Archive for the ‘the coal region’ Category

In the Life of an Expat…

In the life of an expat, there are inevitably moments when you’ll miss the place you came from.

Certain holidays and big events top the list, but there are also plenty of small, daily life type things that that make you remember your old life, the people who used to be in it every day, or just “home” itself.

From my experience, those memories are often sparked by smell, which is reportedly your strongest, most reliable sense when it comes to memory. Smell something from when you were five years old and bam! You’re there.

The other day I got a package from my mom full of clothes that hadn’t fit back in my suitcase when I visited a few months ago…and they smelled of her laundry detergent, of course.

*Nostalgia alert!*

The ironic part, though, is that I distinctly remember having a similar experience in America a few weeks into my trip as I sniffed my clothes from here, with *my* laundry detergent smell — enter the pang of missing my life in Italy.

Ah, all in the life of an expat.

A constant push and pull and battle of emotions, contentedness peppered with longing, and happiness churned with sadness, the realization that no matter how consistent and pleasant and wonderful you make your new life (even, for example, if I used the same laundry detergent no matter where I go), there will always be something to remind of you of the other place, the other people, the other life.

It’s quite fitting that while this is one of the hardest parts about being an expat, it’s also one of its greatest blessings.

I know I am ridiculously lucky to have (at least) two places to be nostalgic about.

Buon weekend at tutti!

My Top 10 Realizations After Being “Home” for the First Time in Nearly Six Years

In my post An American Expat in Italy Goes “Home,” I mentioned that I’d be posting a list of observations, so without further ado, here it is with some photos of “home,” the Anthracite Coal Region in Pennsylvania, thrown in for good measure:

My Top 10 Realizations After Being “Home” for the First Time in Nearly Six Years

10. I don’t like what clothes dryers do to my clothes. They’re *great* for towels and such, but actual clothes? No thanks.

9. It’s really hard to find healthy meal choices in U.S. restaurants that aren’t salads (which, if you don’t watch, can be more fat- and calorie-laden than, say, the steak).

8. Starbucks coffee is OK. I don’t love it, and I don’t hate it, but I definitely don’t think it’s worth the price.

7. Kids grow. FAST. And tall.

6. Having friends that you can see after five or ten years and pick up a conversation like you’ve never left off? Yeah, that’s awesome.

5. Christmas really isn’t the same without my grandparents.

4. I’d get way less work done in the mornings if I could just flip on talk shows. Man they’re addictive. Especially Ellen.

3. People eat out and/or order in a lot more than what I’m used to, which is next to never…and also most food in restaurants tasted *uber* salty to me.

2. On a related note, I really need to learn to make Chinese food.

And the number one realization after being “home” for the first time in nearly six years:

1. I wish my two homes were physically *much* closer together.

Expats, what do you notice after being away from “home” for a while?

Santa Greeting from Snowy PA

I can’t even put into words how happy I am that we’ve had SNOW since I’ve been in the States. Yay! I love the snow!!!

Today we’re getting another storm, although we’re not expected to get too much snow (three to six inches is child’s play around here). Needless to say, I’m staying put all day long. As I took a break from making cookies with Mom to enjoy a bit of “The Holiday” (cute!) on TBS, I heard some fire engine sirens in the distance.

I peeked out the door to make sure the lights weren’t headed our way for a fire…and what to my wondering eyes should appear? Well, no reindeer, but…

Santa in the snow on Flickr

I hope you’re enjoying your Saturday as much as I am!

Michelle FabioMichelle Fabio is an American attorney-turned-freelance writer living in her family's ancestral village in Calabria, Italy and savoring simplicity one sip at a time. 

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Pasta with snails alla calabrese
Onion, Oregano, and Thyme Focaccia
Oatmeal Banana Craisin Muffins
Prosciutto wrapped watermelon with bel paese cheese
Fried eggs with red onion and cheese
Calabrian sausage and fava beans
Ricotta Pound Cake