December 31, 2013

Year in Review : 2013!

Another WOW year! Again, I have no idea where time goes. Moments go by so quickly now that sometimes it's hard to stay in the present. As I reflect on the glorious.difficult.miraculous.life changing year of 2013 I hope that I can continue to try to slow down and be more mindful of living for every precious breath of my life, especially now with my daughter. 

This year began with many trips to the john. I kid you not when I say that I spent more time hunkered over the toilet while we were in Terracina, preparing our move to the United States, than I have in my entire life combined. Why? Baby girl was already 10 weeks in utero and working her magic while mamma was trying not to vomit from the fish smell radiating through my in laws house. Don't get me wrong, I love seafood - and I appreciate it now more than ever because they have the best seafood where my husband comes from in Italy. But nothing is worse than morning sickness, especially when it lasts 24/7. We had one last sonogram in Italy and were given the okay to fly home, yahoo!

February we left Italy with our bags, fiesty feline and la pancia, eagerly looking forward to our new life together in America. We had many sad goodbyes from our friends & loved ones throughout Italy, especially from the Nonne (grandmothers), so thank God for Skype. 

March we found out we were having a girl! Duh. My husband put it out into the universe the moment we found out we were pregnant, and he was right! Such joy filled our hearts when we found out the news, then seeing her precious face in ultrasounds were moments I hope I will never forget. We would love the baby no matter what gender, but for both of our masculine filled families, a little feminine energy is kind of awesome. 

April we traveled to New York City with my Father in law and brother in law from Italy. Good times! There is nothing quiet like watching three handsome Italian men taking in the American culture in a place like the Big Apple. Hello Hamburgers & Skycrapers! We also traveled to the Great Smoky Mountains in Tennessee where mio marito learned how to fish and caught a beautiful rainbow trout on his first try.

May my husband received his temporary green card and social security number. For some, this might not sound all that exciting. For others that know the massive amounts of stress, paperwork and logistics of this, its sort of big deal! We were on our way!

June, it's Baby Preparing time! that, and um. BED REST. Other than two gorgeous baby showers my friends put on for me, I was pretty much laid out watching marathons of House Hunters International and Love it or List it on HGTV. I swore to myself, this baby was going to come early. How could she not? I was already ginormous and could not imagine I could get any bigger..........Wrong!

July. Nothing happened in July. More sitting. More waiting. But the good news was that the baby was moving around like a little whipper snapper, so that made all the pain go away. 

August. It happened, finally at 42 weeks pregnant I was induced because Sofia was not budging at all. She is 1/2 Italian afterall. She arrived on the evening of Friday, August 16th after 11 hours of labor. If I had to do it over again, I would pray every single day not to be induced. I did not like it at all, but it had to be done. I went into to the hospital at 8am, was induced at 9am, epidural at 1pm, delivered at 7:30pm. That is relatively quick to bring a person into this world if you think about it. Doctors and nurses are miracle workers. I was beyond blessed to have a really good group (all women too, hoorah!) throughout my pregnancy and then the day of delivery - that, I would not change. 

Sofia was born. She was, and still is, perfect. Veramente, no ho parole (truly, i have no words) that could ever express what it felt like to see her for the first time.


September was probably one of the greatest months of my life. My cherub was at home with us, and although I was a nervous wreck (and still am), those first weeks of having this delicious creature in my arms every moment was something I will never forget. She smiled at one week, laughed at 4 weeks. Then, the hubs had to leave for Italy (eek!). Originally we were all going back to Italy in September for our close friends wedding, but since Sofia was so late in arriving, we were unable to go and Antonio went on his own. Super hard stuff right here! Babies need their daddies, but again - thank God for Skype. 

October. The Italians arrive in Atlanta. GAME ON. (See blog story below). 
Amore, pasta, vino. il fine.

November, my husband officially received his Green Card! MAJOR stuff right here. Our interview with Homeland Security was pretty simple and straightforward. Within two weeks of our interview, he got his Green Card in the mail. Did you know it's actually Green? Mamma & Papa' have all their documents now! Now, we are in the process of getting Sofia's dual citizenship sorted out. 

December we celebrated Christmas here in the United States with all of my family in Atlanta. 
Love, meat & two veggies, sweet tea, and a lil' bit of vino. The end.

All in all, it was one of the most life changing years for me. Second only to my decision 5 years ago to move to Italy & meeting my husband. Life is so wonderful, no matter how hard at times and I thank all my readers for continuing to read my journey.

 As 2014 approaches, I hope to be able to write more about our experiences of living as a multi cultural family.....The good, the bad, the happy, the sad. Til then. Buon Anno a tutti! Salute!

December 15, 2013

Missing Italy, or am I?

Wow, it's been a really long time since I last wrote. Our lives have changed in so many ways, its really hard for me to even streamline what to write about now. Unless you all want to hear about how rad my daughter is. She is already 4 months old, rolling over, laughing, loves Italian music, growing blonde hair and still looks exactly like her father. 

My in laws from Italy came over for a month to meet her and spend time with us. It was such a special time for everyone in so many ways.We ate big lunches almost everyday at home (usually pasta & salad), had dinners with both families which was so special & had not happened since our wedding. Managing the language was a little difficult but we did the best we could because at the end of the day - laughter, happiness, smiling and hugs are universal.

They continually teach me how to be more relaxed, enjoy the simple things in life and not to worry so much. With that being said, I won't lie that sometimes I wish things were more organized and done in a timely manner, my brain just works that way - especially with a newborn. It's not a bad thing that Italians are generally like this, it's just different than how Americans generally are. I am still searching for that healthy balance of our lifestyles of when it's appropriate to be relaxed, and when it's appropriate to get things done in time. 

The first day they met Sofia






Since returning to the US in February I have had many ups & downs emotionally on whether I really wanted to be living here. For any person who is thinking of moving abroad, or an expat who is thinking about coming home I must give you this advice. The grass is NOT always greener on the other side. I have a bad way of glamorizing each country that I am not physically in. I fell in love with Italy 15 years ago, so I moved there. I still love it, but obviously wanted something different so we moved to the United States (which comes with another huge bag of culture shock), and now we think we want to go back to Italy. I guess this will always be the way since we are from two different countries and see the good and bad in both?

We always strive for the perfect life, which it is not.  When in Italy we daydream of convenience, of order, of working hard and being rewarded for it, of having options of being whatever you want to be! What you don't think about is how incredibly impatient people are here, how eating good food takes effort, the sitting culture is normal, and so is sitting in traffic ALL.THE.TIME.

When in United States, we daydream of sitting on the coast of Italy, drinking wine and eating fresh seafood. Taking long walks along the Arno River in Florence. Long lunches every Sunday, and long dinners during the week. What you don't think about is inability of many Italians to create order, to pay you on time (if ever!), schedules to work (trains, buses) and how inconvenient it can be to complete the smallest of tasks like opening a bank account or getting a replacement ATM card. 

Which is better? Can we have both somehow? I feel like we are getting eaten up in a really fast lifestyle in the United States, rushing through the days, not savoring every moment. Where I imagine a lot of headaches (literally) and frustration of being able to save financially for my daughter's future in Italy. For any of you that have been through this, I would love your feedback. We struggle with this, both my husband and I - but in different ways.

For some reason I feel like I need to put a disclaimer on this post. I love Italy and I do love Italians, I also love America and I love Americans. This post is not intended to offend anyone or anyone's culture, it's only my perspective of learning how to balance both.
 
Both families in Atlanta, Georgia USA



October 22, 2013

Thank you for reading!

At the moment there is some issue with Google + and my posts, so I am working to get it resolved and all the photos back online - so in the meantime, I wanted to say thank you to everyone for continuing to read and follow my journey.

Don't forget you can also find me on Facebook on the links to the right. 
I post more frequently there at the moment! Grazie a tutti, Ciao!!!!


October 14, 2013

Amore di Mia Vita

What an amazing couple of months it's been since I last wrote. We have been enjoying our new bundle of joy every second since her arrival into this world! People always say that life truly begins once you have a child, and now I really understand that. I look at my little girl and see myself, my husband, and many others in our family all bundled into this beautiful, innocent creature.    

She gives me hope for the future and makes me want to be a better person, friend, wife and mother. I look at her and I see so many wonderful things for the years ahead whether it be in the United States or in Italy. The outpouring of support from our families (especially the Nonne!) has changed our lives so quickly. I cry sometimes because she is so perfect. 

Here are a few of the photos of our little family in our first American home.  I hope you enjoy! 



August 21, 2013

Miss Sofia is here!

We are thrilled to announce the birth of our precious angel Sofia Christine Iacoucci, brought into the world on August 16, 2013 at 7:34pm, 7.4oz.   

We would like to thank all of you for the outpouring of love in your messages so far. There are no words to express how grateful we are to have her in our lives, and for all of you. 

A full post on my pregnancy & delivery story will be up soon, but for now we are enjoying our days being new parents to the most beautiful, miraculous, delicious baby in the whole world.


July 28, 2013

Best blogs of Florence

Since moving back to the US earlier this year, I have lived vicariously through some fantastic expat blogs about life in Florence. All of them written by women with different stories, different visions, but with the common theme of how beautiful life can be in Italy.

I hope you enjoy reading their blogs as much as I do, get your book marker handy!


Sara is a friend who I got to be very fond of during our collaboration at the Womens Art Event in May 2012, she is truly one of the gems of Florence. She is an American artist, jewelry maker, fashion designer, shop owner, blogger and writer.
To add some whimsy into your life, make sure to follow her!




This is possibly one of my favorite photography websites I follow. Birgitte is a Danish expat, photographer and Mum who has a calm, soft vision of Florence. Her photos capture the true essence of Florence as beautiful & sometimes gritty as it is. 



A life/style blog about life in Florence Italy. They are a young, adorable family living la dolce vita in Florence, Italy. They blog about Italian dual citizenship, life in Italy, cooking, travel and lots more!!!




A personal blog about a girl living & working in Florence with a passion for food, travel and discovering il bel paese one glass of vino at a time. She does a really good series on "Locals she loves" and the monthly "Events"




Elizabeth Petrosian aka Campobello keeps it real. If you really want to know about life in Italy : read her hysterically witty & truthful blog. My favorites to date are anything about la nonna & Italian men in general. Prepare yourself for some entertaining reads, and if you are planning on moving to Italy - get your notebook & pencil ready to take notes. 

*Update: Elizabeth has recently moved back to the United States where she is continuing to blog. Please visit her at Bumblepuppy for some added reading! 
*I am really looking forward to this one since we just did the same thing moving to Atlanta!


June 28, 2013

Primo Anno Anniversario

It is hard to believe it has already been one year since we were "officially" married in Florence at Palazzo Vecchio!The biggest lesson learned while living in Italy was learning how to let go and let God & the universe guide you where you need to be. I would of never imagined 4 years ago when I packed my bags for Florence, that all of this would be happening to me. There were ups & downs, but meeting Antonio changed my life forever. 

Auguri to my love, my confidant, my little rascal, our new life in the United States, and most importantly to the arrival of our baby girl. 

Auguri amore mio, ti amo tantissimo!!!!!!!


June 8, 2013

Pregnancy Update

Ciao amici! I have made it to month 8 in my pregnancy! Yahooo! It's been a difficult one, but thankfully we are in the United States with the support of my mother & doctors. I have the upmost respect for any woman who goes through this in a foreign country, I think it would of been very difficult for me.

We are in the homestretch of welcoming our baby girl into this world the first part of August, then will see where God takes us!

April 26, 2013

Livin' in America

We are already approaching our 3 month mark of being back in the United States! I cannot believe how fast time is going - which is a really good thing for me since I am over 6 months pregnant! We are still adjusting to the American life, but everything is going better than expected. Major culture shock hasn't set in yet.

We spent this month traveling again, this time up to New York City to visit with my father in law & brother in law from Italy. I know my husband really enjoyed being able to have fun with them, speak Italian and see each other face to face. There is only so much Skyping one can do - so time spent with family when living abroad is priceless. 

We just bought a car, a big one. All my friends are making fun of me since we got an SUV, because 5 years ago I would of sworn to you I would never own one of these. It is still an adjustment driving everywhere, on 8 lane interstates, where everyone is driving way too fast. I miss my bike Pepe', I miss long walks along the Arno River, I miss hopping on a train to be at the Cinque Terre in 2 hours.

They have now been replaced with nice, long walks at Piedmont Park and 2 hour plane rides to another city. This is just as lovely......but it's different. America is so big. We have to make the best of our location now and what makes sense for our little family. We have to protect our baby soon, so buying a bigger car makes sense. We have to save money - so going to Costco (dread!!) for diapers and toilet paper makes sense. 

We are thankful for our family & friends across the globe, our jobs and good health.  In the meantime, I will continue to day dream of our life in Italy and be happy we can experience both cultures no matter where our physical location is. 

April 9, 2013

Week in the Mountains

One of the biggest concerns we had about moving back to the United States was the accessibility to traveling. Living in Italy, I was spoiled rotten with how convenient & affordable it is to be at a beautiful coastal town, or hillside town of Tuscany, or in downtown Rome & Milano within hours. 

We are a couple that likes to stay busy, we like to experience new places, we like to eat & drink. Naturally, because of the size of the United States, it's not as easy to do these things on the flip of a dime. You have to plan, mark the calendar and prepare for it. I do recognize this could be vastly different for others, depending on where you are living. I imagine that in California, it might be a bit easier to hit the beach, mountains and countryside much faster than it is from Atlanta, Georgia. 

With that being said, we here in the south are blessed to have the Smoky mountains at our fingertips. We can hop in the car and be at my families, mountain cabin of serenity in about 4 hours driving. (about the same time it takes from Milano - Roma by train). I have never been a "nature" person, I like cafe's, museums, shopping, lots of activity, people watching way too much! BUT, I do love taking a break from chaos every once & awhile. In Italy, we went to the beach or to Tuscany. Here, we head to the Smoky mountains and soon to the beaches of Florida. Taking in some fresh air & sounds of the river helps to put me back into the mindset of taking it easy and not trying to do so much. 

I am thankful we are able to go here whenever we want, eat good food, see family and get some R&R. Hopefully my husband will continue his good luck streak and catch a fish every time we visit. 




March 1, 2013

Transitions

We have been back in the United States for exactly one month now and it hadn't really hit us what we were actually doing until this week. Our lives have been so busy with the move, seeing family & friends in both countries, traveling and being pregnant that it didn't set in until now once things calmed down. Obviously my husband and I are having different feelings about being in the United States because he is Italian and never lived abroad - so it's all so exciting, new and really motivating. For me being an American, returning back to my "old normal" is a different kind of feeling. I didn't realize how much I adapted to so many Italian characteristics until I came back the US. With that being said, I am VERY happy to be back here where things do seem a bit easier to manage for us and what we need for the time being. I firmly believe in the timing of things, and think that us being here is the best decision we have made.

The things we are already missing about living in Florence are:
-Walking everywhere you need to go
-Fresh foods! 
-the Aperitivo lifestyle
-long dinners without "Smart phones" & TV's
-commitment of friends

I feel like so many people in the United States claim to be "so busy" to get together, make plans, stick with them and happily follow through with showing up. People seem to be on their own agenda, packing so much into one day with no time to breathe. In Florence, we would get together with friends ALL the time - some casual nights, some festive nights, some afternoons for a walk, sometimes just for a coffee. Friends make time for you and you for them - and it was normal. Everyone is just as busy in Italy,  working their tails off too!, you just learn how to stop and cherish the good times. Here, it's not like that - at least not so far, and it really makes me sad and makes me miss my carefree lifestyle of Italy. 

The things we love about the United States:
-TARGET (sorry y'all but Target is the best thing since sliced bread)
-doctors appointments are comfortable, fast & informative (no more long lines at the ospedale!)
-24/7 drug stores
-MANI / PEDI in the awesome massage chairs for 30 usd (20 euro!)
 -The area we live in Atlanta is diverse: you have black people, white people, gay people, asian people, mexican people - acceptance of diversity is SO refreshing. 
-our perfectly clean, fresh & new apartment where everything works perfectly.
-balcony and city views
-A DRYER - doing laundry in on hour is nothing short of amazing
-home furnishing stores galore (Crate & barrel, Z Gallerie, West Elm!!!) it's so much fun decorating again!

We feel like if we could combine both lifestyles we would have utopia. But I suppose that is what all of this journey is about - finding the balance & good things about both places and concentrating on that. We hope to bring as much of our Italian lifestyle to the United States with our friends & family. Walk more, eat fresh, always remember to slow down and cherish the good things with the people you love - the rest of the "stuff" works itself out. 

Here are some new photos of our family, new neighborhood & new apartment! 
Midtown photo credit : Karolina Morsillo

February 10, 2013

Farewell to Florence

I have been going back & forth for weeks trying to decide how I should write about leaving Florence.  One day I am overwhelmed with sadness that I left there, then the next day I am so motivated and excited to begin our next adventure of life in the United States. My husband and I both agree that this is the true definition of feeling something bittersweet.

When I look back through old blog posts, look at photos of my life in Florence I feel so happy yet so sad to be leaving somewhere so incredibly beautiful. I will never get tired of watching the sunset over the city, over the Arno River and watching the way the light hits the buildings throughout the city.  I told a friend once that the magic of Florence is all about the light in the sky. The way the sun hits the colors of the buildings, the way the cloudy overcast sky makes them dark but somehow equally as beautiful.

I will also never forget the people and friendships I made while living abroad. There is no doubt that the friends I made shaped my experience in ways I could never express on paper. Friendships that I know I will have the rest of my life. Friends that are so different from me but we became so close from the unifying bond of being expats. For this alone, I will infinitely grateful to all of them, their support, their laughter, and for one too many glasses of wine :)

I moved to Florence in 2009 because I was searching for something inside myself that made me happy. Getting out of my comfort zone and being put into situations where I did not know the language or understand the culture of the people certainly helped with looking deep inside myself. If I didn't face fear I would of never understand myself better now. Obviously I still have so much to learn and experience but this was a major start and shift for me. Now I am not scared of anything - I face it.... and either succeed or fail - and both are just as glorious. 

Having said all of this, I have to be honest with myself. Florence and I are not in rhythm. I love so many things about it, but I never felt completely happy there. I love Italy, I love by husband, I love traveling, I love Italian food, I love many many things about the culture & passion of Italians, but something was off between myself and Florence. I honestly could not tell you what it is- if it was me not being open minded enough, or if it was the Florentine mentality that didn't sync with me - maybe a combination of both. I might have a better grasp on this after moving away for awhile and being able to reflect on the experience of Florence more. Regardless, it is okay. 

The bigger picture is that I fell in love with my husband in Florence, I have the greatest friends in the world from living in Florence, and I have a fantastic job with a Florentine company. What more does anyone need ? If I had never moved abroad I might of never have learned how to be truly grateful for my family & loved ones back in the United States. 

Advice to anyone that is pondering the idea of moving abroad - DO IT. 
Your mind, body, soul will be grateful for it in ways you never imagined. 

..........Farewell my beloved Firenze........



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