What am I going to eat? Where do I need to be? What is happening tomorrow, next week, next year? I’m quickly approaching the one month mark living in Italy and I’ve had quite the revelation: family first.
Work hard play hard. I dont agree. The concept will eventually break you down. Moderation is key.
Back at home in America, we are constantly in a hurry to get to the next task. We work all day, eat at our desks, rarely have a break, and forget to stop. There is this constant FOMO (mom this means fear of missing out…) as we are glued to our cellular devices during an entire meal. Fueled by Instagram, Facebook, Tumblr, Pinterest…we forget the ones who are sitting across from us. The ones we love. We forget to look them in the eyes.
No FOMO. Capturing your first day in the dirt should be celebrated. But, excessive self promotion or the perception you are happy is exhausting.
Italy is different or maybe I just won the lottery. The family I am living with is so full of life. Breakfast, lunch and dinner is shared with one another. It isn’t a choice, it is a lifestyle. During these 3-5 hours we laugh, talk, and I attempt (still working on my Italian) to understand what they are so passionate about.
No selfies or Sunday Funday ads. Good company and good wine.
It makes me miss my family and Sunday dinners. It makes me want to be better. Better at life and better for my family. To be present and kind to all people. To let negative energy bounce off of me and to breathe life into others. I’m making a promise to myself to live in truth and to love with all my being. Happiness starts within.
Before traveling to Italy, I found it very difficult to determine what I needed to pack. I scowered the internet and read countless blogs. To be honest, they were all too long and didn’t account for an active lifestyle. My wardrobe in Italy is a far cry from my wild fox shorts and rainbow sandals days in Venice, CA.
This scarf works with everything
So, here is what I THINK you need to bring to Italy in the winter if you are more of an adventurous gal. Realistically, you only need to pack for a week/week and a half if you have laundry services. CAUTION: PACK SOCKS, or stockings or long underwear…your leggies will get cold. No sandals needed.
- Booties with a heel (I am short and need height…also good for jumping puddles)
- Black riding boots (I cut off the harness on my Frye boots) / snow boots if you’re way north)
- Slippers/Uggs aka warm house shoes (All Italians have house shoes for good reason. It’s cold, you can’t walk barefoot here)
- Running shoes (black if you have them so you can wear out too)
- Flats (black / nude to wear with socks)
- Heels (One pair of black heels)
- Black Pants
- Printed trousers
- Long Black Skirt
- Denim of choice
- Overalls (see below from AK in Venice, CA)
Layers and layers. I’ve got cotton thigh highs on for warmth.
- White collared shirt
- Long sleeve cotton henley
- Sweaters (Tan, Black, Grey)
- Long sleeve cotton shirt in Olive
- Grey / black peacoat
- Patagonia Black Nano Jacket (water proof)
- Cashmere wrap / poncho
- Running Jacket (Lululemon)
I borrowed this coat from a friend and wear it everyday
- 3 pairs of leggings
- 1 pair of shorts
- long socks
- 2 pairs of running socks
- running hat
Everything is very basic because life is very basic. I am living in a small town but still think this list would work for Milan. I haven’t left the house in workout gear once to go to the store. I get dressed every morning with purpose. However, I did go to Francesco’s dance class in my pajamas.
Hope this helps you pack for your trip!
Bread. Pasta. Pizza. Rice. Potatoes. BASTA!
The food in Italy lives up to the hype. In fear of gaining what I am coining “Fame Fifteen” I entered myself into the Stramilano half marathon. Here are my goals:
- Run at least 4 times a week
- Eat whatever I want
- Finish a race in another country
- Love my body
I was going to share the link to my favorite training plan I have been using for years but it’s gone. You must purchase it through iTunes for $9.99. I’m mad yet happy for Hal. So instead, I will just make up my own plan. See below:
- Monday: 5 miles with intervals (4 x 30 sec. ON/OFF) Repeat 4 times.
- Tuesday: 7 miles with hills (easy to find in Novara)
- Wednesday: 4 miles (5K pace) or bike/spin/swim
- Thursday: 6 Miles EASY
- Friday: Rest (Pizza and Birra)
- Saturday: 8 miles long & slow
- Sunday: OFF
Now how about some real homemade pizza!!!!!
I plan to post my training plans every week. 5 weeks to go!
Isola San Giulio from Sacro Monte di Orta
I am starting to feel the “culture shock”. This morning, I sat in the teacher’s lounge and felt as if I was in slow motion. I could hear the Italian chatter and could see the prof’s buzzing around me yet I was still. Italians do not have inside voices. In fact, they all seem to yell rather than speak. They aren’t angry, passionate. My heartbeat increased. I thought to myself, where am I? What am I doing? Are you crazy? I was trapped.
I had just finished two lessons, both powerpoint presentations. In the second class, I spoke about California. I realized half of them did not understand one word flying out of my mouth. They were frustrated because they couldn’t understand. I was frustrated because I couldn’t hold their attention. My school day ended at 10:30AM (I started at 7:50 AM…much different than my 10 hour days at GCLA). What the heck was I going to do for the rest of the day? I have no car or means of transportation other than my legs. Trapped again. I couldn’t catch my breath. I started to feel hot (rare, when the daily average is 0 degrees C). Time to go. Thank goodness for my host family.
Ten minutes later I was zooming through the Italian mountains with Angelo (who speaks very little English). He kept saying “by the water”. I didn’t understand. The water was down, not up! More frustration. Ahhhh I wanted to get out of the car and scream. Two minutes later he stopped the car. Andiamo! He shut his door and walked towards the trunk of the car. I happily exited the vehicle and found him unloading large glass jugs. “Water!”. I stopped and realized the sound of running water. In that moment my “culture shock”, self pity and anxiety vanished. We were about to fill glass bottles up with water from a natural spring! I wanted to cry. I don’t know why, but I did. A tear ran down my face as I trudged down the stairs with two bottles in hand. It was beautiful. The sound of the mountain spring, the crisp air and the experience. I felt very lucky and thankful for this moment in time. A number of moments prior to this had to happen to get me here. Some easy and some very difficult. But, now I was in Gozzano filling up bottles with fresh spring water.
I started to analyze the waste in my life both physical and mental. How many containers of food or bottles of water had I consumed during my lifetime? How many hours were spent on social media outlets watching other people lives? It’s too much. Food, water, goods, electronics, clothes, iPhones, apps, messaging. These evils are the norm and praised in the States. You can have whatever you want at any moment. Here, I believe it’s easier to only take what you need. Material goods and personal relationships are cherished. I enjoy this way of life.
I am 31 years old and currently living in Italy. I am an English teacher’s assistant. I like to run, ride motorcycles, drink wine, and dance. This blog is dedicated to my own personal growth in life, fitness, relationships, and my career. Good food, a healthy heart and beautiful company is all a girl can ask for…enjoy the ride.