Thanks 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?
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.
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.