Tag Archives: Short Stories

We Would Like to Read Your Expat Story

Logo FMs4Ms2016To the many Expat Moms that follow our Website/blog;

As some of you may know in the past, we have interviewed many moms about their experience as expats. Together with journalist Ela Vasilescu we would like to continue this project.

Living an expat life, being pregnant and giving birth are unique experiences we could all learn from and relate to. We would like to read more of your stories, your experiences, your fears, your expectations. Moving to a different country and starting a new life, although exciting, can be scary and the process of integration can be slow and excruciating at times. Other times the process is fast and problem free.  We want to hear your story.

We will do a separate section to focus on birth stories because each woman has a distinctive memory about the moment when they gave life to a new human being and reading those stories would help and inspire other “mothers to be”.   These stories will help pregnant moms compare and understand the different hospital environments in and around Firenze and fill with joy and melancholy the ones who already experienced the birth of their child here.

We would like to explore these distinctive threads (living as an expat, pregnancy and birth stories) that whilst seemingly different, they trigger situations and feelings unlike others and by sharing them we could help others understand they are not alone, offering the support they need to move forward.

The project will consist in scheduled interviews shared online on our blog. If you would like to take part in the project please please fill out the form below.     

Ela Vasilescu
Writer/Journalist
http://writerinflorence.com/

To sign up for an interview please fill out this form and we will contact you very soon:

Short Story: I stayed because I fell in love with: The Melanzane

I stayed because I fell in love with: The Melanzane

eggplant

I don’t have a single answer to the question ‘how did you end up in Italy?’  Depending on who asks, it could be ‘There wasn’t any place else I wanted to be at the time.’ ‘I found a job I liked.’ ‘It was May, would you leave Italy in May?’ ‘I fell in love.’ ‘The melanzane.’

Ahh yes, the melanzane, it’s true.  I stayed for the melanzane.  And the peperoni.  And the pomodori. And the bunches of basil, rosemary, and sage that they give you at the market.

I’ll never forget the explosion of flavor when I tasted my first, real fresh Italian tomato.  It was June of 1998, and I was shopping in an outdoor market in Rome.  While I had the paranoid suspicion that all the fruit sellers were cheating me somehow—a condition natural to anyone with fumbling Italian who has only ever otherwise shopped in traditional American supermarkets—the grin on the old vendors’ face as she thrust the tomato into my hand —assaggia, assaggia—was sincere.   And so was the tomato.  It was red, firm but not hard, and juicy. The taste of it filled my mouth, my nose, my head, my summer.

Other summer fruits evoke equal rhapsodizing.  In peak season, the only really suitable place to eat perfectly ripe peaches and plums is while standing in the sea.  Bite, slurp, drip, swim.  When I was 21 and back in Kansas after my first study abroad experience in Italy, those ripe peaches became my metaphor for life itself…ready, juicy, full of sweetness, all within reach, waiting to be devoured.

September. Grapes.  Every September when the grapes start coming in I send a William Carlos Williamesque text message to a German friend who I met here in Florence during my first years here, hoping it will drive her to come visit: ‘they are delicious so sweet…’   I remember skeptically buying them for the first time…they didn’t seem as large as they should be, and they weren’t very uniform, and the color…well, sort of yellowy green, with a little bit of brown…(there’s that cheating suspicion again) but they tasted like…wait, try one: flowers. The most subtle perfume of…flowers. The same with apples. There are apples in Europe that taste like flowers. An eye-opener for someone who grew up with red delicious or golden delicious, both equally non-delicious.

Back to the US, let’s go shopping.  It’s August.  Green beans.  There’s a discount…if you buy 10 pounds.  10 pounds of green beans.  Two brown paper bags full of beans.  That’s a lot of work. That’s a lot of beans. But then, if you think about it, they’ll be good in the fridge for the duration of our visit.  When you first come to Italy, you get mad because the produce rots in your fridge before you have time to cook it (you see, they did cheat me).  A good American head of broccoli lasts at least 3 weeks before yellowing; an Italian broccoli goes limp after three days, yellow after four and rotten after not much more than that. There is compensation, though.  Italian broccoli tastes good.  And so does the zucchini.  And so does all the rest.

So why did I stay in Italy?  Well, I fell in love. But don’t tell my husband that…he thinks it was for the melanzane.  -Jackie Gordon (FMs4Ms Member)

eggplant2

I am looking for stories to share with the moms.  Short stories about an incident you found interesting, funny, sad etc.  Something that is about the cultural differences you experience here while going about your daily lives. Submit them at infotiscali@firenzemoms4moms.net
The opinions expressed in this article are of the author and the author alone. They do not reflect the opinions of FMs4Ms Network as a whole.

Short Story: Does the way you park reflect your culture??

Does the way you park reflect your culture??

parking

Maybe I was spoiled growing up in “Happy Valley”  but everyone there seems to park in the appropriate places and uncivil parking was never an issue that I thought much about. Of course, State College, Pennsylvania is a suburb and therefore, there is not a shortage of parking places but I don’t think that this is the only reason why residents respect each other.  I’ve noticed that Florentines have to park as close to their destination as possible even when there are large parking lots/garages nearby.  The amount of people who have to park on the pedestrian walks makes me think that people are very selfish. It’s hard enough pushing a stroller through the city and then have people block your passage while you are crossing the street but do they ever think about those in wheel chairs? I would hate to be handicapped in this city. I go to a large gym (Virgin) where there is plenty of parking for everyone. There are always cars parked along the driveway because the drivers are too lazy to park in the back parking lot where they would have to walk an extra 3 minutes to the gym entrance. I could understand if this was a hospital and people had mobility issues but ironically this in a place where people are going to get exercise. One day, I was leaving my parking garage to find a van blocking my exit. There is clearly a “Passo Carrabile” sign and a large electronic door but this did not stop a driver from parking illegally there. This person did not even leave on his 4-ways to signal that he was nearby.  I sat there with two kids in the car honking for 15 minutes until this person finally came back. (Thank god it wasn’t an emergency!) There was a crowd of people who verbally confronted him and he did not even have the courtesy to apologize to me. (Please note that we live 2 blocks from a large public parking garage that ends up being empty most days).  From these experiences, I tend to think that the way we park shows the type of person we are and reflects our culture. Do you think of others before yourself? Are you so self-centered that you can’t leave 5 minutes earlier in order to find real parking? Yes, Italians are very family-centered but they often tend to loose sight of the community as a whole.

Had to add this video:
I am looking for stories to share with the moms.  Short stories about an incident you found interesting, funny, sad etc.  Something that is about the cultural differences you experience here while going about your daily lives. Submit them at infotiscali@firenzemoms4moms.net

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The opinions expressed in this article are of the author and the author alone. They do not reflect the opinions of FMs4Ms Network as a whole.