Posts Tagged ‘Italy’

Moving Abroad: Finding Ways To Do It

Tina Ferrari
  • By Tina Ferrari
  • October 27th, 2010

One thing I have learned through the years is that to live abroad, you absolutely must not limit yourself to thinking *inside* the box in terms of figuring out how to do it.  I grew up with a desire to live abroad, and while in my very young years I was probably little bit unrealistic in my fantasies (if I were to talk to the Tina Ferrari from 15 years ago, I’d say no, you may not just show up without a plan, papers, etc.), it was a positive time for me.  As I grew up and got more realistic, however, I began thinking it was less and less possible to live abroad.

I didn’t have exciting grades or tons of university credits.  I didn’t have money; in fact, I had some debt.  I didn’t have any sort of prospect for a regular work visa. I thought overseas assignments were just for executives making the big bucks.  There were times when I was downright sad that I couldn’t figure out a way to get over the pond and have my adventures.  The truth is, however, that no two expat stories are the same. In my travels, I have learned some ways to be creative in living abroad.

1. Au pair in Switzerland. Now, I say Switzerland and not Europe because as far as I know, no EU countries have an actual “au pair” visa (in fact, I hear they convince you to get a student visa to be allowed to stay as an au pair).  I, on the other hand, lived in Swizerland for 8 months, in 2002.  I found a family through an au pair agency, they took care of getting me the proper domestic worker visa, and I was on my way.  What is an au pair, you ask? It’s a young adult who lives with a family and helps with the children part-time in exchange for a small stipend, room and board.  There is the chance that upon arrival you find yourself working more as a maid and teaching the child English instead of learning the local language, but there you go.  Being an au pair.  While there were a lot of things I didn’t like about it, it was a great way to get my feet wet in Europe and immerse myself in another culture.  I fell in love with the beauty of Switzerland, was just a couple hours from Italy, and, most importantly, I was legal.

2.  As a student. Well, in Italy if you want to enroll in a University as a regular student it’s not so easy.  You have to have somewhere around a zillion college credits, and when you move over there you start from the bottom. If you enroll in several months at a language school, it is rarely possible, as the school must be recognized by the Italian education ministry.  But, there are a few which are recognized.  In my case, in 2006, this was the University for Foreigners of Perugia.  I enrolled for six months, took the program on language and translation, and off I went.  The classes were boring but I had my way into Italy.

3. Citizenship. Okay, this isn’t always available to everyone.  But in my case I qualified for Italian citizenship because of a direct line to my great-grandfather who never renounced his citizenship.  It took a long time and was frustrating at some points, but in the end it happened.  It’s worth it to look into your family history and see if you may have a blood connection to another country, and see what your options are.  (If you’re looking into Argentina, your options for residing permanently are, if I remember correctly: marry an Argentine, be born to an Argentine, or give birth to an Argentine.)

How did you find a way to move abroad legally?

Tina Ferrari is a tango dancer, translator and writer currently based in Lecce, Italy. She writes atAffordableCallingCards.net as well as on her own blog, Tina Tangos. Comments are always welcome!

Eating Out in Southern Italy

Cherrye Moore
  • By Cherrye Moore
  • October 19th, 2010

It’s no secret Italy is famous for its food. The local pasta dishes, fresh, seasonal produce, robust red wines, exotic seafood, sinful desserts, homemade liquors … need I go on … are some of the best in the world and I’m lucky to live in a region that is exalted even more so for its delectable cuisine.

antipasto calabrese

See what I mean?

Even though the food is simple and straightforward, deciphering menus and choosing courses can make eating out in southern Italy a challenge. Here are a few tips to help with that.

Courses (in chronological order):

1. Antipasto
Antipasto is the Italian equivalent of the appetizer and in many cases, contains both hot and cold dishes. Cold plates are typically lean cold cuts, such as prosciutto or salami, assorted cheese, particularly Pecorino and olives or bruschetta. Hot dishes are typically prepared in-house and can include anything from potato and peppers, eggplant, grilled vegetables or other chef specialties.

In traditional Calabrese trattorie, the antipasto is typically overly generous and diners can easily fill up on the first course. However, you wouldn’t want to do that, because then you’d miss the primi.

Primi Piatti at Mercato Centrale

2. Primi
Primi, or first plates as we’d say in English, are usually either pasta or risotto dishes in southern Italy. Some restaurants allow diners to choose a sampling of their first plates so they can try more than one dish. I *love* this tradition! :-)

3. Secondi
Secondi, or second plates are typically meat or fish entrees. Vegetarians might choose a secondo platter of mixed grilled vegetables, but otherwise, vegetables or other side items are rarely served on your secondo plate. If you’d like a side item, be sure to order it separately when you place your order.

4. Contorni
Speaking of side items, contorni is the side item heading you’ll see on a southern Italian menu for side items. While side items vary by restaurant and region, you’ll usually find salads, potatoes, vegetables and local specialties listed here. Notice that salads are never served before the meal like they are in the US. If you order a salad, it will be served alongside your secondo dish, in a separate plate.

5. Frutta
Most .. make that all … southern Italians I know finish their meals at home with a serving of fruit, however they rarely order it in restaurants. Still, it is on the menu and if you’d like to order fruit to finish your meal, you’d do so after your second and side dish course.

tiramisu

6. Dolci
Oooh, desserts! If you made it through the rest of the meal without pasta coming out of your eyeballs, you might want to order dolci. To be sure you are getting the best bang for your, uhm, euro, ask your server which desserts are homemade and order one of those.

7. Caffè o Liquori
Most restaurant meals are completed with either a caffè (shot of espresso, not a cappuccino) or a shot of digestive liquor. In Calabria, Amaro del Capo is a popular choice, as is the old southern Italian favorite-limoncello.

Tips:
1. You do not have to order something for each course. Many Italians do … but you don’t have to and you won’t be the only people in the restaurant who don’t. I never do.

2. Diners are typically charged a cover charge, called coperto, in southern Italian restaurants, so if you see an extra €1-€3 charge, per person, added to your bill, you’ll know why.

3. You do not tip in southern Italian restaurants. Let me repeat that … Do Not Tip in southern Italian restaurants. I can always tell when a restaurant I’m in is accustomed to serving American tourists … one word comes out of my mouth and they are hanging around expecting a tip. Servers are often either the restaurant owners or one of their children and unlike America, staff servers are paid the minimum wage. If you tip, you are making it harder for those of us who live here to, well, live here.

4. Doggie bags are frowned upon … so, don’t ask. Arrive hungry and plan to spend as long as you like savoring your meal.

Cherrye Moore is an American freelance writer and Calabria group 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: Sara’s Kitchen, BrianandJaclyn and Premshree Pillai via Flickr

The Ease of Doing Things

Tina Ferrari
  • By Tina Ferrari
  • October 13th, 2010

Though I’ve been in Italy a year, once in a while little things creep up that remind me that I’m not in the U.S.  Things we take for granted in our home country will often be much more noticeable in our new country and no matter how long we live in a place, for better or for worse, there’s always some adapting to do.

Take running errands.

Nary a soul to be seen at lunchtime

In Italy, if I go out to run three errands and get just one done, I feel lucky.  Here we are limited by several things, particularly lunch.  Stores, banks, post offices, close at lunchtime – in some towns here in the south that can mean from 1pm to about 5 or 5:30pm.  I’m not kidding.   It’s a ghost town for three to four hours.  If I want to get anything done, I either rush in the morning to get it done (and early or I risk waiting in line to be sent away at lunch time), or I wait until 5:30 and get caught in the after work crowd.  This means, one errand at a time, per day.  Unless it’s Sunday when not even the birds come out to sing.

It’s a little different than in a major city in the U.S. – If I need to get something done, and I don’t manage to leave the house until 1, no big deal. Everybody’s open.  It’s Sunday?  Not a problem, you’ll always find someone open, with the exception of the post office.  Midnight and you’re out of toilet paper?  Sure, okay – the grocery store a few blocks down is open all night.  Alas, for me, those days are over.

How do I cope with it?  Well, I don’t have much choice so I just deal with it. If I have three errands, I plan for just one.  When I accomplish it, I celebrate.  A big plus to this cultural difference is that when I have lunch plans with a friend, I can take as long as I’d like.

I could be romantic and say “I’ve slowed down, thanks to this pace of life” as I dreamily look off into the distance, thinking about the wild chicory I bought from the old man on the corner with a gleam in his eye.  As true as that may be on one hand, let’s be honest: there are times when instead I’m wringing my hands and pulling my hair, even weeping, wondering why I can’t get the simplest thing done in a normal way. Even if the chicory is good.

What’s cultural difference have you noticed the most in your new home?

Tina Ferrari is a tango dancer, translator and writer currently based in Lecce, Italy. She writes at AffordableCallingCards.net as well as on her own blog, Tina Tangos. Comments are always welcome!

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An Old Man and His (Italian) Food

Cherrye Moore
  • By Cherrye Moore
  • September 27th, 2010

By: Cherrye Moore

I’ve written a great deal over the last four years about my adorable-yet, somewhat food-obsessed, Calabrese father-in-law. It seems no matter how much he makes-and piles into my plate-or how much I finish … he’s just never satisfied.

He’s blamed me for my husband’s decline (his words, not mine) in appetite and tries to urge the fork forward with promises of delicious bites of Italian delicacies.

So, really … I should have this coming.

A few weeks ago, we were at our daily lunch meet-up-yes, he cooks for us every day-and I noticed he had a special new glass, fully decorated and colored with sparkling, flying Winks fairies. I just couldn’t resist.

expat life in italy: nutella cups

“Nice glass, Nino.” I tell him with a grin, wondering if he realizes his glass is the envy of every 12-year-old girl on the street. “Where’d you get it?”

“Hrmph!” He cut his eyes at me, perhaps sensing my glee.

Not willing to let it go, I persisted.

“But it is so cute,” I told him. “I’m jealous. I want my very own glass, too.”

He ignored my last remark, my husband called me a mafiosa and we finished our meal.

A couple of days later, that conversation forgotten by almost everyone, he showed up with a surprise.

I was standing at the door to our bed and breakfast when he grunted and pushed a small, Nutella-filled glass in my hands.

“There you go,” he told me.

“You eat the Nutella … you get your own glass. Then,” he said pointing to the colored blue and white decoration on the glass, “you will be a champion!”

I looked down and noticed that yes, it was indeed a glass of champions, decorated with bright blue and white drawings in anticipation of the 2010 World Cup Soccer match that Italy bombed.

I laughed. Loudly.

“Thank you,” I told him.

He shook his head at me. “Tisk. You eat all of the Nutella first. Then, you you’ll have your own glass … and then you can say thank you.”

I don’t know why it should surprise me that he jumped at the chance to have me independently eat 200 grams of soft, creamy, chocolate and hazelnut Nutella, but that little present kinda made my day. Yes, two weeks have passed and the would-be world champs are still sitting in my cupboard, 2/3 full of their creamy deliciousness.

But, I’m working on it.

Until then, I thought about sneaking his glass when he wasn’t looking, but there is just something about my 78-year-old father-in-law, drinking his daily Pepsi in that pink and orange fairy glass, that I just can’t destroy.

So, I guess I’ll have to wait … and really, what better excuse is there for finishing off your very own jar of world champion Nutella?

Cherrye Moore is an American freelance writer and Calabria group 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: Blondie and Brownie

What I Wish the Locals Understood About Me

Tina Ferrari
  • By Tina Ferrari
  • September 22nd, 2010

by Tina Ferrari

photo by Sergio Stellato

photo © 2010 by Sergio Stellato

Though I speak the local language and have no problem adapting to any given culture and finding my niche, at times I wonder if the locals really “get” me.  Here are my top 3 things I wish people in my adopted country, Italy, would understand about me.

This isn’t my first language.  Some of my friends here must think I’m obsessive compulsive in the way that I repeat myself so many times in Italian.  It’s just that I feel paranoid at times that I haven’t said something right (and sometimes it really is the case and they think I’ve said something totally different) so I tend to say the same thing in five different ways to make sure I said it right so they understand.  I also find that I don’t understand what people say if they talk with their mouths full of food (something I notice a lot here).  I’m always making people finish chewing first, not because I’m fussy about manners, but because I simply would like to understand what they’re saying!

It’s not as easy for me as it is for them.  Okay, nobody said life in Italy was that easy for anyone.  But there are some things that are a little harder for those of us who weren’t born here and had to learn the language from scratch.  Take just about any bureaucratic process at all, such as residency, and they’ll say, “Oh, easy! Just go here, say this, and there you have it!”  Either they’re kidding themselves or they don’t realize that those of use who don’t already have a paper trail in Italy have a little more work cut out for us.

I don’t know that many people because I am not from here.  I have a few really awesome Italian friends who have gone out of their way to get to know me and provide some great company.  But a lot of times I wonder if people really understand that I don’t really know that many people.  A lot of folks, particularly in a small town like Lecce, have the friends they grew up with and run in the same circles they’ve run in for a while now.  They have their dinner parties, etc.,  and probably assume that I already have plans with my group of friends.  Thing is, I don’t have a group of friends yet.  While I do have a number of priceless friends Italy, it will be a while before I have a “group”  that I run with, as I’m not settled yet.  This makes for nights at home alone – which isn’t so bad, considering it’s a chance to get work done and catch up with friends and family.  Plus, there is tango – the perfect excuse to dress up and get out  of the house!

What do you wish locals understood about you in your adopted country?

Tina Ferrari is a tango dancer, translator and writer currently based in Lecce, Italy. She writes atAffordableCallingCards.net as well as on her own blog,Tina Tangos. Comments are always welcome!

Marrying a Foreigner, Part II: Logistics and Practicality

Cherrye Moore
  • By Cherrye Moore
  • September 7th, 2010

By: Cherrye Moore

Earlier this week I noted some tips and hints for adjusting to life when you are married to a foreigner, and many of my expat friends weighed in with their own experiences. While adjusting to your new life and learning to merge your cultures is always a good thing, getting to that point might not be easy.

No, I’m not talking about falling in love and the inevitable, if only temporary, long-distance relationship, I’m talking about the practical side of marrying someone from another country.

While the rules and regulations vary widely depending on each person’s nationality, where you get married and where you decide to live, the following sites should get you started. Note: I am an American woman married to an Italian man, therefore, most of the following examples are based on my experiences with these countries.

Marrying a Foreigner

1. Websites

Official (and well-researched unofficial) websites are a prime source of information for people wishing to marry an Italian. Here are few sites you might find helpful.

UK in Italy

US Department of State Naples: Marriage of a US Citizen

Travel.State.Gov: Marriage in Italy

ItaliaAmerica.org: Italian Dual Citizenship

ImmiGroup.com: Marrying and Sponsoring an Italian

2. Forums

While official websites are a great source of logistical information, forums are usually visited by people who’ve been there and offer a great combination of practical know-how and useful tips. Some helpful forums and topics include:

Expat Forum: Marrying an Italian

Expat Forum: Marrying an American

Immigration Boards.com: Marrying an Italian

Expats in Italy: Getting Married Forum

Expats in Italy: Atto Notorio

3. Blogs

While many bloggers visit forums and talk about their experiences marrying a foreigner there, they also write blog posts and articles on their sites. Some particularly helpful expats I’ve come across include:

Ms. Adventures in Italy (My personal go-to expat when I was marrying my own Italian in 2007.)

From Australia to Italy (My Calabria-based counterpart who is chronicling  her marriage to an Italian.)

ReallyRome (A Really great resource on, among other things, marrying an Italian.)

Moving2Italy2 (Extensive resource on moving to Italy, with a section on marrying an Italian.)

It is important to note that each case is unique and there is no one size fits all when it comes to marrying someone from another country. Additionally, laws can change from year to year and Italian consulates, at least in the US, seem to have varying procedures, as well. It is always important to contact your local embassy or consulate before proceeding and get a detailed list of what you need to do before the Big Day. As in most cases when dealing with bureaucratic situations, it is a good idea to allow yourself plenty of time and an even better opportunity for you to practice your patience.

In bocca al lupo!

Do you know any other useful sites, forums or blogs for people wanting to marry a foreigner? If so, please leave them in the comments!

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: Life 123

August in Italy

Tina Ferrari
  • By Tina Ferrari
  • August 23rd, 2010

by Tina Ferrari

A common summer view in Italy

A common summer view in Italy

While the rest of the world carries on with its business, in the month of August, Italy shuts down, and lights up.  By mid-August half the country is on vacation, offices and stores are closed, and those running shops and restaurants in tourist locations become very, very busy.

Calici di Stelle - Lecce turns into one big wine tasting.

Calici di Stelle - Lecce turns into one big wine tasting.

Lecce has been completely on fire with Italian and European tourism.  Recently we had an event called Calici di Stelle, which is a wine tasting event that coincides with the meteor shower on the night of San Lorenzo.  The idea is that you buy a glass for ten Euros, and then wander about Lecce’s historical center, stopping at the various tasting stations, and eventually happening upon the observatory where you can watch the sky and hope to see a shooting star.  At the same time, local artist Alessandra Bray was exhibiting, and I was giving her a hand (between tastings, of course).  I have never seen Lecce so crowded – it was impossible to move!  While the idea of the historic center turning into one big wine tasting is a nice idea (and who doesn’t love Southern Italian wine?), it’s hard to really appreciate what you’re tasting when you are too busy dodging people.

I’ve managed to squeeze in some visits to the beach, and the difference between August and a couple months ago is huge.  In June, I could rent an umbrella with two lounge chairs and there would always be something available.  In August, if you don’t rent in advance you are out of luck.  So during the month of August, you can find me on the “spiaggia libera”, public beach, where none of the umbrellas match.  I don’t mind – I just feel lucky to live so close to the sea.

When I first heard about August vacations, I imagined a relaxing month – but I’m finding that it’s quite the opposite!  So much to do!  And if you really need to get something important done, best to wait until September when everyone is open again.  Even the local cinema was closed for a week!

What is August like where you live?

Tina Ferrari is a tango dancer, translator and writer currently based in Lecce, Italy. She writes at AffordableCallingCards.net as well as on her own blog, Tina Tangos. Comments are always welcome!

Learning to Love Less

Cherrye Moore
  • By Cherrye Moore
  • 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

Planes, Trains and Boats…getting around Southern Italy

Tina Ferrari
  • By Tina Ferrari
  • August 5th, 2010

by Tina Ferrari

image courtesy of http://www.flickr.com/photos/nationalmediamuseum/

image courtesy of http://www.flickr.com/photos/nationalmediamuseum/

On a recent trip to Palermo, followed by a visit to Naples, I had the opportunity to experience just about every kind of public transportation option that Italy has to offer.

It all started with a two-hour train ride (8 Euros) to Bari, where I would then catch a bus to the airport.  The national railway network is Trenitalia, and they have regional and express lines that go just about everywhere.  In my case, it was a regional train.  Upon leaving the train station in Bari, I walked to the tobacco kiosk to buy my bus ticket (80 cents) to the airport.  Having done this before, I knew to be aggressive when the bus came and make sure I had a seat on the bus.

To get to Sicily, I flew from Bari to Trapani, which is about an hour or so from Palermo.  It was a Ryanair flight that cost me next to nothing  (11 Euros plus taxes, coming to 18 Euros), the catch being that there are no assigned seats (so you have to fight for a good one) and then you have to listen to several sales pitches for perfumes and lottery tickets.  The flight was one hour and passed by very quickly.  And of course, this being Italy, the people onboard applauded when the plane landed.

To get from Trapani to Palermo, where I would be staying for a few days, I used the shuttle bus service known as Terravision.  For 12 Euros I had a seat on a nice, air conditioned bus, and was let off in a nice area in downtown Palermo.  From there I walked to my bed and breakfast because I had already gotten to know Palermo a bit previously.

I had some time scheduled in Naples, where I was meeting a friend.  Since Sicily is an island, the obvious solution was to take a boat. (Though you can take the train, which sits on a barge for the aquatic part of the trip).  The company I used was Tirrenia, and I opted for a night boat so that I could sleep, as it’s an eight-hour trip.  I reserved a bed in a women’s cabin (though you can also reserve your own cabin) and was pleased to find out that the boat had a restaurant as well as a self-service cafe and a lounge with a full bar. Not bad!  The total price for the boat trip was about 70 Euros and it was well worth it, as when I woke up and looked out the cabin window, I saw Naples in all its splendor, lit up by the golden morning sun.

This is something I really like about living in Europe: the public transportation is so varied and available that you can go anywhere you want for a reasonable price.

Tina Ferrari is a tango dancer, translator and writer currently based in Lecce, Italy. She writes at AffordableCallingCards.net as well as on her own blog, Tina Tangos. Comments are always welcome!

There’s More than Munchies in the Mezzogiorno

Cherrye Moore
  • By Cherrye Moore
  • 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

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