Category Archives: Italy

Photos from Ormala & Bobbio Italy

As promised (but a little Late) are some photos from when we were in Oltrepo Pavese Italy earlier this year.  Enjoy!

This coming Saturday we’re off to Austria for a 9-day vacation.  A VERY much needed vacation for both of us.  The last time we had a serious vacation together was back in November 2006 when we went to Marsa Alam Egypt.  In February 2008 we did spend 5 days in England but it wasn’t as relaxing compared to Egypt.


FINALLY a new post!

Wow it has been over two years since I’ve written anything on this blog.  I have not posted anything because I felt I had nothing interesting to post.  Life had become routine and we had not gone anywhere.

Without writing a 500-page novel, after returning from the States in June 2010 after the death of my mother, we fell back into a “routine” where we basically “existed” and both the husband and I had been stuck there ever since.  My husband’s back started to increasingly give him more and more problems and ended up bed ridden.  I continued on with my English lessons and taking care of my husband.  August of last year we spent ten days along Lake Lugano where one of my husband’s cousins has a house along the lake.

January 2012 we spent a weekend in Oltrepò Pavese  Italy.  Oltrepò Pavese is an area in the northwestern corner of the region of Lombardy.  Oltrepò is famous in this area for their wines.  Beautiful area, just some of the roads at night made me a bit nervous!  Considering we were in the mountains, in winter.  There were some parts of the road there was no guard rail so nothing between you and the raven below, ice/snow covered road and in total darkness.  Easily understandable why one would be nervous, no?  The other half understood when we went back in April, we took a little road trip on the same road during the day and in better weather conditions obviously.  It sunk in why….

April 2012 my purse was stolen from my car on my weekly trip to the supermarket.  I had loaded up my car, taken the shopping cart back, put my purse on the driver’s side seat, and closed the door for a moment.  A car with two men stopped and asked for directions, where these men were from I do not know, but from their accents and complexions not from Italy. I gave them directions and they were off.  I got into my car, pulled out and looked down, no purse!  Went back to the supermarket, tore my car apart, nothing.  Went into the supermarket, nothing.  Checked by the shopping carts, nothing.  At least I still had the car key and my cell phone.  But everything else, gone.  Wallet, my South Dakota driver’s license, credit cards from here and the States, house keys, Italian Identification Card, Italian health card, cash.  I had put my husband’s wedding ring in my wallet for safe keeping because it had become too tight due to he gaining some weight.  The ring is now gone as well.  At least my passports I had left at home that day.

Thankfully my husband was home at the time so the apartment was open.  But just in case we changed the locks since my house keys were in my purse along with my identification, which lists my address.  By the time all was said and done, took over a month to get all missing documents replaced, mainly my Italian documents.  My driver’s license I have a temporary paper license valid for one year until I can get back to South Dakota to have a permanent replacement.   The Italian bureaucracy was crazy, as always.  I have come to expect that here.

So if you decide to move and live here and have to report your wallet/purse stolen and need to replace your Italian documents, the procedure is as follows:

  • File a police report (denuncia in Italian) with the local police or Carabinieri. If you had any credit cards in your wallet, try to track down the credit card numbers; the police WILL ask for this and if you don’t have them they will not take the report.  They’ll tell you to come back once you have the credit card numbers.  Without this police report you are unable to get a replacement I.D. , health card or permit to stay (permesso di soggiorno) or passports.
  • Visit your local town hall (comune) with two photos and the ORIGINAL police report.  The comune will NOT accept a photocopy of the police report.  The new Italian Identification cards are now valid for ten years expiring on your birthday.
  • Italian health office is your next stop (or even before the comune) to replace your Italian health card and fiscal code card, which are now conveniently one card.  The health office, like the comune, asks for the original copy of the police report (denuncia)
  • To replace your permit to stay (permesso di soggiorno) you will have to visit your local Questura (police station) with of course the original police report in hand to find out what the procedure is.

Father and Son in Alleyway in Bobbio, Italy

This summer, just busy working and trying to stay busy working.  At the end of August we’re planning on spending a week in Austria.  A much needed and well-deserved vacation away.  I’ve only been to Austria once, for supper after watching a football (soccer) match in Liechtenstein.  So I am really looking forward to going and also because my husband will be able to relax which he needs at the moment.

The photos are of when we went to Oltrepò Pavese, will post more sometime this week.


Yes I admit I have neglected this blog. My original intention “years ago” when I started this blog was to blog about my life here in Italy as an Expat originally from the midwest of the United States. Well, after over seven and a half years of living in Italy, I’m still here and I feel that there is not much to blog about anymore. No I am not totally abandoning this blog, but posts will not be very frequent. I’ve already done the posts about my ordeals of obtaining my permit to stay and eventual Italian citizenship. Bureaucratic nightmares that I do not wish to relive. One thing that I haven’t mentioned and I am thankful that I obtained Italian citizenship when I did is that shortly after I officially become an Italian citizen the Italian post office has taken over trying to help the Questure (police) in handling the paperwork for the permit to stays. This has turned into a bureaucratic mess and have heard there is a backlog of literally thousands of applications and people receiving expired permit to stays.

Last Sunday we did have a little “outing”, the first time in a long while. We visited a small village called Morimondo which is about 20 kilometers (roughly 12 miles) southwest of Milan. There is a nice abbey that dates back to 1182.

San Mamete, Italy

Just got back last night from spending the weekend in San Mamete, Italy.  San Mamete is along Lake Lugano, bordering Italy and Switzerland.  The weekend before we spent the weekend in the Black Forest and also in San Gallen Switzerland, had lunch in Austria.  Sorry but no photos from that weekend :(.

Now if I could find a job, specifically in North America, preferably in Canada, combining my customer service skills (12 years worth) and love/passion for travel I would be in seventh heaven.  I have experience traveling in Europe, I am able to speak Italian (even impersonate the accent from the Ticino area in Switzerland but the dialect is a different story).   True I have no experience in the travel/hospitality industry but I am a fast learner and I am a firm believer in continuing education.  Learning does not stop once one has graduated from school.  Life is school and every day is a learning experience.  I thrive on change, welcoming change with open arms.  I am a people person and get along well with others yet at the same time I can work independently well with little or no supervision.  I have 12 years of customer service experience and I am a firm believer/doer of excellent customer service.

I have been teaching English privately for over six years now.  I have built up on my own my student base, starting out with a couple of students to now averaging 20 hours a week.  I have had to be a creative thinker, in the sense of how to attract new students and also a creative thinker in the sense of planning lessons for my individual students for whom I tailor their lessons.  Each student has different needs and different ways of learning and I cater to their needs.

For my current resume/curriculum Vitae, please contact me using the contact form in this post.  Thanks!

Earthquake in Italy

Just to let everyone know my computer technician and I are okay. If you haven’t heard the news, a earthquake hit near the city of L’Aquila this morning. At this point in time there are at least 150 dead and another 1,500 injured, 100,000 homeless. The earthquake measured in at 6.3.

According to an article on CNN, there was also another earthquake near Bologna last night. Again, we felt nothing here in our area, thankfully.

Great News for Riace Italy

A couple of days ago I mentioned about wishing there were more stories out there that were positive. First thanks to everyone who commented with their own personal good news! Second, today I stumbled upon an article posted on an Italian news website in English.

Immigration has been a hot topic for awhile now here in Italy, like many places around the word, especially in today’s global economic crisis. There is a lot of hostility felt towards immigrants, for example those that are coming from Romania and other Eastern European countries. Some people feel that the wave of immigration, whether legal or illegal, has caused an increase in crime. Whether this is true I do not know. I honestly think that the media is concentrating too much on the crimes committed by foreigners therefore making it seem as if the crime rate in Italy has increased.

There is a positive side to this though, immigration. There is a small seaside town in Calabria, Riace, which is located in southern Italy, that seems to be going against the norm in regards to hostile feelings towards immigrants. Thanks to immigrants, Riace is still on the map.

The Calabrian regional government is funding a project to help immigrants by providing housing, training and jobs. Thanks to the project, several crafts workshops have opened in Riace, helping preserve ancient craft traditions. Workshops specializing in for example glass, pottery and fabric.

Riace’s population has steadly diminished over the years. People fleeing in search of work. So these new residents of Riace are helping save this little village of about 400 people from a possible extinction.

This project has been so sucessful that the regional government of Calabria is now working on a law that could help place new life into towns that are fading away throughout the south.

Go Riace and Calabria! May you set an outstanding example for Italy, the world and humanity!

Economic Crisis in Italy?

This morning I had run a couple of errands, the grocery store and pharmacy. Ok not a big deal, but what was kind of eerie was the fact that traffic was next to nothing, even considering the time of day and day of the week. The supermarket had some people, but again considering the time of day, is usually busier. My first thought is maybe that the economic crisis is starting to hit home a bit here in Italy. Busto Arsizio Italy seems almost like a ghost town at the moment.

Last week was the same situation at the supermarket and also with the traffic, so today is not a one-time occurrence. Personally speaking as of today we’re doing not so bad. The computer technician’s business has slowed a bit, but nothing to worried about, yet. I’ve actually picked up 3 new students in the last couple of weeks and have been averaging 20 hours a week. People in general here, at least what I’ve heard from my students, are a bit nervous about keeping their jobs. So many of them are making sure to continue their English lessons in hopes that “keeping up” their language skills will be a plus for them in regards to keeping their jobs.

The world wide economic crisis is only bound to get worse before it gets any better. In two months, January & February 2009, 370,561 Italian workers have lost their jobs according to a headline on Italy’s newspaper Corriere della Sera.

Realistically speaking, tough times are ahead for Italy, for everyone worldwide for that matter, financially speaking. Over the last years credit has become easier to come by in Italy, taking after the United States. People in Italy aren’t as maxed out so to speak (no pun intended) on credit card debt compared to the United States, but many people do have mortgages, car payments, payments on furniture (it is expensive in Italy to furnish an apartment) and find it difficult to make it to the end of the month. This is before the global economic crisis hit.