The Puppetinos Move to Italy (the movie trailer!)

Ciao Readers!

So, it appears I broke my little toe last week and, while this is not a life-threatening injury by any means, it does make getting around (or even to school) pretty unmanageable (remember, 4th floor, no car).  This means I haven’t really gone anywhere or done anything of note, unless of course “going stir crazy” counts.  Yesterday, in an effort to ward off the urge to hop out of the house, in addition to baking the lemon-almond cake yet again (it is seriously good, you really should try it!), Steve and I started goofing around with our earlier “Puppetinos” idea.  (You may recall, when we turned down being on “House Hunters International,” we acted out a smart alek-y episode with puppets.)

So, dear Readers, without further ado….here they are, starring in their very first movie (well, trailer)……. The Puppetinos!!!

Expat Friendships (musings, a question to other expats, and a poll)

Ciao Readers!

I have been spending quite a bit of time thinking and reading about being an “expat.”  Now, what differentiates an “expat” from an “immigrant” is an entire other discussion, so for our purposes I’m using “expat” to mean someone who changes countries more from desire than need.  In any case, the psychology of expats is very interesting – why do we do it?  what are are psyches like in our our new country?  should we be a diagnoses in the DSM-5?  (I’ve actually been toying with the idea of eventually writing a scholarly paper on the topic.)  But for now, one area in particular has me puzzled….friendships.

Soon after we arrived and I started attending events with other expats, I noticed people seemed to be fairly concerned with figuring out whether I was a short or long-termer.  Apparently, as I’ve discovered from talking to enough folks, this is a pretty common phenomenon.  In the world of expats people come and go and some folks are very weary of “wasting” time with someone who might be gone 6 months from now.  I find it really strange, though I have read about it on several people’s blogs I like/respect (some examples here and here).  Nothing I’ve read however really explains it in a way I can fully wrap my brain around – it’s usually about the pain of people leaving, but there’s got to be more to it than that (or not?)….

Personally, I have already had this experience happen twice – I have met two lovely women, each of whom was just here for a short period of time.  While they were here we had great fun – walks and talks and lunches and dinners and soakings in the rain.  Maybe you’re different, but I don’t have a zillion friends, so when I meet cool people I want to hang out with all I can think is “yay!”   They are both gone now (one home to CA, the other to continue her/her hubby’s adventure in Turkey, now Botswana).  Do I wish they were still here?  Of course!  Am I sad they are gone?  No doubt!  Would I ever turn back the clock and un-meet them?  Not in a million years!!!   How amazing to have made new friends, have more folks to commiserate with on Skype, get to learn about countries I know nothing about, get cool little gifts from California and Turkey, and so on.  So, here are my queries to expats and non expats:

Expats:  If you subscribe to the “I only make friends with people staying _____ long” philosophy, can you help me understand that point of view?  Or if you have any insight at all, would love to hear it!

Non-expats:  What do you think:

Behind the Scenes of an Expat Blog

Ciao Readers!

Today is one of those “words only” posts where instead of photos of food and fun you get an unsolicited peek into my psyche.  As always, I’m giving you fair warning in case you’d like to stop reading now…

I’ve been an “expat” going on 5 months now, though I’ve been writing this blog for about 9.  In that time I’ve gotten a pretty good look into the world of expats and their blogs (and have succumb to some of the associated pitfalls).  When you’re an expat with a blog you are simultaneously trying to digest a huge life-altering experience while providing information and/or entertainment to your readers.  The trend I have seen (and am guilty of) is that you want to be upbeat and portray your new home in a positive light.  The reasons are many – you want to appear well-adjusted, you want to be gracious to your new home, you don’t want to scare your readers away with orneriness, or, maybe you really do find your new home to be a utopian paradise.  However, from my experiences meeting the expats behind the blogs, their reality never quite matches what I’ve read on their blogs.  Here’s my own personal example – I feel like every time I try and vent/gripe, I get comments reminding me I get to live in Italy, that the food/art/[insert cool thing] here are fabulous, and so on.  What I have learned from this is that people don’t want to hear me gripe.  As a result, I only write blog posts when I am in an upbeat mood and have had a positive experience.  The product is a blog that, while true in its content, is a bit misleading in its silence.  Even when I do speak about unpleasant things, I tend to underplay them (like when I said I was “under the weather” over the break, that was to spare you all from reading about how Exorcist-like sick I really was).  Today I read a woman’s blog that made me want to break the silence…

The blog is written by an expat who has been here 11 years, so her ruminations are not a result of initial culture shock.  I recommend the entire post, but she explains the difficulties of living in Italy in a nutshell when she says:

“[L]iving in Italy is like wearing impossibly high heels–it’s lovely at times, even sexy, but completely impractical. And I don’t mean it’s impossible to live here–just impractical. It takes the mettle of a Joan of Arc to slash your way into the fabric of life in the Bel Paese.  What Italy offers–lavishly, deliciously–is culture, of course. Art litters the landscape like weeds. History oozes from every brick. The cult of the table has been well-noted by the gobbling hordes, and though mediocrity is fast becoming the norm in tourist meccas like Florence, in most of the country you can still get a stupendous meal wherever you happen to flop. And meals have a lovely way of unfolding here that feels very civilized, indeed. But for me, one of the hallmarks of a civilized society is the dignity allowed humans in the performing of life’s most basic functions (i.e. paying bills, peeing, grocery shopping, strolling about town–granted, an eclectic litmus, but nevertheless indicative)–and here, my friends, is where Italy fails miserably.”  (Letters from Florence, 2011).

I found not only this post, but much of her blog equally honest and intelligent and it made me want to persist in interspersing some deeper thoughts in with my food-filled-photos.  I don’t know this blogger, but from people’s blogs you sometimes get a sense that they’re a person you’d like to meet.  For example, the folks from goal42 have their entire travel budget right on their blog for everyone to see.  I found the openness surprising/refreshing and “liked” the post, which led to an e-mail, a meeting, and a friendship (unfortunately, they are now in Turkey en route to Africa!).   So, I am pretty sure there is more of a purpose to this blog than purely entertainment.   Or, maybe this is just the kind of post you get when I write after spending 1.5 hours waiting at the health office followed by an hour at the laundromat as opposed to following a lovely lunch with a 1/2 litre of vino…

Funny thing is, the next scheduled post IS about food…until next time…

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