FAQ: Why Are You Always Smiling?

Someone recently suggested I write a post answering the question I get asked most. Determining which question was the easy part. Throughout my nearly 40 years on this planet, there’s one question I get asked more than any other: “Why are you always smiling?” So many people have asked me over the years, it’s startingContinue reading “FAQ: Why Are You Always Smiling?”

An Ode To Not Knowing What the Hell Is Going On

I love traveling abroad. When you’re living daily life back home, it all becomes so rote, so predictable. It’s easy to stagnate and go on autopilot. But when you’re traveling abroad, nothing can be taken for granted. The area is new; you don’t know where anything is. The language is new; you don’t know whatContinue reading “An Ode To Not Knowing What the Hell Is Going On”

Around Here, However, We Keep Moving Forward

One of the first things my daughter said when we told her we were moving to Italy was, “Mom is going to be so bored.” At this point, I had developed somewhat of a reputation for being busy all the time; work, shuttling kids to activities, grad school, and just general life. I assured herContinue reading Around Here, However, We Keep Moving Forward

The Dishwasher Wants Salt

So, you know how when your dishwasher stops working, you call the repair man? And how when the repairman shows up, he points to the “S” on the dishwasher panel and says, “It wants salt” (in Italian of course). And you say, “salt?” just to clarify, since you’re confused; you didn’t know the dishwasher wantedContinue reading The Dishwasher Wants Salt

Mad King Ludwig, Walt Disney and the Wild River of Inspiration

They called him “Mad King Ludwig.” Certainly, he did nothing to protest the accuracy of this cruel nickname. By the time he had reached his mid-30’s, the young king had descended into a world of fantasty, full of costumed midnight carriage rides, fairytale castles, and elaborate banquets with the ghosts of Marie Antoinette, Louis XIV,Continue reading “Mad King Ludwig, Walt Disney and the Wild River of Inspiration”

Blue Zones: How To Live Healthier Longer

Have you heard of blue zones? If you’ve spent more than 10 minutes in my company, the answer is probably yes. I’m kind of obsessed with them. If you haven’t, or if you tuned me out (it’s cool, I get it, whatever), here it is in a nutshell: Blue zones as a concept got theirContinue reading “Blue Zones: How To Live Healthier Longer”

We’ll See: An Adventure in Germany

My family and I recently embarked on a three-day adventure in Germany (living abroad is amazing – everything is so close!). We were all very excited to explore Bavaria, do lots of hiking, and see the famous Neuschwanstein Castle in person. We had the whole trip planned out. After an idyllic drive through the Alps,Continue reading “We’ll See: An Adventure in Germany”

How to be Happy: La Dolce Vita

I am American. And, like many of my fellow Americans, I am strongly influenced by our country’s ideals of independence and productivity. After all, we are the nation of Manifest Destiny, pulling yourself up by your bootstraps, and the American Dream. This cultural baseline has resulted in untold innovations from assembly lines to air conditioning,Continue reading “How to be Happy: La Dolce Vita”

My Big City Italian Driving Adventure

I may have mentioned that driving in Italy is like playing Grand Theft Auto. I’m already a timid driver, with a strong interest in not getting hit or hitting others. So, Italian driving is a bit of a challenge for me. Recently, my son asked to go visit a friend in Florence, about an hourContinue reading “My Big City Italian Driving Adventure”

Funny Dentist Stories: The Italian Dentist

So there I was, in need of a dentist in Italy. As it turns out, the best, English-speaking Italian dentist was located in the heart of Pisa. As this area is a spider’s web of one-way roads and vehicle restricted zones, I decided to park outside the historic wall and walk 15 minutes to theContinue reading “Funny Dentist Stories: The Italian Dentist”

Funny Dentist Stories: I Didn’t Go To Dental School

A year or so ago, a dentist noted that my back left molar was slightly cracked. It wasn’t terrible, so he said we could wait and keep an eye on it. Four months ago, a different dentist noticed the crack and recommended the tooth be capped ASAP. He explained that if we didn’t cap it,Continue reading “Funny Dentist Stories: I Didn’t Go To Dental School”

Learning How To Drive in Italy

Driving in Italy is like a sport. Actually, it’s more like a back alley, black market, underground, live-or-die “sport” like chicken-style, to-the-death drag racing or subterranean cage fighting. It’s fast, it’s furious, there are no commonly observed rules, and it’s definitely survival of the fittest. I knew all of this well before we moved toContinue reading “Learning How To Drive in Italy”

Moving Pets Abroad: The Great USDA Debacle

After five months of waiting, the paperwork for our move to Italy was complete (the first set, at least), the official passports and visas were in hand, the house was sold, the car was shipped, the other cars were sold, the Unaccompanied Baggage was on a plane, the Household Goods were on a boat, andContinue reading “Moving Pets Abroad: The Great USDA Debacle”

How We Moved to Italy – Part Three: Dream Board

A few years back, I got hooked on the dream board trend. For those of you who missed this cultural phenomenon, dream boards are part inspirational and part goal setting exercise in which you cut out magazine pictures of things you wanted to accomplish and combined them into a collage. My collage was covered with pictures of Italy.

How We Moved to Italy – Part Two: Feelings

That initial feeling of ecstatic glee lasted for weeks. I couldn’t believe it; we were moving to Italy! Italy. My lifelong dream was about to be realized! I was walking on air. Then, slowly, insidiously, something else started creeping in; a different kind of feeling entirely. It was a strange feeling; not anxiety or stress;Continue reading “How We Moved to Italy – Part Two: Feelings”

Benvenuto in Italia (Welcome to Italy)

I promised myself I would write every day in Italy. So here I am, DAY ONE, staring at the blinking cursor and suddenly finding I have no idea what to write about. Isn’t it funny? Even in the midst of one of the biggest changes and most unbelievable opportunities of my life, I could suddenlyContinue reading “Benvenuto in Italia (Welcome to Italy)”