Jasmine is a pharmacist turned blogger and professional wine drinker from Alberta, Canada living "the sweet life" in Bergamo, Italy. Questa Dolce Vita is an expat in Italy blog that focuses on living in Italy, international travel, and cultural differences.
I am in full-on VACATION MODE. I know, it's only June but I leave for Canada on Sunday for my best friend's wedding and so I have a good reason. This month's #DolceVitaBloggers topic was "Hidden Gems of Italy". I have to admit, I'm always wary of doing this type of post because I'm greedy and I don't want anyone else to find out all my secret spots. However, I've realized over the years that Italy is just full of gorgeous hideaways and towns that it would be impossible to give away all her secrets, there's always going to be somethng beautiful and undiscovered just around the corner.
I chose Sestri Levante because it was freshest in my head, we were just here two weekends ago and had our second swim of the summer season. I'm calling it a hidden gem, although maybe to Italians it isn't. It's quite popular with local tourists, the locals from Milan and area who make the two hour drive to catch some rays on its quaint beach. In Italy, you can either go to either coastline but I prefer Liguria for the water, it's crystal clear and clean in contrast to the Adriatic on the other side. It's not as well known to foreign tourists, likely because of proximity to the more famous Cinque Terre or Portofino. That's fine though, it just means more Sestri Levante for me! The most fabulous part about this little town in Liguria is that it actually is itself a mini-peninsula, the old town sits on a strip of land and on either side of it is water, two bays that are named La Baia delle Favole (The Bay of Fairytales) and La Baia del Silenzio (The Bay of Silence); the latter is the one you see pictured above. For lovers of long stretches of sand beach, this is not the place for you- the beach itself is rather small and you have to get there early to claim a spot. You'll be packed like sardines, common on Italian beaches in summer. This was not a huge issue for me because I love swimming and frolicking in the water.
You need to be a good swimmer to have fun in the Bay of Silence- this is because the bottom of the sea is dotted sporadically with ricci (sea urchins) so it's much better (and safer) to swim or float on the surface, even in the shallow areas. A little known fact about sea urchins is that in addition to their spikes, they can actually sting you as well...fiesty little buggers they are, but delicious with spaghetti. We were tempted to cut one open and eat it as you should- raw- but we didn't have a knife on us. Have you guys eaten ricci in Italy before? Sorry, as usual this post has gone off-topic because the only thing I think about all day is food!
Happy June Dolce Vita Bloggers, see you at the next one! Please leave a comment and then go and check out the other amazing posts.
It's finally summer here in Italy and we are in the #VACATIONMOOD. Your hosts of the #DolceVitaBloggers link up, Kelly, Kristie, and I, invite you to share your favorite hidden gem(s) in Italy. Let's get off the beaten path and armchair travel together through il bel paese. We can't wait to hear about your secret places! HOW TO JOIN OUR LINK-UP: For instructions on how to join, click here. For an instructive video on how to join, click here. The link up will be open from June 7th to 14th. You’ll be able to add your blog post or vlog below as always by clicking the BLUE BUTTON.
She's an Australian studying in Milan dating a Brazilian living in Torino and they met one fateful night in Genova, Italy...is your head spinning yet? That's just the beginning to today's globe-trotting couple, Athena and André, from completely different walks of life- she's a small town girl from Australia and he's a city boy from Brazil and they somehow found each other on a different continent after both took huge risks in pursuit of chasing passions. Moral of the story, go for the adventure and love will follow! (Alternative moral of the story: gap years are dangerous and you'll probably fall in love with a foreigner and never move home again). Here's the backstory, told conveniently from two points of view:
Athena 2 years before my last year of high school, my small country high school received its first foreign exchange student, a girl from Firenze named Chiara. We became fast friends and for the whole 6 months she was in Australia we were inseparable. When she moved back to Italy we stayed in close contact for almost 2 years long distance, battling against the 10 hour time difference. After graduation, I had been accepted by quite a few Universities in a variety of courses and I wanted a year to decide what my true passion is, instead of randomly choosing a degree and changing my mind like a lot of my friends did. I am the eldest of 7 children and therefore did not have the money to change my mind. Chiara convinced me to come to Italy for a gap year between high school and starting University. I used my savings for the expensive flights and decided to enter Italy with a study visa, earning my board working as an Au Pair and studying in a language school, leaving the weekends to travel. After a horrible abusive experience with my first host family, I lived with Chiara for a month before going to another host family in Liguria and left a 2 year relationship with my ex in Australia.
André André met an older Venezuelan woman in England when he went there for a gap year after graduating High School to study and improve his English. They began dating the year he was there and then they continued to date when they both went back to South America. She was very independent and frequently told him the relationship wasn’t going to be a ‘long term’ thing, she didn’t see a future with him but he was infatuated. Then one day she told him she enrolled herself to do her Master degree in Spain without consulting him. He was in love with her so he started to look into the best Universities in Europe for his Engineering course, which ended up being in Torino, Italy. He thought ‘If our relationship could survive Venezuela - Brazil it will be easy to do Italy - Spain’ and enrolled in University in Torino. A month into his life in Italy she broke up with him. He began to wrestle with the idea of staying in Italy or moving back to Brazil, eventually he decided to stay, dedicating this time abroad to work on himself… He was in Italy for a year and a half before meeting me.
Where are you from and where is your significant other from? I am from a small town near Byron Bay in Australia, and André is from Recife, Brazil.
Where and when did you meet your significant other? We met on the first day of summer next to a bar, outside of a club in Genova, Liguria. I lived in the city working as an au pair but André was spontaneously visiting the city with his housemate. I never saw the appeal in Italian men,as a tall girl most of them were shorter than me which was a MAJOR turn off, also every guy I met was either: 1. really sleazy and fake by treating 457829 girls all the same way, or 2. they were horrendously sexist and didn’t even try to be charming they just saw women as objects, OR 3. they were major Mammone and couldn’t function independently.
Curator's Note: BAHAHAH I love this fresh and honest take on the Italian man, so far we've just had stories of girls being totally smitten from the first batting of eyelashes.
I heard countless horror stories of friends going home with Italian men and in the morning they needed to leave BEFORE Mamma woke up OR had to awkwardly wait in his room silently all day until Mamma left the house to run errands so he wouldn’t fracture Mamma's perception of her perfect boy.
Curator's Note: OMFG.
So, when a friend and I approached the two olive-skinned, dark-haired men standing at a bar outside of a club speaking Italian to each other- the entire intent was to get free drinks and immediately run away before they got pervy.
Curator's Note: GIRL, YOU ARE MY #GOALS.
Both of us accidentally ended up being charmed by this tall Brazilian man that spoke perfect English. Suddenly my friend realised that he was interested in me and she got sided with his Italian friend who did not speak English.
Curator's Note: Ooooo you owe her one!
Who made the first move? I guess I made the first move by walking up to the bar flirting with him, but it was only to get a free drink! I was only supposed to be in Italy for 8 more months and I was not interested in getting into a relationship at all. André was the one to initiate our first kiss and made the first move between friends with benefits to a relationship.
Curator's Note: Friends with benefits! Love it! Again, love the blatant honesty in this.
If you were the foreigner, where did you think he was initially from? We were both the foreigner in the situation, which I see as a really positive aspect of our relationship. I think if I was with an Italian who had all of his family and childhood friends around him and I was completely segregated from everyone and everything I’ve ever known, I would become envious of him and kind of resent being able to see his family every day as I wouldn’t be able to see mine for years. When I first saw him, I noticed his height- as most Italian men are tiny and I tower over them in heels, whereas he was still taller than me in heels. He was well-dressed and had olive skin and dark hair and he was speaking Italian, I had been in Italy long enough to understand most Italian but speaking was still difficult. I guess you assume that if someone is speaking the language with a friend they ARE that nationality. André knew I was foreign- I don’t look Italian at all and he guessed either American, Canadian or Australian.
What was your first impression of him? He was super over-confident and struck me as a little bit of a player (I think I called him an asshole a couple times) he was really charming and I kind of assumed that he did this with a lot of girls, so I felt safe that I wouldn’t be raked into a relationship. We joked and danced the night away, and he put my number in his phone and made me promise we would go out for a date tomorrow night while I dragged my very intoxicated friend home.
To my surprise he messaged me the whole next day making sure we could still have that dinner and I learnt a little bit more about him. To my surprise he was just as funny sober as he was drunk, but also very intelligent and compassionate. He was studying Engineering in Torino, two hours away, so before the date I told myself repeatedly not to get emotionally invested as he lived 2 hours away and I was going home in 8 months. This wasn’t my first date or man I had been with since the break up, I had kept myself from getting emotionally attached by using apps like Tinder where no one was kidding themselves and trying to find ‘love’.
Curator's Note: I am so curious about how Tinder works in Italy, is it the same as everywhere else in the world? Are there full-on creepers? Is everyone super hot? Tell me all the things.
I was realistic about my reality. A 25 hour flight from Brisbane to Milan isn’t convenient or cheap, the 10 hour time difference made it almost impossible to keep in contact with friends and family and he was going to be studying in Italy for numerous years.
We went out for a dinner date at the best all-you-can-eat Sushi restaurant in Genova and the whole night was magical. He was handsome, artistic, athletic, widely travelled, quick-witted, open with his emotions; he was able to hold a deep conversation and then instantly make me laugh while intellectually challenging me. He was electric and so well-rounded as a person I couldn’t believe my luck.
Curator's Note: *swoooooon* I want someone to describe me as "electric"! That might be the most romantic thing I've ever heard!
Until I realised I wasn’t lucky at all… I met this guy who has all the characteristics I wanted in a man aaaand he lives on the other side of the globe… and I’m leaving in 8 months. The morning after he told me he really liked me as a person and wanted to keep seeing me. I instantly cut off his sentence and said “We can’t be exclusive” he agreed and that was the beginning. It was of 3 months of both of us catching 2 hour trains to spend almost every weekend together and FaceTiming everyday. I was happy, but I was afraid of falling for him so I kept Tinder as an emotional distraction and went on dates with other guys but could never convince myself do anything physical with them.
Dish on the first kiss! Brazilian men are not subtle at all and are persistent- maybe even more than Italians! So when we started dancing, he took that as confirmation that he could kiss me. He caught me completely by surprise and pretty much stuck his tongue in my mouth. I was shocked and pushed him away like he was a crazy person and he realised he had to work for it a little bit and eventually I caved (was probably the fantastic Brazilian dance moves).
Curator's Note: without a doubt. You had me at Brazilian and dancing.
Where do you live now? After the months went on, seeing each other every weekend and face timing everyday, André eventually admitted he was falling in love with me and hated the idea that I would be seeing anyone else. At the same time and completely unrelated my Mum asked me if I ever considered studying in Italy before. This inspired Chiara to start looking into the likeliness of me being able to actually be accepted into Italian University. We decided that the University of Milan was the best school for the course I was interested in, but I had two weeks to prepare for the exam when all of the other students I was competing against had been practicing for a year and there was only 8 spots open to non-EU students. André was ecstatic, if I could study like him it meant we could have a shot at being an actual couple. I was accepted into the University of Milano to everyone’s surprise and delight. I quit my job as an Au Pair and temporarily moved into André’s place in Torino while looking for apartments in Milano. After a lot of unfortunate things took place, André and I are living together permanently in Torino and I commute everyday to Milano.
Have you learnt each other's languages? André speaks 5 languages fluently (he’s a bit of an over-achiever) so we normally speak English but I’m trying to improve my Italian so whenever we are in a public place André and I speak Italian to practice but also blend in. At home I always ask him to teach me Portuguese so I can talk to his family, as he has a great relationship with my Mother but I’m mostly unable to communicate with his family.
Curator's Note: Whoa what a catch, FIVE languages?! Can he share some of that please?!
Any advice to “mixed” culture couples or couples doing long-distance? Patience, Communication and Understanding are key- especially when you live together. André and I are both very open-minded people, but you always have to be mindful of another person's experiences and social norms. Because something that seems completely okay with you isn’t always okay with the other person. There is a difference between Character and Culture, in every relationship the two people will have different characteristics that make up who they are that they have to compromise for, mixed culture couples have the added issue of Cultural differences. Your partner will not understand childhood jokes or memes and your type of humour, they won’t understand your slang, their understanding of what level of PDA is acceptable will be different, they might have a different relationship involving family and typical religious practices or holidays that are either very different or simply don’t exist in your country. Coming from a Latino and an Occidental Culture but living in Italy is a strangely unique situation. Sometimes it feels like we are in a relationship with Italy, as it’s the society we live in and something that's accepted by both of our cultures might not always be socially accepted in Italy! André and I have been fortunate not to have ever done long distance for a significant time as we live together, but when we go home for a holiday individually we have to battle against huge time differences. It’s really important to FaceTime as often as you can and never spare the smallest detail. Tell your partner every single aspect in your day even if it might bore them or its not particularly interesting.
Curator's Note: The part about not understanding childhood jokes and memes and slang is so huge. Just last night we were watching something and there was reference to the birthday game "Pin the Tail on the Donkey" (please tell me they do that in Australia too??) and I had to explain it to my husband. Sidenote: it's very hard to get across the entertainment value of Pin the Tail on the Donkey when trying to describe it.
Thank you for all the time you took to write this story out Athena, it was extremely detailed and insightful and I think there will be many readers grateful to you.
Submitted by Athena. Here's how you can connect with these two: Instagram: @ah_thee_nah and @decoholanda Twitter: @ah_thee-nah
A huge, heartfelt thanks to Athena and André for sharing their love story with us. Vi auguro tante belle cose. xoxo If you enjoyed this post, you may also like to "dare un'occhiata" at all of the Love Story Lunedì. There are so many amazing stories to read so make sure you're all caught up. And should you want to share your own story or know of a couple who would, please get in touch.
There’s no manual for hearts. No cryptic, impossible-to-decipher IKEA-esque instructions that show you how to put the pieces back together leaving you with an almost-heart missing one screw causing it to sit slightly crooked in your chest cavity. I would take an imperfectly-assembled heart over the million and one pieces that feel like they’ve settled into the depths of my gut, sliding from side-to-side as I toss and turn in the pitch black of the night, seeming to come to life as my hand accidentally slips and touches the cold mattress where your heart used to be. This was all my doing, so I shouldn’t even be writing this. The spilt milk is mine. I loved being in love with him but at the same time, I couldn’t keep loving him. His goodness was never meant for a woman like me. He needed white picket fences and freshly cut grass and Sunday mornings. I needed planes and Friday nights in Hong Kong. I was meant for little black dresses and little else. We were so happy until we weren’t, so perfect until imperfection became what I craved. I knew I had to go. The fact was, I didn’t love him more than all the sunsets in the world I hadn’t yet seen. And so he called me selfish, called me adjectives and nouns that I never knew he knew. He called me crazy for choosing sunsets over soul mates but what he didn’t know, what I never told him, is that my soul doesn’t believe in monogamy. She’s promiscuous, a hot mess, flitting from city to city for one-night stands and falling in love all over the world. Read ten very short stories which are now available as a cute collection in my first eBook: This Sweet Life. You can download it for FREE in my store! Or read the individual posts in the Creative Writing category: Creative Writing: Happier Creative Writing: Whiskey Creative Writing: The Perfect Day in Italy Creative Writing: Call Me Baby Creative Writing: The Butterfly Effect
If Monday isn't your favorite day of the week yet, it just means this is the first time you've stumbled upon Love Story Lunedì over here on my little blog for hopeless romantics, wandering hearts, and the foreign-boy obsessed. Today's story is just PERFECT for those of you who grew up reading YA romance novels, it has all the mandatory plot points- a girl from the Bronx, summers in Italy, an Italian with a "bad boy" reputation (YAAASSSSS), a first kiss attempt followed by a slap, an actual first kiss, and an eventual move from The Big Apple to Italy's Big Apple- MILAN. I'll let Rosa take the wheel from here as she was kind enough to provide us a quick backstory...
The Backstory: As an American born to Italian parents (both my parents were born in southern Italy), I kind of always figured I’d end up with an Italian! We’ve known each other for years, but didn’t get together until six years ago while I was studying abroad in Roma for a semester. He came down from Milano to visit me for the weekend, and after a wildly romantic two days, I fell head over heels for him and that Milanese accent! Ever since then, we’ve had a long-distance relationship, except for two years ago when I lived in Milano for a year to pursue a post-graduate degree. I decided to go back to New York for personal reasons at the end of the year; so, out of the six years we’ve been together, only one was spent in the same continent. Now that I’ve moved back to Milano, we’re ecstatic to see what life has in store for us! Where are you from and where is your significant other from? I’m from the United States (specifically from the Bronx, New York) and Rocco is from San Donato Milanese, Italy.
Curator's Note: I'm not going to lie, Jenny from the Block is playing in my head right now.
Where and when did you meet your significant other? We officially met back in the summer of 2004, but didn’t become a couple until February 2012. Both of our fathers were born in the same town in Salerno, so when I visited my family in the summers, he was always there. Funny enough, my brother hung out with him and they went out often as part of a larger group of friends. I was only 13 at the time, so I usually stayed home. Eventually, as I got older, I started hanging out with the group every time we visited Italy in the summer.
Curator's Note: Like I said, sounds like a teen novel in the making.
Who made the first move? He did, and I think I slapped him! I remember back in 2010, during a summer vacation, he was supposed to go to the gym with my brother, and—instead—accompanied me on a walk around our town. We were sitting by a fountain when he moved next to me and tried to kiss me, but I pushed him away because I wasn’t feeling it at all.
A year later, he tried again and succeeded (haha!), but nothing came of it since I was only on vacation in Italy for a month. It wasn’t until the spring of 2012, while I was studying abroad in Roma, that we became official. By May, although it was the end of the semester, we knew it wasn’t the end for us; so, we committed to doing the long-distance thing.
Where did you think he was initially from? I knew he was Italian, but he could have easily passed for Turkish or Albanian.
What was your first impression of him? Word around our fathers’ town was that he was a ‘player’, and even my nonna warned me about hanging out with him because of his ‘bad boy’ reputation. I think that’s why I avoided getting too close to him in the beginning, but—then—curiosity eventually got the best of me!
Curator's Note: GOD DO I LOVE ME A BAD BOY. What's so fascinating about them?!
Dish on the first kiss! Well, as you know, he failed the first time! The next year, though, in August of 2011, we were in his car and I think we had just dropped our friend off after attending a rock concert in another town. It was super late, and I went to kiss him on both cheeks to say goodnight, when he suddenly turned his head and kissed me on the lips. I didn’t push him away this time…
Where do you live now? We’re now staying in San Donato Milanese, but soon we’ll be moving into our apartment in the city center.
Curator's Note: I need to come to Milan for a visit!
Have you learnt each other's languages? Yes! His English is quite good since he studied in London for bit after university, and he also utilizes it at his job. I am fluent in Italian after not only growing up in a very Italian family, but also having studied the language in both high school and college.
Any advice to “mixed” culture couples or couples doing long-distance? My nuggets of wisdom to people in long-distance relationships are to have faith, stay busy and ignore the doubters. It is so easy to lose hope and allow sadness to seep into every aspect of your life. I know because I did exactly that once I returned from studying abroad. I didn’t want to do anything but cry, think about him and cry some more. Eventually, eight months passed and I became too distracted with my last-semester-senior-year responsibilities to be sad all the time. Of course, you will miss him or her every day, and you’ll probably tear up watching couples hold hands as they walk on the street. You have to believe, though, that one day, that will be you two. You will be told that you’re crazy, and asked how you can trust your partner to stay faithful. The best thing to do in these types of situations? IGNORE THEM! Let them think what they want; you know your relationship better than anyone, and—if the cynicism from loved ones gets to you— talk to them about it! Curator's Note: Haters gonna hate. This advice was ON POINT Rosa.
A huge, heartfelt thanks to Rosa and Rocco for sharing their love story with us. Vi auguro tante belle cose. xoxo If you enjoyed this post, you may also like to "dare un'occhiata" at all of the Love Story Lunedì. There are so many amazing stories to read so make sure you're all caught up. And should you want to share your own story or know of a couple who would, please get in touch.
WELCOME BACK TO THE BEST DAY OF THE WEEK: Love Story Lunedì! Today I have a YouTube beauty who you all need to follow IMMEDIATELY- Hayley Alexis! She hails from the USA and started her channel to appease her friends' and family's questions about life in "tschland" where she currently lives with her sexy German, Mike. We're keeping today's story short and sweet (I think Hayley has become rather German in this sense, her answers were very concise!) but I'm including some videos where you can watch the two of them together because they are THE CUTEST.
Where are you from and where is your significant other from? I am from the USA and Mike is from Germany.
Where and when did you meet your significant other? We met in Munich at a bar. Curator's Note: I just came back from Munich yesterday and ADORED IT. Also, there are a ton of cute boys there! I was really caught off guard, it seems like nobody ever mentions this!
Who made the first move? ME! I don’t even think Mike noticed me, I was the weirdo stalker going up to him telling him to smile… CRINGE.
Curator's Note: I love it though, I feel like that's such an American girl thing to do ha!
Who was the foreigner in this and where did he think you were from? I was the foreigner and he did not think I was from The US.
Curator's Note: I would love to hear more about this or to hear where he thought you were from. I've been told often that I'm slightly racially ambiguous at times and in fact, when I was in Munich on Saturday night, our waiter asked if I was Mexican...!
What was your first impression of him? My first impression was OHHH HEYYY he’s cute.
Curator's Note: Basically me every ten minutes in Munich, LBH.
Dish on the first kiss! The “technical” first kiss was on the night that we met and I pecked him on the lips *middle school kiss*.
Curator's Note: YOU GO GIRL.
Where are you currently living? Still in Munich.
Have you learnt each other's languages? Yes, we both speak each other's languages. Mike- English & Me- German.
Curator's Note: Would LOVE to hear about learning German! Here's a video where you can watch them doing the Boyfriend/Girlfriend Tag IN GERMAN.
BOYFRIEND/GIRLFRIEND TAG AUF DEUTSCH - YouTube
Any advice to “mixed” culture couples or couples doing long-distance? Since I am in the USA on a 5 month trip (since Mike and I have started dating we have maybe been away from each other 2 weeks max) the best advice is to try and communicate everyday *even if it’s just a text* and try not to focus on being apart but focus on when you will be back together and how nice and exciting it will be.
A huge, heartfelt thanks to Hayley and Mike for sharing their love story with us. Vi auguro tante belle cose. xoxo If you enjoyed this post, you may also like to "dare un'occhiata" at all of the Love Story Lunedì. There are so many amazing stories to read so make sure you're all caught up. And should you want to share your own story or know of a couple who would, please get in touch.
I love opening my inbox and seeing the preview of an e-mail that starts with "I've just met a hot Italian man". That's how all great stories begin, I'd say that it only comes second to any version of "So we were doing tequila body shots in Bangkok one night...". I'm going to go ahead and assume that by intimate, you intend physical, as in you haven't seen any Italian sausage yet. I'm sorry, I had to. You don't mention any timelines in this little story, I would personally be flattered to hear this declaration after a substantial amount of time (read: months) getting to know someone exclusively through conversation but I'm guessing that this isn't the case here if you're having questions. The short answer is YES. Italian men are often much more forward with feelings in the beginning of a relationship and I would say tend to fall faster. They love LOVE and they love to be in love. The issue is that it's hard to tell how well they are able to differentiate between the feelings in their loins from their hearts at the start, but I think that could be said about the male gender in general. As such, I can't comment on the authenticity of what he's saying but that's besides the point. If his declarations of amore eterno are freaking you out, like when Carrie's Russian named his piano piece "The Girl With Eyes That Sparkle", and you're not feeling the same, tell your Italian to turn it down a notch. If you're loving it, go with it and see where it takes you. Yes, men say these things to get into your pants but always remember that you have the cookie and you control what to do with it. Should you be concerned that this is all a scheme to get you to give it up, it might be, but keep in mind that there's no Harvard-backed research saying that if you give a man a cookie too early in the relationship, he'll eat it and run. There are plenty of couples that had a midnight milk and cookie party (this analogy is getting a bit out of hand now) on date one and are still happily together. The worst-case scenario is you have sex with a hot Italian man and end up not having to starch and iron his shirts for the rest of your life. Sounds like the best worst-case scenario to me.
Quick Note: this is a new Category I'm testing out as a means to answer some of the e-mails or comments that I receive. They are modified or edited slightly for grammar and clarity purposes and the names made anonymous and any other identifying names or features have been changed. If you have a question, please write to Dear Jasmine at questadolcevitablog(at)gmail.com. I hope my answers can be helpful and if they're not helpful, at least humorous.
If you follow my Instastories, I can only assume that you’re aware I was watching the Netflix tween movie, “The Kissing Booth” last week. No shame here. I highly recommend it because Noah, the love interest, is hot as fuck like all boys named Noah are (this is my theory at least). Please comment if you happen to know a non-hot Noah. Anyways while watching it, I started feeling something that I can only describe as nostalgia. I tried to figure out what I was reminiscing about. Was it high school? Youth? Innocence? First love? Red solo cups? Drinking games? I found myself rewinding and replaying certain scenes and I noticed that they were all scenes featuring the main protaganists having a conversation and that’s when it dawned on me. I wasn’t getting these funny feelings in my tummy because of all the prosecco I drank on a empty stomach, it was because the dialogue in English was making me remember what it was like to be falling in love IN ENGLISH. To love in MY NATIVE LANGUAGE. To shamelessly flirt in my tongue. Not in a mixture of Italian and English. Not in Italish. No pauses, no “come si dice”, no furrowed brows or awkward laughs or pretending to understand when one or both parties didn't understand shit. Well ok maybe the awkward laughs would still be there. But I’m talking about a dialogue of witty banter and youthful slang and perfectly-conjugated past perfect progressive tenses. Oh AND QUESTIONS WITH THE AUXILLARY VERB "DO". Questions that aren't statements with rising intonation at the end. A real, English question. That’s what was making my heart skip a beat. I realized that I will never have that again (especially the questions with "do", my husband almost never uses the correct interrogative form, a common finding in Italy).
All those dialogues, the telephone conversations, the puns, the play on words, the English innuendos…that was what I had and now they represent all I will ever have. Those exchanges are as part of the past as all the ex-boyfriends that mouthed the words. I know you’re probably thinking- well, you’re married, they will (hopefully) have always been a thing of the past, what does this have to do with language? But what I’m saying is it’s a mourning of THE LANGUAGE of a life lived on different soil, not of the life per say. It's been a great life and I would never jeopradize it or wish I lived anywhere else. I can flirt in Italian and my husband and friends here speak to me in English but it isn’t the same is it? It’s never exactly how it used to be, passing notes in high school or finding one wedged into your locker at lunchtime. Somehow, I just have this feeling that if I were still living in an English-speaking country, those moments and those memories would feel closer to me- vivid and alive, fed by the language. Instead they feel like they're in a box somewhere in my room in Canada, gathering dust and I'm almost worried I'll forget what my first boyfriend's voice sounded like when he told me I love you for the first time.
One of my Canadian expat friends in Italy hit the nail on the head when she wrote me saying:
“[It] kinda feels nostalgic to think of love in English…a mix of homesickness and youth?”.
I’d love to hear from you. Have you ever had this revelation?
Hi friends! So sorry I'm late with today's love story. I feel like we haven't seen each other in ages, but really it's only been two weeks since the last time I posted. I guess that's how you know it's true love right? Today's couple are from the UK but their love story and shared love of travelling (and of Italy) brought them to The Eternal City where they now reside. This story has all the good stuff: a girl from The North and a boy from The South, Match.com, a first kiss in a glass elevator with London as the background, innumerable laughs, four houses, four jobs, fourteen countries and finally a move to Rome. Happy reading everyone!
Where are you from and where is your significant other from? We are both from the UK. I am from Yorkshire (The North) and Nick is from Somerset (South West) – there is a North South ‘divide’ in the UK so this is a constant source of banter between us. Before we met, I had an antique map of Yorkshire in a frame in my home. When we moved in together I bought him a similar map of Somerset so he would also feel represented. These were the only two pictures we brought with us to Rome!
Where and when did you meet your significant other? We met online (Jan 2014) through Match.com. Nick was the first and only online date I went on. His friends tease me saying I didn’t understand that you pay per month and not per date and I should have made the most of my subscription! Obviously I think it was just fate! Nick on the other hand had been internet dating a couple of years and was ready to give up and be a bachelor if our date didn’t go well. Curator's Note: So happy that fate brought you two together! I really love hearing internet dating stories, it's so common nowadays, or even if it wasn't on a dating site, there's so much of a digital factor in the beginning of relationships.
Who made the first move? Apparently I ‘winked’ at Nick online so he sent me a message. Nick considers this the first move but I think he made the first move when he kissed me on our second date.
What was your first impression of him? Nick’s first impression of me was that I was late to our first date – a theme which has continued so he should have known what to expect! My first impression of Nick was that he was really interesting and well-travelled. I knew from his online profile that he was a Vet who specialized in cows. I had no idea how interesting this job could be! He travels all over the world advising governments and doing research. Our shared love of travel is something which bonded us from the beginning. On our first date he talked about how he travels to Rome often for work and this was somewhere he would like to live one day. This was like music to my ears as I’d always wanted to live in Italy. It took us 4 years from the first date but we now live in Rome together!
Curator's Note: OMG he's a vet, I'm loving this, how lovely! It always reminds me of Grey's Anatomy when Meredith was going out with Finn, the vet.
Dish on the first kiss! Our first kiss was very memorable because it was in a glass elevator with a view over London. We had dinner in The Duck and Waffle restaurant in London which is on the 40th floor. The elevator is on the exterior of the building so you can see fantastic views of London as you go up and down. We finished dinner at around midnight and were alone in the lift going back down. It was very romantic having the night skyline of London in the background. Nick took me by surprise though and it could have been quite awkward if I hadn’t wanted to kiss him given the confined space. Luckily his advances were welcome! Nick says he was dropping hints by making a display of eating a mint and offering me one…clearly this was too subtle for me as I wasn’t expecting him to move in!
Curator's Note: Bahahaha, making a display of eating a mint. Excellent strategy.
How did you know it was love? Despite instantly being physically attracted to Nick (who doesn’t love a dark hair, dark beard and glasses combo!) it was definitely more a case of growing to love each other rather than love at first sight. When I tried to break it off after a couple of months he consistently kept in contact and even left flowers and cakes at my door – I knew from then on (plus the fact I missed him terribly) that he was a keeper. We always made each other laugh and I think always having a great time together makes you feel very close, but the first moment I knew it was a real lasting ‘this is the one’ love was when he helped me write some important but difficult correspondence. He showed up to meet me from work bringing his laptop and suggested we write the letter together over a drink. I was able to see how diplomatic he was, how professional, calm and empathetic but also that he was a force to be reckoned with. I realized that this was a guy that really had my back, emotionally as well as practically. It wasn’t that I needed help but accepting his help made me realize that together we made a whole greater than the sum of its parts.
Curator's Note: YES, WHO doesn't love the dark hair, dark beard, and glasses combo?!
One thing you love the most about him? We’ve been through a lot together. In four years we’ve had four homes, changed jobs four times between us, been to 14 countries together, done a masters and a PhD and moved to live a foreign country. I’m very proud of how well we’ve worked together to do all these things and I think in part it’s because Nick is very adaptable - which is an admirable quality. But what makes me love him most is his sense of humor. On my worst days he’s had me in stitches laughing and I don’t know that there’s anything more fundamental for a good life than that.
Now I’m just hoping for an Italian proposal and possibly some Italian babies…!
Curator's Note: In the end, you just wanna be with someone who makes you laugh. By the way, what's an "Italian" proposal?
Submitted by Philippa.
A huge, heartfelt thanks to Philippa and Nick for sharing their love story with us. Vi auguro tante belle cose. xoxo
If you enjoyed this post, you may also like to "dare un'occhiata" at all of the Love Story Lunedì. There are so many amazing stories to read so make sure you're all caught up. And should you want to share your own story or know of a couple who would, please get in touch.
I just realized that today is both Love Story Lunedì AND May 7th which means I had to make the very heart-wrenching choice between sharing a love story and sharing my #DolceVitaBloggers contribution! Just kidding, I came up with a brilliant compromise that incorporates some of the Monday romance you're all used to and this month's linkup topic which was: FIVE ITALIAN WORDS OR PHRASES (and why you love them). Italian has always been considered the language of romance, and for good reason, the way it rolls off the lips of a sexy Italian is second to none. Sorry if this is TMI but I find Italian to be a HUGE TURN ON. Before studying the language, I might have said that the Italian accent in English was hot but now I just want to hear the language in all its full glory. Sometimes I just lie in dark and listen to Italian songs and just get completely lost in the words. Nerd alert. You know what is also extremely sexy? THE CONGIUNTIVO. Oh man, when I hear an Italian boy use the congiuntivo come se FOSSE niente, my pants just dissolve. I mean, technically there's no reason why Italians shouldn't be using the congiuntivo correctly but I think I love it because it's such a hard concept for English-speakers to grasp. Getting back on topic, here's FIVE romantic, sexy phrases in Italian that I just adore the socks off:
So now you're probably wondering what they mean and why I chose them so here we go:
1. TOGLIMI IL FIATO: this is the Italian for take my breath away. This came into mind because the play on words with the verb "togliere" is often "sfruttato" (taken advantage of) in song lyrics like in this song by Italian rapper Raige:
Volevo toglierti il fiato prima di toglierti l'abito.
(I wanted to take your breath away before taking off your dress)
Not very melodic or poetic in English yet it's very pretty in Italian right?
2. TI VOGLIO BENE: there's no great way to translate this in English, we just don't have it. When my then-boyfriend first said it to me (it's often abbreviated by young people as TVB), I had to Google it. It literally translates to "I want you well", in the sense, I want good things for you or I want all the best for you. It's often used as the middle step between mi piaci (I like you) and ti amo (I love you) in romantic relationships. But part of its beauty is that it is the phrase of choice between friends and also relatives. While in English, we fucking LOVE everything, even inanimate objects and delicious things like gelato, Italians reserves love for VERY specific contexts. I LOVE this (ahah, catch the irony folks) about Italian. It's true, love is a very unique sentiment that should be revered and not thrown around like in it is in English.
3. SEI UNO SCHIANTO: a schianto is literally a crash, usually a car crash but is used figuratively to say that someone is super hot. So if your Italian date picks you up and you're dressed to kill, he might tell you "sei uno schianto". It's similar to how we say "you're a knockout" in English.
4. MI FAI IMPAZZIRE: it's "you're driving me crazy/wild" and is used in the same contexts as in English. It can be positive or negative, like when someone is driving you nuts with their behaviour or when someone is really turning you on, making you crazy, driving you wild. Here's a great example of the latter use from The Vampire Diaries, pay attention to what Damon says to Elena: starti vicino mi fa impazzire.
5. PER SEMPRE: well this is an easy one, it means FOREVER and I love it because we all want something that lasts per sempre. (that's a short clip from The Notebook in Italian, the EPIC speech by Noah in front of the car and a great context example for the use of per sempre).
Well friends, that's it, that's all for this month of #DolceVitaBloggers. Please leave a comment and then go and check out the other amazing posts. Please feel free to download the INSTASTORY TEMPLATE that we made for this and tag myself, Kristie, and Kelly (scroll down).