Giusto in tempo 

14364771_10154969555701490_6339951153611250884_nHello! You are probably here because you have an odd Italian partner, friend or neighbour, or maybe because you became a little obsessed with the pronunciation of cappuccino after travelling to Italy and no one gets you, or you daydream about visiting Italy and getting a picture in a piazza, eating pizza and lot of things with a double z…. or just because you love la dolce vita.

This blog was born in London, has survived some travels and troubles and now is live from Napoli. Welcome to my not-so-glamorous Life with and Italian!

Here are some of the most popular posts to get you started:

Only in Italy

Long ass distance relationships

Our first trip together and the prostitutes

Reasons to break up 

The water insanity

12 Things you should know before dating a Colombian girl

How not to date an Italian man and fail fabulously

What no one told me about being an expat

Expat. Immigrant. Or however it’s politically correct to call it.

I have been an expat twice in my life. The first time I was 21, I left my hometown in Colombia to live in London for one year, that would later become eight. I remember the feeling of being so free and excited about everything. I was young and curious to explore, everything was so different and exciting! I had nothing, so I had nothing to lose, I knew no one, so I had a world to meet, and meeting new friends seemed so easy, like,  if you are both young, both from different nationalities and living in the same city? done, you are friends.

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In London everything was new, so by myself I discovered my favourite parks, my favourite restaurants, pubs, I got my own new friends, and I was free to eat anything as I could almost find any ingredient to cook international dishes or restaurants of any kind of cuisine that you could imagine. And music wise I was in my dream city, as most of my favourite bands came to play while I was there. I felt the world was my oyster. London had the possibility of recreating your home country as it had communities from every part of the world, but I lived far away from the Latin community, I wanted a fresh start. I never understood what a culture shock was, maybe because London was so international that I could simply pick the best from every culture I was surrounded by. In other words, wonderland for expats.

 

I am currently on my second experience as an expat. I moved a year ago to Naples, Italy, my husband’s hometown with him. Nothing like my previous experience as an expat. Anxiety, check. Culture shock, check. Frustration, check. I would never thought I would feel like this, as I always dreamt of living in Italy, I love Italian food and I wasn’t a stranger to Italian language, plus I was moving in with my very Italian man. But when anxiety kicked in, non of these reasons mattered, because my previous experience living abroad had been so different. I was now living in a city like any other city in the world with it’s own ways.

Naples is a very touristic city, there are tourists everywhere, but immigrants here are almost none, so practically all the people I have contact with are Neapolitan, my husband, his family, his friends and people in general, which means that I am the only one who is not a native Italian speaker and the only one around talking like a five-year-old, there is little to no option of eating non-Italian food, TV is Italian and music is Italian. So even if I love their culture, food and people, at one point I felt I needed a break.

No one explained me this, the feeling of despair when you are deep into a culture different from yours and you just want to run away, also, no one around can understand the pain, specially when I feel I can’t make my own path as I’m running on my husband’s path. Plus it’s not helping at all that I can’t find a job here, what the heck? Now I can understand why so many Italians leave their country, a job plays an important role in one’s satisfaction.

Now, I needed to find a solution so, running the risk the sounding insulting, I decided to tell my husband about the nightmare that I was living in, and he was very supportive. He knows I love this city, the warmth of the people, the clear skies, the sea, the food, the streets and palaces but just needed a little space of my own. So we decided that for a while we would stick to music and movies in English. And, walking the city, I recently discovered a little shop that sells international food and it’s full of people from Ghana, China and Venezuela and so I’m like Yey! immigrants like me! so it feels very welcoming. After finding all the ingredients there, we decided to learn how to cook our international favourite dishes, so we now cook Mexican, Moroccan, Indian, Chinese and Asian, and of course, Italian and Colombian. Best thing for me, his family is amazing and his friends are now my friends too, how do they stand me? no one knows… The best part of all is that Naples is finally starting to feel like home.

So my advice for everyone planning to move abroad, is that when the explosion of excitement about the new place passes, and depression, anxiety and all the monsters in your head start coming out: hang in there! You are not alone, you just need to give yourself a little more time to adjust. And no matter what, remember: what’s important is not to stick to the local flow, but to follow your own and create your space with your favourite pieces, no matter what culture their from. Being an expat is not always going to be easy, but it will for sure be one of the best journeys of your life.

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The BIG news

So, I have just been absent for a very long few months but I have got a good pair reasons.

First, internet in Italy sucks! or at least it sucked on us because we tried with three different internet provider companies just to cancel them after a while because they were taking so much damn time to get us connected and now, after two and a half months we finally got internet at home with Linkem (yeah, being more explicit, TIM and Fastweb suck, if you’re looking for an internet provider in Italy don’t try them).

And the second reason is that I got married! Yep, super happy but so sorry for not being able to post here while it was happening, but is all  because we only had a couple of months to find a flat in Naples, buy everything from lamps to teaspoons, arrange a wedding , learn a little bit of Italian and plan the trip of everyone of our friends and family that decided to travel from far to join us on our wedding day.

I thought things would be easier in my ‘Life with an Italian’ but I was damn wrong. Craziness has just began.

Only in Italy

Hello from Italy! The place country of Michelangelo and Leonardo Da Vinci, the country of wine and one of the best cuisines in the world, also the place where a lot of crazy things happen, and no, as much as they would like to say that it could happen anywhere else in the world, these things can only happen in Italy.

Weird shit that happens only in Italy

  • Went once to a walking tour with Vince, his sister and friends. While we were walking on our way to another historical place, an old man stopped and asked me if I lived here. I was too confused to reply, so my boyfriend did it for me -‘Yes, we live here’, to what the old man replied, ‘And in which neighbourhood?’. Whaaaaat? Why would you want to ask such a horrible thing?

  • Maybe it’s because they think that you might have Ebola, but Italians will always throw you the change and never give it in your hand, and then you have to spend all those little seconds picking up coins from the bar… I told you, only in Italy.

  • If you are getting married but don’t serve your guest a little bag with sweeten almonds is like you never got married. Also if you get graduated and don’t give everyone the same bag with the same sweets, is like you never even went to a single class in your life. Same with Christianities, same with First Communions. Reading a bit about it, internet says that this comes from a Roman tradition which says that sweet almonds help fertility. So that makes a lot of sense. Not.

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  • Eating fruit after lunch and dinner. This can be a bit too much for the averall person that comes to Italy as a tourist and wants to try a propper Italian meal, so has an antipasto, then primo piatto, secondo piatto, and then when is just about to explode, but before the coffee and dessert, comes a plate full of colorful fruit. Is this the trick for Italians to live for so many years? Because I will die young then.

  • You probably knew this before, but my dad didn’t, and opened his eyes wide open when I told him: Italian men kiss each other in the cheeks, as they do with women. I think this is simply awesome. Kisses all around. Nothing weird about that. At least not to me.

  • Elevators. Have you ever seen an elevator in an old movie? Yep, that’s how lifts are here. You need to open the door from outside, then the door from inside, press the button and close the doors. When you get to your floor repeat the same steps. Makes me feel like all the time like in a black and white movie..

  • If you come to Italy, stay in a small hotel and breakfast is included, don’t think they’re being cheap by serving you coffee and a biscuit for breakfast. That’s actually what Italians have for breakfast. Also, if you want to order a coffee with milk, don’t say ‘Latte’ as I did the other time, because like they did to me, they’ll just bring you a big glass of milk (?!) Because ‘latte’ means milk, who would’ve known that you’ve been drinking latte for so many years and making your best to pronounce it as Italian as possible and in Italy it means something else than coffee and milk? so just order a ‘capuccino’.

  • And by the way, a coffee here is always an espresso. I can’t remember seeing an americano here, I think it just doesn’t exists. So don’t panic if you ask for a coffee and get a cup with just two drops of coffee, because it will be so strong, that is actually the maximum amount of caffeine that your body can take, because when I take it double I usually start felling like there’s a cat frenetically trying to escape from a shower that is happening in my chest. Hope is not my little heart.
This cup is really the size of a toenail 
  • There’s an awesome thing in Napoli called Taraluccio. Is a a kind of breadstick with almonds and pepper. I love it, eating taralucci is my new hobby. Who could create such a geanious work of art for your mouth? Or maybe just Italians could think of mixing almonds and pepper.

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  • Me: ‘How is it possible that you can’t find a restaurant with a soup on their menu? I’ve been to many countries and this is the only place in the world where I can’t find a soup. I want one badly. Is winter time, time for soup’.

        Vince: ‘What kind of people would go to a restaurant and order a soup…?’

Can you relate to any of these? Have you discovered another one? Please share ❤

Moving to Italy…Yikers!

For some reason, the time in Colombia felt more as a holiday than what reality is like….like for instance, it felt nice and reality, not so much. So we decided to move to Italy, why not? it sounded just about fair with Vince as he spent almost four months in Colombia travelling, going out, eating my mom’s home made food, having a swim everyday under the sun…Poor him!

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Love this pic taken in San Andres island, but never really saw that woman in the back that looks like is about to pee

 

So, moving to Italy. I always dreamt of it as those kind of dreams that you have but are unreachable, such as winning the lottery, visiting Mars, going to a Door’s concert, visiting Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory… But I never really thought of Italy until I started learning Italian in uni, then in one class we watched Under the Tuscan sun and that’s when I began to dream of being miserable and a recently divorced woman who needs a change and has nothing to loose so goes on a gay tour to Italy. I am sure you have dreamt about it too.

So, some thoughts about moving before I actually did..

 

Thoughts about moving to Italy

  • How are we supposed to find a flat that is not 500 years old?

 

  • How will I know which pasta goes with each sauce?

 

  • How will I learn to cook artichokes and aubergines?

 

  • Living with the in-laws?

 

  • What if Vincenzo’s cat still hates me and wakes me up at 4AM everyday, like on the last holidays?

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  • My hair. Naples is super humid, and my hair knows it. Once I get out of the plane, I start looking like the Lion King. Note to self:”Give up on your hair”

 

  • I have to say, I’m also thinking about the weather, because as good as Italian weather can be, compared to London, being in Colombia makes the rest of the world feel like Alaska.

 

  • Everything is slow except for cars. Driving in Italy is insane. Cars go way beyond their speed limit and don’t seem to have an apparent direction. Seriously humans? Who taught you to drive like that?! Note to self: “Learn to drive like a nutter”

 

  • What about the language? I need to stop talking Italian like a five year old… and then learn Neapolitan…and a bit of Pomiglianese to communicate with V’s grandmother… another language to add?

 

  • On the bright side: Food! Yum! Absolutely love Italian food, but will my poor body be able to tolerate all the mozzarella di buffala that I’m gonna fit in my mouth? in my life?

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And something to add (or to substract): no flat, no job, huge luggages, no winter clothes, but lots of motivation!…  Napoli, future home, here we come!

 

 

#Skyporn or the crazy camera woman on the plane

Last week we took a tiny little plane from the airport in the middle of Medellin to take us to the west, the rainforest by the Pacific coast. I know you are probably here while you procrastinate, reading rubbish until you decide to actually do what you have to do, but hey, what if you learn something new today? You’d be able to sound smart next time you’re having a conversation with travelers, so why not:

Colombian is, as many other countries, home of the Andes, the longest continental mountain range in the world. It comes all the way from the south of the continent, up to the south of Colombia where it splits in three and runs throughout the rest of the country. The branch located on the west is the responsible for making the Pacific coast, one of the wettest places on earth, and the reason is simple: Humidity is pushed from the ocean to inside the continent, but the mountains won’t let them get in, and it stays there and rains like heck.

All this story, just to say that the flight in that tiny little plane was one of the most beautiful flights i have had in my life. Even though it scared the shit out of me, because turbulence was horrific, the view from the plane was awesome. So I decided to create for you a little #Skyporn on WordPress.

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Mountains, mountains, mountains
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A river cutting through the mountains
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Another river
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A little village by the river
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A town at the top of a mountain
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If you ever wondered what a jungle looks like from a plane
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Finally the sea!
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That tiny island
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The coast in front
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The town: Bahia Solano
One word for our plane: tiny
One word for our plane: tiny
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And on the way back after holidays, Bahia Solano with low tide
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The Atrato river and a lake that looks like from outer space
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I want to be a cloud!
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Medellin from the west
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The city centre
This is what happens when you fall asleep :P
The deepest sleep in the world: The plane is about to crash with heavy  turbulence, I’m almost having a stroke, and he’s dreaming with sheep. Vince, you deserve this 😛

A trip to the Pacific: The bad and the ugly

Like the movie, every single journey has ‘The good, the bad and the ugly’ otherwise, is worth living, in my opinion. So in this story we had the little red crabs, the wild toucans, the whales swimming near to us, the dreamy beaches: The good….I mean, the great! And for the rest:

We knew that we were travelling to one the wettest places in the world but we weren’t prepared for The Bad. After the second day on our holiday, Vincenzo thought it was a great idea to dare the gods: ‘I thought it would be raining all the time but look, is not that bad, it just rained for five minutes since we arrived here’. And then it happened.

Just after a couple of hours after saying it, a hellish thunderstorm began, pissing rain from the sky like the Niagara falls, while we were in our bed trying to fall asleep. The sky was always lighted as there were thunders striking trees every five minutes and the rain was so heavy, that I was sure that every single living creature in the rainforest was killed immediately, even all the mosquitoes that had bitten us during the day, so as awesome as it is to get your mosquito revenge, what’s the point of thinking about revenge just before dying? Our cabin would slide with the rain and we would end up in the same place with the dead mosquitoes.

The beginning of a storm
The beginning of a storm

So we started praying to the gods, Jesus, Buddha, Allah, Zeus, the ones from the trees and the gods from theatre to let us survive that rain that was coming to take us, and who would’ve thought that we would buy plane tickets to the place were we would actually die? We should have stayed in London! But it was too late for regrets so we thought, this might be the last time we hug, so we hugged and kissed, preparing for death like that old couple in Titanic, hugging in the bed while the musicians played and the ship gradually filled with water. We could only hear the waves breaking near us, the thunders, the rain like never before, but after a seven hours storm, like at five in the morning, it actually stopped raining. We thought, yes! bring the champagne because we want to celebrate life! and we went outside just to find the clothes we left outside to dry completely wet, but who cares, and we saw as well the doggies from the hotel that had spent the whole night by our door protecting us, so sweet. We didn’t sleep a single minute that night but we were happy to have survived.

We then went to get some breakfast with the locals who said that storm was super mild compared to others, so apparently The pretty bad was completely normal there.

After the storm, we moved to another beach were the humpback turtles make their nests. I don’t want to get to much into details but The ugly came in this new hotel, where we shared our bedroom with a tarantula looking spider and a cockroach, both outrageously humongous , while hearing tiny little mice eating our crackers, followed by a rat that was definitely bigger than a French poodle. Yuck!

We spent few hours in that horror movie until I grew up a good pair of balls and courage to get out of my bed and went running to get some help. A guy from the staff came to the room and filled our crackers with poison while we drank a midnight beer at the bar. We came back to our room after an hour and there were no more crackers. Seemed like the entire jungle came to eat our crackers because we didn’t hear a single noise after that. We managed to sleep for few hours and the next night had another one of those ‘mild storms’.

As sanity challenging as these things were, The good, the bad and the ugly, are the reasons why we will always remember these holidays.

A trip to the Pacific: The good

Vincenzo landed in Colombia a week ago after a 20 hours trip: Naples-Rome-Madrid-Bogota-Medellin, what a champ.

The last time we saw each other was almost two months ago when we said goodbye in cold London, and I was afraid I would never see him again so I added a little extra to push him to come: a trip to the Pacific.

So he landed completely exhausted, and 30 hours later we were heading to the Colombian Pacific coast, a wild jungle next to the sea, home of the most beautiful treasures of nature and of course, the biggest corruption in the country.

The airport is definitely something to remember. No pavement, just two check-in counters, cows next to the airport. What a beauty!

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View of the landing strip
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View from outside the airport and the local cabs
Spot the tourist! That's the airport VIP lunge ;)
Spot the tourist! That’s the airport VIP lunge 😉

When we arrived in Bahia Solano, there was a super laid back guy waiting for us and took us to the “port” where Julian, the owner of the hotel, was waiting for us. We then got on a boat and after something like half an hour, we got to heaven.

Life's a beach #beach#pacific#sea#colombia

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Sunset from our room #sunset#nofilter#beach

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A full beach just to ourselves, the doggies that watched out for us at night and some tiny little crabs.

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#crabs#beach🐚

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These beaches were nothing like I’ve seen before, the sand in the Pacific is dark, there’s a waterfall coming from the mountain and finishing in the sea every couple of meters, the sea is also dark and its animals are huge! Hence the reason why we chose it:

The most precious moments in life. Mother and son #humpback#whale

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The best moments of the trip have no pictures to show, toucans, birds and flying fishes were impossible to capture. How a friend says, ‘Mental shots’ were the only ones we could take, specially when we were swimming close to a whale and its baby in the Utria cove.

Posing for a picture while I spotted two whales behind us on the cove.
Posing for a picture while I spotted two whales behind us on the cove.

A trip to remember!