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Pecora Nera and Mrs Sensible: Englishman in Italy

In our InterNations Recommended Blog section we let you take the spotlight! Expat life in general is, of course, a perfect breeding ground for great, user-generated reads, and life in Italy makes no exception. Take your time and browse the great blogs showcased in this article!

Please tell us a little bit about yourself. Who you are, where you come from, when you moved to Italy, etc.

8 years ago I married an Italian (Mrs Sensible) and against her better judgment, I persuaded her that we should move to Italy. For the past 6 years we have lived amongst the vineyards in Piemonte, prior to that we lived in organised but rainy England. I am still learning the Italian language and have passed the ‘ciao, cosi cosi and non e’ vero’ stage; I have in fact progressed and I have added a few phrases to my Italian vocabulary, they include ‘dove è mia moglie?, Dov’è il bagno? and mi piace il vino’

When and why did you decide to start blogging about your experiences?

I was writing a book about life in Italy, I guess all Expats go through this stage, I decided to start a blog to practice writing and 12 months later I am still writing the blog and enjoying the fun.

Do you have any favorite blog entries of yours?

I have two posts that spring to mind, the first is about my Sicilian mother in law trying to get through Gatwick security with a pen knife in her handbag; and the second, Electrickery, is a short post that demonstrates how organized Italy really is. I didn’t want to scare your readers with the driving license saga.

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?

The biggest culture shock is realizing I can wear flip flops almost all year round, that and the numbers of forms that need to be signed, counter signed, rubber stamped and photocopied before anything happens in Italy.

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 don’t think anyone is ever fully prepared for life in Italy. What preparations would I have made? I would have brought more packs of bacon and a couple of cases of proper tea bags.

Every expat knows that expat life comes with some hilarious anecdotes and funny experiences. Care to share one with us?

One evening while we were staying overnight with relatives in deepest Sicily, I decided to compliment an aunt on her fabulous cooking; unfortunately I managed to mix up cane (dog) with carne (meat). My wife’s face was a picture as I stumbled through “this roast dog is very nice”

Which three tips would you like to give future expats before they embark on their new life in Italy?

  • bring your sense of humor;
  • bring lots of bacon;
  • marry an Italian.

How is the expat community in Italy? Did you have a hard time finding like-minded people or fellow expats?

I think expats are thinly scattered around Italy, I occasionally bump into one, in fact I took a train from Piemonte to Florence to meet up with a group of Expats

How would you summarize your expat life in Italy in a single, catchy sentence?

Disorganized chaos with a bit of sunshine, wine and good food thrown in.


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