Posts Tagged ‘catanzaro’

Learning to Love Less

Tuesday, August 17th, 2010

By: Cherrye Moore

I was visiting good friends last summer in Texas-we were sitting at one of our favorite Mexican cantinas, sipping on frozen lime margaritas, talking about the good ‘ole days and catching up on the last few years.

“I just love Italy,” one of my peppy ex-Sorority sisters gushed. “I could soooo see myself living there.”

I smiled as she gazed dreamily out the window, no doubt imagining herself strolling to the weekly market each Monday, sipping on stout Italian wine in the evenings, spending her days-riding on a Gondola or dining outside the Colosseum. She exhaled, “It’s just such a beautiful country.”

Not wanting to burst her idealized bubble of the life I’m leading, I politely agreed-because it is true, Italy is a beautiful country-and kept quiet. But secretly I wondered … could she really live here?

As my southern Italian counterpart pointed out last week, you can’t uproot your life back home and replant that baby here in Italy. It is a whole new country world and while we love it here, we’ve definitely learned to live without some of the luxuries of our American lifestyles.

Here are three things I’ve learned to love less here in Calabria.expat life-starbucks

1. Variety

You often hear people say, “Italians love food,” when in fact, what they mean is, “Italians love Italian food.” Especially here in Calabria, diversity, restaurant variety-heck, even a foreign food shelf-are had to come by. I’ve learned to live with this by importing my must-haves, like Velveeta cheese and Starbuck’s vanilla syrup, kicking up my personal non-Italian food recipe list and creating variety in the Italian food we eat and love.

2. Instant Access

One of the hardest things for me to get used to-if one could say I’ve gotten used to it-is learning to live without the instant access we are accustomed to in the US. There are no 24-hour pharmacies-actually, even finding an open pharmacy on Saturday or Sunday is a challenge, customer service calls regularly go un-answered-even during “working” hours and paperwork can take years to get approved.

Still, I believe I can learn something from these would-be frustrating experiences-and that, my friends, is patience. Italy has taught me patience in a way I never could have learned in the United States … and for that, I’m thankful.

expat life-gadgets

3. The Latest Greatest

No doubt if I lived in the US, I’d be on the i(insert latest gadget here) bandwagon. Being in southern Italy, far from the peer pressure that comes with having an office job and well-paid friends, I’m sheltered, in a way, from needing to have the latest, greatest gadget. Many expats in Italy have other priorities and luckily, keeping up with Rossis, isn’t one of them.

Tina and I have weighed in-now it is your turn. What have you learned to live without in your expat adventures?

Cherrye Moore is an American freelance writer and Calabria tour consultant living in southern Italy. You can read more about living and traveling in Calabria at her site, My Bella Vita or visit her in person at her B&B in Catanzaro, Italy.

Photos: CarbonNYC and Ivyfield via Flickr

There’s More than Munchies in the Mezzogiorno

Thursday, August 5th, 2010

By: Cherrye Moore

Last week I wrote a post at my site, My Bella Vita, that was a spin-off of a post written here at ACC by my fellow expat-in-southern-Italy and travel blogging friend, Tina of Tina Tangos. My post, A Few Things to Love About Southern Italy caused quite a stir when it was posted on Facebook because, gosh darn it-three things to love just ain’t enough.

… or so they said.

Still, it is important to note that there are more than munchies in Italy’s Mezzogiorno. With that in mind, here are three southern Italy traditions I’ve grown to love!

1. Eating on Schedule

Yes, I said there are more than munchies, but that doesn’t mean food isn’t an integral part of our lives. Here in Calabria, we live (and die?) by our mealtime schedule. We have breakfast, lunch and dinner more or less at the same time every day-a routine I mourn for when stateside meals have me dashing through a Chic-Fil-A or filling up on frappuccinos.

Why is this important? I eat less and feel more satisfied here in Italy than I do when I’m in the states.

2. Walking is Expected

My husband was shocked the first time he visited me in Texas and noticed that I drove around a parking lot three times looking for a suitable spot.

“You just passed a row of empty places,” he told me.

“Yea,” I told him, oblivious to his intention. “But they are so far.”

“Cherrye,” he told me. “We are young … it’s not raining … we can walk.”

It seems obvious now, but willingness to walk is a cultural thing-one I’m glad I picked up on and have adapted into my life … even back home.

Just last Christmas, my mom, husband and I were rushing to finish our lists. We told Mom to drop us off on the street-because we could each walk where we needed to go quicker than we could battle pre-Christmas Eve traffic. She did. And yes, people looked at us strangely, but I’d gone to two stores and my husband had shopped in one in the same amount of time it took my mom to get through traffic and find a parking spot.

Why is this important? In addition to the obvious health benefits of walking , I feel stronger and have more energy when I walk often.

3. Finish up with Fruit

Ok, so maybe it *is* all about the food, but I love that we finish off every lunch and dinner with a serving of fresh fruit. Often this fruit is from our garden-oranges and mandarins in winter months, plums and figs in the summer, but sometimes we supplement with watermelon, cantaloupe, peaches, strawberries and cherries. Delizioso!

Why is this important? I’ve found eating fruit after each meal helps me stay full longer and since I’m on a schedule, it ensures I get enough fresh fruit each day.

Wbat are some of your favorite traditions, food-related or not, in your new country?

Cherrye Moore is an American freelance writer and Calabria tour consultant living in southern Italy. You can read more about living and traveling in Calabria at her site, My Bella Vita or visit her in person at her B&B in Catanzaro, Italy.

Photo: flickr, by PhotoLab XL

The Hostess with the Mostess: Three tips for entertaining kids at your expat home

Tuesday, July 13th, 2010

By: Cherrye Moore

I just wrapped up a five-week trip to my native Texas and as always, I returned to bella Calabria with a load of American goodies, but this time I had a couple of new additions to my pack … two real-life all-American adolescent boys!

Expat Life with Kids

Yep … that’s right.

I came back with not one, but two tag-alongs-my nine-year-old nephew, Cole and my friend’s 14-year-old son, Jake. The idea was born more than a year ago, when Jake’s mom asked if he could visit us for part of a summer to “work at our B&B and practice Italian.”

Now, to be perfectly fair, I believe his mother did, indeed, plan for him to help at the B&B and pick up new Italian phrases, however, even then, I knew “work at our B&B and practice Italian” was 14-year-old kid talk for “go to the beach and check out hot Italian chicks.”

And that he has done.

Happily.

Still, it took us about a week to find our groove and settle into a routine. For other expats who are considering hosting their friends’ children in their adopted countries, here are three tips to help you ease into a routine.

1. Establish Realistic Expectations

My husband and I own a B&B and I’m a full-time freelance writer and travel consultant-so we are a busy work-from-home couple. Other expats have time-consuming jobs or even work more than one job. Many American kids might not be used to this and won’t fully understand the demands of your expat job.

Talk honestly about the amount of free time you’ll have to entertain them BEFORE they come, so you will all be on the same page about day trips, excursions and free time.

2. Set Boundaries

For the most part, homes in southern Italy, and throughout Europe, are much smaller than homes we are accustomed to in the states. Tell the kids who are visiting you if any part of the property is off-limits-such as don’t go the B&B without shoes on!-and be sure they know your house rules, such as “rinse off at the beach before you come home,” or “help yourself to as much gelato as you can handle from the freezer.”

3. Get a Schedule

Depending on how much time your tiny tenants will be with you, you might be tempted to postpone certain events or trips with the thought “there’s plenty of time.”

Time, my friend, has a way of getting away.

Print a calendar of the time you’ll have with the kids and schedule important events in advance. This will also help you look at the days, weeks or months and plan when you can work or take care of important personal errands that can’t wait. It will help you feel less stress about taking time off to be with them and will give them something fun to anticipate.

Have you hosted friends’ or family’s children at your expat home? What other suggestions would you add to help get everyone prepared for an awesome summer vacation the kids will never forget?

Cherrye Moore is an American freelance writer and Calabria travel consultant living in Catanzaro, Italy. She writes about expat life on Affordable Calling Cards and about traveling in Calabria on her site, My Bella Vita. You can also visit her at her bed and breakfast in Catanzaro, Il Cedro B&B … and by all means, ignore any and all children you see shoe-less.

I’ve Got the Power

Tuesday, May 18th, 2010

By: Cherrye MooreExpat in Italy, Cherrye Moore

… and yes, I’m totally singing that song in my head as I type this post.

Because, my friends, “I’ve got the power.”

Earlier this month, after years of working, waiting and wishing, I received the ever-elusive and oh-so-powerful, Carta di Soggiorno.

thankyou … thankyouverymuch

So what does this mean?

It means, I can legally STAY in bella italia. I can travel to and fro without worry, I can leave the country without packing my two-page request along as proof that I should be legal and it means I am one step closer to finishing my paperwork.

But moreover, it means things are working.

You see, when a foreigner enters Italy, she has eight days to declare herself at the Questura. Upon arriving , Visa from the Houston Consulate in-hand, I headed to the Questura with my new husband.

“But what are you doing here?” They wanted to know. “You are married, no?”

“Siii,” we told them, basking in our newly married status.

“Mah!” They gruffed. “It is no need. You are being too precise. Just send the papers for her Permesso.”

So we did. Although, technically, at that time if you were married to an Italian, you were eligible to directly request the Carta, the difference being that you don’t have to reapply for the Carta after one year.

We applied for the Carta. 11 months later, my Permesso arrived. One month after that, it expired.

So we started all over, this time, according to the powers that be in Catanzaro, with proper eligibility for the Carta.

And now, 18 months later … here we are!

It was a grand day for us, we celebrated with a little Calabrian wine, good, al dente pasta and homemade gelato.

And I showed the world my new Carta.

Just because I could.

Cherrye Moore is a freelance writer and travel consultant living in Calabria, Italy. She can organize a group Calabria tour or help you plan a custom itinerary for your family from her website, My Bella Vita.

Easter in Catanzaro

Tuesday, April 6th, 2010

Last week we celebrated the Easter holiday in southern Italy. Like previous years, Calabrians spent the days leading up to the big event by attending and participating in various processionals throughout the region. Here in Catanzaro, the annual ‘a Naca event was-as always-a success.

Each year, event organizers gather in one of the city’s churches in preparation for their annual processional. The event is called ‘a Naca-pronounced with a strong a N-and is a living representation of the Stations of the Cross. It is accented by bold banners, towering statues and heavy wooden crosses, as well as hundreds of aptly-dressed parishioners from the major churches inside the city.

Organization of the event rotates annually, with a brotherhood from a different church in the community assuming responsibility. Attendees arrive early and in the end, thousands of people cram inside churches and along the streets in Catanzaro’s centro storico and watch the event with anticipation.

A trumpet and bass drum lead the group and create an eerily comforting rhythm and steady pace for the processional to follow. Perhaps one of the more charming aspects of the processional are the groups of children-the boys dressed like their adult-counterparts in white robes, while dozens of Mini-Marias trail along with their mothers and grandmothers.

Easter in Calabria

At one point in the event, a bleeding Jesus Christ is preceded by two thieves and their crosses, with three Marias somberly following behind him. It is a solemn moment for everyone in attendance and for a brief moment, the streets of downtown Catanzaro are quiet.

Easter in Calabria

After the event, the solemnity continues as the people of Catanzaro retrace their steps, return to their homes and begin preparing in earnest for the Pasqua and Pasquetta feasts that will follow. It is one of my favorite events here in Catanzaro and I’m just a wee bit sad I’ll have to wait another 12 months to witness it again.

Cherrye Moore is a Calabria travel consultant and freelance writer living in southern Italy. She writes about expat life here at Affordable Calling Cards and about living and traveling in Calabria on her own site, My Bella Vita.

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