Jennifer: My Sardinian Life
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Please tell us a little bit about yourself. Who you are, where you come from, when you moved to Italy, etc.
My name is Jennifer Avventura. I was born in Canada and moved abroad when I was old enough to buy an airplane ticket and cheap wine. I moved to Sardinia, Italy in May 2008.
When and why did you decide to start blogging about your experiences?
I started my blog My Sardinian Life in 2010. I wanted an outlet to share all the marvels this island has to offer. I wanted to give those searching for information on Sardinia something concrete and in English, as in 2008 when I was doing my research there was very little information or blogs on Sardinia.
Do you have any favorite blog entries of yours?
There are over 500 blog entries at My Sardinian Life. They range from recipes, best beaches, top 10 lists, culture, traditions and embarrassing expat stories. Here are a few of my favourites:
- The Mysterious Flag of Sardinia
- The naked truth on nude beaches in Sardinia, Italy
- Eerie food from Sardinia – Casu Marzu
Tell us about the ways your new life in Italy differs from that back home. Did you have trouble getting used to the new circumstances? Did you experience culture shock?
My life in Sardinia is very different from the life I led in Canada. I am a full-time house-wife who is a freelance writer and blogger in a small mountain town in the north of Sardinia. In Canada I was a full-time waitress at a 500 seat restaurant over-looking the stunning Niagara Falls.
The only trouble I encountered in Sardinia was the language(s). When I moved here the only thing I could say was: ciao, pizza, pasta, spaghetti and cómo estás. For the first three months, I greeted everyone with a Spanish ‘hello,’ I got a lot of smiles and laughter and made a few new friends.
Sardinia is an Italian speaking island, however, there are over 200 different dialects spoken here. In my town they speak Gallurese which is so very different from Italian. Not only did I have to study Italian, I had to keep my ears wide open to learn and comprehend Gallurese. Now, after almost six years of being here I am fluent in listening to Gallurese and fluent in Italian, even though my grammar needs work.
Do you think you were fully prepared for what awaited you in Italy? If you could, would you change some decisions/preparations you made?
I had already lived in three other English-speaking countries before moving to Italy, so I guess you could say I was a pro at being an expat and a newbie at learning a different language. If I could go back 6 years, I would have studied Italian before boarding the plane.
Every expat knows that expat life comes with some hilarious anecdotes and funny experiences. Care to share one with us?
I have plenty of hilarious and embarrassing stories, like that time I asked for … maybe it’s better to read the full story here: Learning Italian: You said what?
Which three tips would you like to give future expats before they embark on their new life in Italy?
- Study Italian before you step foot on the plane. Depending on where you go in Italy the only English you may hear are the words inside your head.
- Research the town/city you are planning on living in for things like: scheduled public transportation, a doctor and schools.
- If it’s a dream to live “la dolce vita,” then just get out and do it. Live your dream and be your dream.
How is the expat community in Italy? Did you have a hard time finding like-minded people or fellow expats?
Living in a small mountain town in Sardinia certainly closes you off to finding like-minded people. There are a handful of expats who live in Sardinia albeit too far away from me to develop a meaningful relationship. I am in contact with a few of those expats on a weekly basis via email; it would be nice to meet them one day.
How would you summarize your expat life in Italy in a single, catchy sentence?
Happy house-wife in small town Sardinia; where the endless blue sky meets the deep blue sea.