine is a bit of both actually, he looks like the latter but is a bit nerd at heart being an ingegnere and all! Love your story and will be following your adventures for sure. Garda is gorgeous and we go there often in the summers so I’m sure some red wine chats are in order! Sidenote, please contribute to my love stories series as well when you have time! I publish them every Monday! Welcome to #DolceVitaBloggers xox.

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    • sarahjoy says:

      I would love to! Bergamo is such a beautiful city, I’ve visited a couple of times and I felt like I was in a fairytale land in the upper city. Haha you’ve got a great mix there! You’ll have to let me know when you visit!
      I’ve been making my way through some of your posts today, sorry for all the comments! I would love to contribute to the love stories. I just answer the 8 questions and send it over to you? xx

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  6. Hey yes can you send me an e-mail to questadolcevitablog(at)gmail.com? And I will send you all the info! By the way, what’s your Instagram? Do I have you on mine? I was tagging people in my last post but I don’t think I guessed your account name right…!

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    • sarahjoy says:

      Sure, I’ve just sent an email. And I don’t have instagram :O sorry! Photography is not my strong point with the terrible camera on my phone aha

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  7. Angela says:

    Ahhh! I love it!!! Is that Sirmione castle??? 😍🖤

    Angela

    http://www.angela-williams.org

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    • sarahjoy says:

      Thanks! And its not, although Sirmione castle is one of my favourite places here! The second picture is Brescia castle, and the third I honestly can’t remember :O we went on a road trip with friends and stopped at some incredible medieval villages, unfortunately I can’t remember all the names! Hopefully I’ll go back so I can do a proper review of it

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  8. It sounds like you’ve found a lovely Italian family! I’m so glad you were able to come back to Italy, cause once you’ve been here it’s hard to just let it go, isn’t it? I hope you’re able to get full time work 🙂

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    • sarahjoy says:

      Thank you! It really is, too many little Italian ways of life that you can’t let go of. And thanks, I’m crossing everything and trying to stay positive 🙂

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  9. fkasara says:

    Ciao Sarah, I’m Sara! 😁
    I enjoyed your story very much! I read in a comment above that you live in Desenzano…I’m from the province of Vicenza, not very far from you!
    I’ve checked a couple of your blog posts, your pov is very interesting! I will surely follow you 🙂

    Ciao, a presto ❤

    Like

    • sarahjoy says:

      Hi Sara! Thank you so much 🙂 I enjoyed your story too; I can’t believe you’re Italian though, your English is so good! I visited the city of Vicenza a couple of years ago, it’s an incredible place. If I get time to revisit I might have to ask you for some recommendations 🙂 and if you’re ever by the lake let me know!

      A presto

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      • fkasara says:

        Oh thank you 🙏 *blush* But I’m not that good, I spot mistakes when I proofread my articles 😫 I’m glad you enjoyed Vicenza! Not many people know about it! I will surely let you know when I am in the neighbourhood! Ciao!

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  10. Such a lovely story! I enjoy reading stories of people who aren’t connected to Italy by blood but have somehow become entwined in the country and the culture. I wish you all the best with your Italian nerd. P.S – I totally understand procrastinating from lesson planning (I’m doing the same thing right now hahaha)

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    • sarahjoy says:

      Thank you! Aha I’m glad I’m not the only one! I always convince myself that if its blog related at least its still slightly productive 😉

      Like

  11. Hey!! Our story is kind of but not really similar.. ahaha I came to Italy because I met an Italian girl in high school and I became an au pair to immerse myself in the culture! I’ve been to Garda lake before- it’s not too far from me in Torino! I stopped au pairing and started studying here in Italy! I would love to meet up sometime xo

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    • sarahjoy says:

      Oh cool! I’ve only been to Torino once but didn’t really see the city as I went for a book fair, I really should find time to go again and see it properly! Yeah I’d love to meet up 🙂 feel free to message me on facebook – facebook.com/sarah.hadden.92 x

      Like

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