The last question in our Frequently Asked Questions series is “so…what do you do all day?”
I think that when people hear that we live in Italy for most of the year, their thoughts go one of two ways. One, they get visions of piles of fresh pasta waiting to plunge into a pot of boiling water, an olive tree in the back yard that we pluck olives from to make olive oil whenever we need it, and little Northern Italian grandmothers who teach us how to make creamy risottos. Most people tend to think of the Italy they see in the movies, and therefore conjure up images of us sitting around all morning drinking cappuccinos in tiny cafes, chatting (and wildly gesticulating) away with our Italian friends or else they picture us snuggled up under a cashmere blanket in a wine bar all evening, sharing glasses of Prosecco and kissing.
Or, they think that no one does anything in Italy (so not true unless you go south of Rome), so what could we possibly be doing all day?!
Well I hate to be the bearer of bad news but even though we live in Italy, I still have to do normal things like grocery shopping! Sorting the recycling! Taxes! The only time I drink a cappuccino in the morning is if I have to go downtown for an Italian lesson and then I’m honestly not really focused on enjoying the cappuccino because I’m desperately trying to remember the passato prossimo form of the verb “andare.”
We also don’t sit around drinking wine and eating delicious fruit tarts all afternoon, unfortunately. Usually I write in the afternoons (my first two columns in the local Steamboat newspaper are here and here, and if you are in the UK, I write a monthly column for Italia Magazine, which can also be bought at Barnes and Noble in the US, if you feel like spending 11 dollars on a magazine).
We don’t eat homemade pasta every night for dinner because it takes me about two hours to make one batch and I HAVE been known to spill things on almost every batch I’ve ever made, causing me to have to start.all.over.
After living in Italy for the better part of four years, this is our real life, not a vacation or a wonderful fairy tale where no one has to do laundry. Which, for the most part, is really nice. Especially when we can partake in all those really Italian things that people think we do, like sitting in the sun for a whole Sunday afternoon, or wine tasting in Bolzano or skiing on a Wednesday morning in January.