First Time On Surviving In Italy?

Your First Time Here? STOP. This is mostly a humor blog. If you’re offended easily or struggle with sarcasm or irony you should skip my website and watch this instead. Also, I swear ALL THE FUCKING time and ramble on about the capybara. You still there? Winning! I’ve Put Together Some Of My Most Popular Posts For You To Start With:

LIFE IN ITALY

21 Ways To Survive Being An Expat 

Why Everyone Should Live In Italy At Least Once In Their Lives

Christmas In Italy 2013: The Time The Blowdryer Ate My Mother-In-Law’s Head

13 Things That I’ve Learned From Marrying An Italian Man

17 Signs That Italy Might Make You Crazy Or Homicidal

Italian The Hard Way

10 Reasons That I’m Surprised That Someone Married M.E.

In My Husband’s Family, Leaving The Table Is Like Announcing You’ve Eaten A Child 

TRAVEL ITALY

Dining In Italy: How To Avoid Making An Ass Of Yourself

Rome With Rick Zullo

Travel Bologna With Sarah Dowling

5 Steps To A Non-Conventional Night In Florence

A Weekend In Chianti

Vacation Apartments In Florence: How To Overcome Writer’s Block (Or Just Hang Out).

MOVING TO ITALY

Moving To Italy: Studying And Living 

Frequently Asked Questions: Jobs, Immigration, Circumcision, Love

31 Reasons You Would Be Better Off In Italy

How To Move To Italy

 

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Why Italy Isn’t Special

Let me help you freak out really quick because I know that’s what a lot of you are going to do right now. You’re thinking, “What the fuck did you just say? Italy isn’t special?! How dare you! How dare you. If it’s not special than leave!” Yes, I’m an asshole, yes, I swear, and yes, sometimes I write critically about my second home: Italy. Now, that we’ve totally lost it, let’s get to the post.

I started blogging in 2007 with my other blog Dirty, Filthy, Things. It was a blog where I wrote (and still occasionally write) about my life, my childhood, and social problems. I studied sociology in college, have been in and out of activism for most of my life, and I care deeply for anyone or anything that can’t stand up for itself. Sometimes way too much. Writing is cathartic for me, it’s something my college psychologist recommended in order to better deal with my anxiety, depression, and otherwise “crazy,” cyclical thoughts that go round, and round, and never stop. Haven’t tried it? Try it. Scribble out that crazy and you’ll feel a million times better. Writing gets things out of my head, away from my body, so I can calmly live without it eating my brain. I also know from experience on both ends that writing can help other people make sense of their world, it can change people, it can change the world. The internet is both amazing and terrifying for this reason: Ideas spread quickly. It’s good because it gives the world the ability to connect, to understand one another, to work out problems, to work on ourselves, to make the world better, but it also gives a platform to assholes (like ISIS or the KKK) who spread ideas that are not progressive, are rather rooted in hate.

When I blog in DFT, I sometimes write critically about the US, about gender inequality, racism, the porn industry, about my dog, and the problem with assholes owning dogs, I talk about the right to choose, and social injustices that people of color face on a regular basis. I also talk about my mom, how she has worked as a stripper, a construction worker, and a nurse in her life. Or my father, the immigrant business man, who banned tank tops from our house and forbade me to talk with male store workers because “we all know what men tink, Misty.” I talk about the dichotomy of my upbringing: Rich and poor, white and brown, protestant and muslim, conservative and hippy-liberal. I write about these things to have a better understanding of them, of myself, and to give other people with similar lives something to relate to, or people with difference lives something to laugh at or appreciate or inspire or to make them cry or call their parents and say, “thank you for being normal.” You’re welcome. Also, to lend a voice to issues that need to be addressed out loud as a form of support, and in hopes of changing things for the better. I won’t lie, it’s also nice just to vent once in a while, and even that can be useful at both understanding myself, and the world in which I grew up: Somewhere between the US and Iran. And later Italy.

I moved to Italy in 2009 for art school. I stayed to start a design company with my friend Jessica. We both fell in love there and then stayed even longer to be with our partners. After growing up with my dad, though we’re close and I love him, I never wanted to marry a foreigner. That shit is hard. It’s hard for the kids who get lodged between two worlds they never really belong in, and it’s hard for the parents who are always a little bit stuck in misunderstandings. It’s also good. One (who is drunk) could say I’m “well rounded,” on top of being completely fragmented.

ME in Sperlonga with Francesco in 2013. I LOVED IT. So fun.

ME in Sperlonga (Not Sperm-Longa…apparently) with Francesco in 2013. Gorgeous and so fun.

 

I began blogging about Italy just to process the difficult things that were happening in my life. The frustration of cross-cultural dating, of in-law problems, and to document really embarrassing, funny, or wonderful days that I had so I wouldn’t forget about them. Life is short. I’m scared of forgetting even a moment, be it terrible or fantastic. The longer I lived in Italy the more I became interested in social issues, politics, and economics. The same things that were relevant to me in the US became relevant in Italy because it was my new home and I planned on living in Italy possibly forever. If it’s my home, and I want it to be a great place for my children to grow up, I’m going to address social problems. I’m going to complain about flaws in the system, in the culture, things that we as a society could do better. It needs to be talked about or it can’t change and the entire point of being alive is to leave the goddamn world in better shape than how we found it.

Talking about problems can make them go away. And that’s why I have and always will on occasion turn a critical eye on any place I call home, or any part of my identity. It’s an obligation I think we all have in existing in the world. Italy is beautiful, amazing, I love it so much, but it isn’t perfect and she isn’t special. I’d no sooner call Italy perfect than I’d wave an American flag and scream AMERICAN NUMBER FUCKING ONE! It’s the same thing, only a different zip code. Both seem ludicrous to me. Every country has it’s beauty, and every country has it’s dark-side that could use a little bit of fixin’ so the world can be that much more badass. And so I can analyze myself later on to see where I need to improve, grow, or grow-up (and I always need to grow up).

I realize that “better,” can also be subjective. I won’t deny that I can approach things from a completely ethnocentric, egotistical, asshole perspective of a know-it-all American (which is exactly 1/2 of my identity). The irony doesn’t escape me that I’m from a country that was colonized by a country that gave the world the “We are all that is right in the world,” imperialism for the “good of the people who don’t know any better.” But then again, so did Rome, the Persians, the Greeks, the Turkish, the Arabs….everyone. Basically everyone is just a “know it all,” asshole at the end of the day.

It’s really the way we all approach the world, with a myopic view, narrow-minded, comparing things to the only things we know. This is also why nobody is really “right,” when discussing certain things in any country. Even locals, Americans in the US, or Italians in Italy, are not great at discussing their own culture or issues because they/we tend to base everything on our own damn friend group and family. And this is why I think dialogue is so important.

I try my best to acknowledge that I’m just as narrow-minded as everyone else, and attempt to avoid it by using statistics, news sources, and interviews as the backbone of any social commentary that is not an opinion/bloggy piece. Sometimes I’m successful, and often I’m not (depending on how distanced I am from the topic).

The important part is just getting it out there for others to see, react to, think about, relate to, or argue against it (ideally like an adult). Others would disagree. David Sedaris once said something along the lines of, Foreigners are the lowest form of life in any country. So my job as a foreigner is (as many see it) to shut up and just enjoy the goddamn Tuscan sun. I do that, too. I enjoy all of the things that Italy has to offer which is vast and plentiful, but I also feel an obligation to Italy, as I do to the US, to write openly and honestly and at least acknowledge the unsavory (like violence against women, like race issues, like homophobia, or the terrifying resurfacing of anti-semitism in Rome). And really, why must the world be so one-dimensional?

Like most foreign nationals, I choose to love Italy despite it’s flaws, not because I pretend they don’t exist.

 

The Taboo of Using The Word ‘Feminism’ In Italy By Michelle Tarnopolsky

Italians to me

Italians to me

A lot of Italians are visibly uncomfortable when I call myself a femminista or refer to femminismo. It has taken me a while to understand just how much of a taboo it is. Not long ago my sister-in-law – who heads a project to support women entrepreneurs and regularly engages with me about women’s equality – plainly informed me that people don’t use this word in Italy because it has ugly connotations.

suffragette-postcard 13.13.59

Come to think of it, at the women’s group I’ve belonged to for a few years, I honestly can’t remember ever hearing it spoken. Maybe it’s because the group focuses on women’s leadership. With the widespread reticence to adopt feminized titles in positions of power (like assessora, ministra, sindaca or magistrata) it is clearly still very much a man’s world. As is so much of Italy, of course.

Even activist Lorella Zanardo, who famously co-produced the viral 2009 documentary Il corpo delle donne (Women’s Bodies), distanced herself from the word when I interviewed her for my article, “What Happened to Italian Feminism?”

On the one hand, seeing all these strong, progressive Italian women fighting for equality and uniformly avoiding the word feminism makes me wonder whether I should reconsider using it myself; that if I want my ideas to have an impact, I should consider where I am, adopt the popular language in use and not presume to impose my beliefs in the name of social justice.

On the other hand, what the hell else do you use if you’re talking about feminism in Italian?!

Like, if you’re going to tell me that to gain credibility and access to power I need to leave it out of my vocabulary, you have to at least come up with a decent equivalent. And not ‘women’s issues’ or ‘women’s rights’. Don’t pinkify my cause to make it more palatable.

Calling yourself a feminist isn’t exactly popular in North America either. But it sure seems far more acceptable than in Italy. You would never see a major Italian singer emblazon ‘feminist’ behind her onstage like Beyonce. And broadcast a female empowering ad for a feminine hygiene product during the Italian equivalent of the Super Bowl? Are you kidding me?

I just can’t help but wish Italians would hurry up and get over their outdated, insulting ideas about this word.

google-femminismo

Four years have passed since Berlusconi left office and Se Non Ora Quando (SNOQ) was launched and I’m still not allowed to use the word feminist in Italian?

Fuck it. I don’t care what Italians think of me using it. Let them write me off as an ignorant foreigner. At least some Italian women out there feel like I do, even if they’re discounted as too old-school, out-of-touch, radical, communist or ‘moralist’ to be taken seriously; Italian women like Liliana Pontisso, who writes on the SNOQ Facebook page in response to a quote by Laurie Penny (crusading feminist extraordinaire who’s also, may I add, under thirty):

“The word ‘feminism’ became almost synonymous with lesbianism in the 70s, something ridiculous. But a lot of men preferred thinking of it this way. Otherwise they would’ve had to face all their failings and understand that women should not submit to them but rather be their allies. Then there were the mothers who felt like masters (madri padrone) of their children. Those women viewed female emancipation as a threat to their ‘superiority’. So many things were never explained to women, mothers and daughters alike. Feminism is simply the awareness of being useful in the world, no more and no less than men. When women realize this, they will live better lives.”

 

Author Bio:

Toronto-born Michelle Tarnopolsky has lived in Italy for 13 years. When she’s not juggling her various jobs or running after her kid, you can find her blogging about parenting in Italy from a gender perspective at www.mapleleafmamma.com.

Valentines Day: Seducing Your Partner The Italian Way

“If you fill a room with women, Italians, and men from the US, the American men would have no chance. That’s just a fact.” -My Super Humble Husband

BUY ME PIZZA

I wouldn’t say that all Italian men are romantic because that wouldn’t be true and “romantic,” implies a lasting quality (many spouses and long term partners will tell you that the romance is short-lived), but I feel confident in saying that Italian men are pretty damn good at seduction, maybe even the best, rivaled only by the French in both skill and dedication.

Whether or not you are into grand romantic gestures, there’s a chance that whatever they’re up to will still work, especially if you’ve had a glass of wine or two. Both cynics and romantics alike have fallen for the Italian man’s swagger, shameless ability to go way over the top, and magical gift for making their potential partners feel very, very special, even if they aren’t. I’ve spoken with both women and men who’ve said that they believed they would marry their one-night-stand, all the way up until they never heard from the guy again.

As I mentioned in the first paragraph, I’m not saying that all Italian men are romantic, perfect partners. That has to be determined on an individual basis. Where there are romantic, wonderful, brilliant Italian men, there are also many entitled, spoiled, man-children who can’t even operate a washing machine. So, not saying that Italians are totally perfect, but I am saying that seduction seems to run deep in the veins of their culture, it’s a game, and it comes very natural to a lot of them.

My husband is a prime example of this. He’s got his annoying qualities, like I do (only mine are insane and endearing where his are just asshole-ish), but what I can definitely give him credit for is that there is something totally charming about him. He’s quiet, thoughtful, and observant which made him very effective in the getting girls department (He was kind of a whore).

He’s such an effective charmer at that he managed to get me to marry him which was not that easy. I had high hopes of being a cat lady, only replace “cats,” with dogs and Capybara. Capybari. Multiples Capybaras. However you say it. He busted out all the stops, chasing me through a piazza with a guitar, sending books to my art studio with inscriptions, making my friends dinner, bringing my friends ice cream, showing up with wine….ah…what a babe (dear Francesco, WTF happened? Asshat….I love you).

For all the guys or ladies out there who are trying to do something super romantic for their special someone today, I give you these 5 ideas for maximum romanticism. My husband inspired this list, these are some of things he did our first few weeks of dating. They were kind of shocking/weird and awesome. North American humans are really not used to this magnitude of ooh-la-la, so while we might be rigid and awkward, we’re probably impressed.

5 Ways To Charm Your Partner The Italian Way

  1. Show up to her place with wine (after you make a date, obviously, don’t just manifest yourself without warning…women need time to shave and brush their teeth).
  2. Bring Items to cook dinner. Ideally something you’ve practiced that is somewhat impressive and/or doesn’t suck.
  3. Set up a romantic music playlist in your phone. Play it while you cook. By romantic I’m thinking Italian, french, or Jazz…not DMX. Rap can be political but I think we can all agree it’s not romantic. Telling shorty to “back that ass up,” is sending the wrong message if you’re going for high-points and charm.
  4. Make sure that dessert is part of this, chocolate, or something sexy like fruit dipped in chocolate. A pudding snack pack doesn’t count.
  5. As a gift bring either a) a book with a thoughtful inscription or b) an item of clothing that takes research, time, and is totally badass. Not lingerie! That is a gift for yourself and totally doesn’t count.

Buona Fortuna!

This is a COSI POST! Check out my friends and partners in crime to read their hilarious, moving, awesome Valentines Day Post:

Sex Lies And Nutella: Be My Italian Valentine

Unwilling Expat: Searching For San Valentino

Girl In Florence: When The Best Answer Is “It’s Complicated.”

Married To Italy: Italian Sex Slang

The Florence Diaries: What it’s Like to Fall in Love with Italy

Rick’s Rome: Gods, Saints, and Other Valentines Myths

AND ALSO? 

V-Day works to stop violence against women. Please, check it out, spread the word, and be stoked on your vagina. Cause it’s badass. Remember to teach your daughters self love and your sons respect. A better tomorrow…

 

How to Avoid Paying €7 For Your €1 Coffee By Cari Oleskewicz

 

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Italian coffee shop etiquette, I have learned, is not the same as American coffee shop etiquette. There are rules. Sometimes they will tell you the rules and sometimes they will not. If you’ve never felt like a total dumbass in an Italian bar or café, you’re doing it wrong.

In America, you’ll wander into your local Starbucks or Panera, of if you’re my dad; your local Dunkin’ Donuts (I don’t know why) and you’ll order your favorite coffee drink. You’ll pay while someone is preparing your drink, and then you’ll wait for it. Some young person will hand it to you and that’s it. You can walk out the door and drink it on the way to work or sit down and sip it while you scroll through your Twitter feed. No one gives a shit. The price is the same whether your coffee is “for here” or “to go.” It doesn’t matter if you’re standing up or sitting down.

Not in Italy.

Some bars and cafés will charge you more for what they call table service. You’re drinking the same coffee. But a €1.20 cappuccino consumed while standing at the bar and causing a bit of a traffic jam for other people trying to order drinks turns into a €5 cappuccino if you put your ass in a seat.

It took me some time to do this math, and I’m still not always sure about when I’ll be charged more and when I won’t. So I stand there looking suspiciously from my coffee cup to the person who served it. I’ll start to move towards a table and then change my mind, ultimately looking like a squirrel who can’t decide whether to cross the street or stay where she is. I’ve been run over more than once.

Whenever possible, I avoid the places that charge more, mostly because they are usually fancy and I am not. Also because I enjoy sitting. It’s part of my American-ness, I suppose. We sit and we spread and we can’t help it. I like to linger over my morning cappuccino, licking the spoon and dipping part of my croissant into the cup until there is nothing left and I look like I have a coke habit from the powdered sugar of the pastry on my nose.

So I get an attitude when I walk into a place that charges extra for seating. Unless I know about it in advance. One of the places I go to for hot chocolate has a very aggressive up-charge, but I can’t get too outraged because there are signs all over the place advising their “gentile cliente” that there is a “very small extra charge” for seating. I’m cool with that. They’re telling me, so no surprises. I stand at the bar and drink my hot chocolate, feeling like I’m getting away with something.

What pisses me off is when it’s a sneak attack. My sister and I had coffees at a place right off via Cavour – admittedly touristy and completely packed. We sat down with our cappuccinos just to get out of the way of the steady stream of tourists with their selfie sticks and their entitlements. After our drinks, we brought our empty cups to the bar because we are considerate like that. The gentleman handed me my bill for €14. Um. But.

Surprise! We sat down for five minutes and that’s extra.

I’m willing to pay extra when “table service” means you sit down and peruse a menu, order your selection and have it brought to you. That’s well worth my extra euro. The Italians do this brilliantly, too. Order a coca cola at a bar and they come out with it on a silver tray. Half of a stunning crystal glass is filled with perfectly square ice cubes, topped with an elegantly sliced strip of lemon. They make a production about opening the can and pouring it into your glass. They offer you a straw. This is far more dignified than the 32-ounce Styrofoam cup you fill yourself at the fountain in the U.S.

This is the type of aesthetic I am willing to pay for. It’s getting blindsided that hurts.

Stick to the local places that don’t give a fuck if you sit or stand and won’t charge more. There are lots of them hiding in the side streets of Florence. If you want fancy, be prepared to pay.

And if you’re not sure – don’t sit down.


SIT AND ENJOY YOUR COFFEE WITHOUT A FEE AT THESE LOCAL SPOTS

  1. i Cugini on Borgo Pinti 69
  2. Caffe Accademia on Piazza San Marco
  3. Bar Anna on via de Ginori 26

What other locations would you recommend for coffee without an extra charge?

Arthur Bio:

cari

 

 

 

 

Cari Oleskewicz is a poet and writer based in Tampa and currently living in Florence, Italy. Her work has been published in a number of online and print journals and she is at work on a novel in verse.

 

RELATED ARTICLES:

Coffee and Culture. My recent article in The Florence Newspaper.

Coffee and Culture. My recent article in The Florence Newspaper.

How To Travel To Italy For Under $1000

Travel Italy (1)

So, this post is about how you can travel to Italy for one week for less than $1000 bucks* for airfare and accommodations. Look, I know what you’re thinking, you’re thinking, “Bullshit, lady, it’s impossible to travel to Italy for so little.” And you’re right, it sounds impossible, but it isn’t.

This requires a few tricks, it will require at least one year of planning, but it’s totally worth it. It’s basically how most of the people that I know travel for free-ish. If you’ve dreamed of visiting Italy you’re whole life but it just seems too expensive with your kids or whatever, well, my friend, I’m the babe for you. Platonically. Because I’m married, to a majestic Italian heartthrob who I adore (despite the fact that he sheds like a Husky in the summer time).

I got the idea for this post because ten minutes ago I was talking to a customer service rep at an agency that manages one of my massive student debt. During the conversation I told her to NEVER, EVER go to graduate school at an American school in Italy. Then she was all, “It’s my dream to go to Italy but it seems so hard to ever get there!” And that was a bummer because I get that, it is hard, and she was nice and I wanted to help her, so I launched into a bunch of friendly advice on how to do it for super cheap (I also mentioned that hostiles are not really full of murderers). After we hung up it totally occurred to me that I could share the same information with all of you out there who want to travel to Italy for cheap.

Now, here’s who it won’t work for: People with terrible credit. So, if you want to take advantage of this, you need to clean that shit up. Make payments, write love letters to bill collectors, or whatever else you need to do.

GET ONE OR TWO TRAVEL CARDS IMMEDIATELY

Why? A bunch of them have massive sign-up bonuses, and most have dollar-for-dollar point matching. What does that mean for you? Every dollar you put on it gives you points towards travel. The Best One For Airfare? American Express Delta. Get that shit and get it right now. Seriously. GET IT. They offer like 30K points as a sign-on bonus, plus other fancy things like priority boarding, etc. The Best Card For Hotels? In my opinion, the Chase Saphire Preferred, but you can check this site for other options (or run a Google search). After  you get your two cards, USE THEM FOR EVERYTHING. Utilities, groceries, any and all normal, regular bills as possible.

You’re thinking that this is a terrible idea because getting into debt is dumb and why the hell would you want to do that? I agree. Debt is dumb. So don’t use your card to live above your means. Do. Not. Do. That. Instead, use your card for things that you already pay for every month. Rent, electricity, groceries. If you really want to go for it, use it for every expense you have all month. Then, at the end of the month pay your credit card (s) off in full. Pay the entire balance. Every. Month. If you do this you won’t have to pay interest on the card and you’ll get all of those damn travel points. Yes, it’s that easy. Free shit for simply running your money through the credit card. How did I not know about this when I was younger!? Everyone that I know does this. They use their credit cards for all of their expenses every month, then they pay the card off every month, on time, and they never make payments. If you want to be super careful, put your card on auto-pay so the money is pulled out of your account on time, every month, without hassle. I do this, because I am super forgetful. I literally forget how to get home sometimes. Even when I’m sober. The most important thing here is to keep your monthly credit card spending way below what you make every month. If you go overboard it will totally screw the whole thing up.

Keep doing that until you have enough for airfare. Depending on your monthly spending and income, it could take a few months to one year or so.

 

CHOOSE YOUR TRAVEL MONTH WISELY

September, October and April. If I’m being honest these are nice months anyhow. The winter in Italy is rainy and depressing and the summer is super hot and very few places can afford the luxury of air conditioning (cafe’s and even some restaurants are often without cool air).

 

GIVE HOSTELS A CHANCE

Depending on your spending habits it’s totally possible to get enough points for airfare and hotel stays by using your travel cards. However, for most people that’s probably unlikely. I’m a writer, so, if I did it on my income alone there’s no way in holy hell. If you’re like most people, you’ll probably only be able to spend enough for your airfare. And that’s ok. Hostels are amazing in Europe. I’ve stayed in a bunch all over Europe and they’re kind of my favorite. I’ve had one weird experience in Spain but otherwise every hostile I’ve stayed at has been really nice, super clean, and way more fun than a hotel. Hostiles are not full of scary murderers. Many of them are even nicer than (European) hotels for 1/4 of the cost sometimes. I found some awesome hostel’s in Italy that range from $26 bucks per night to $48 in September. You can find even cheaper hostels than this but these are some of the nicest out there.

Milan: Ostello Bello

Milan Italy

 Plus Hostel: Florence Italy

Florence Italy Hostels

Venice: Generator Hostel

Venice Italy

Sicily: LOL Hostel

Siciliy Italy

 

ANOTHER OPTION FOR CHEAP/FREE ACCOMMODATIONS

I had lived abroad for quite a long time before I found out about wwoofing. A very close friend of mine did it in Tuscany for a few months one summer. He called it a “unique and amazing,” experience. It’s for singles, friends, or families. Yes, some people even take their toddlers with them and the kids have the best time of their lives while learning about where things come from and how much work goes into it. Ah, life lessons.

Basically, you sign up to become a member then you stay on farms in Italy for free and in return you help them with their work. Don’t worry, it’s not all backbreaking farm work. My friend worked at an essential oils farm where they picked lavender to turn into oil. Food and an amazing nights rest on a beautiful farm is what you can expect. And? So much fun. The host families are usually very sweet and fun.

From what I’ve heard it’s very safe but just to be extra safe I’d always go with a friend.

Pros: What’s not to love about a free place to sleep and amazing farm to table food?

Cons: It has to be during a season when there is a lot of work to be done. And you have to work usually five days per week. But weekends off!

 

MONEY SAVING TRICKS AND TIPS

Once you’re in Italy here are a few tricks to save as much money as possible.

1. Do not sit down with your coffee. In Italy they charge for this in many places. More on that here: (Link coming soon)

2. If you go out for Aperitivo you’ll pay for a drink (between 7-10 dollars) but get food for free. These things vary depending on where you’re located. In Florence you can make a full meal of it at places like Kitch. In the south they’ll usually just offer a little plate with various things on it like sandwich squares, salami, chips, and other things that are basic.

3. Buy train tickets in advance or for even cheaper rent a car to get around Italy. If you have the American Express Platinum then you’re car insurance is already taken care of. Get a car that uses both normal gas and Metono (fuel made with garbage. basically) for optimal cheapness while cruising around.

4. Avoid tourist areas for food. They will always hike up the price for shit food. It’s nasty, it’s expensive, and it’s never worth it. Research restaurants before going so you always know where good/affordable places to eat are located.

5. If you want to get tipsy on the cheap, grab a bottle of alcohol from a store and just head to a piazza with some paper cups. It’s legal and everyone does it. You can buy decent wine for like 3 euros.

*Not including taxes or fees. Every card, reward program, airline is different so factoring all of those possibilities in would be a nightmare. You’d have to figure that cost (sometimes almost nothing, sometimes high) depending on your specific card, airline, etc.

My In-Laws Expertise On All Things: A Twitter Journey

I’ve been getting comments, tweets, and emails asking what the hell happened at the end of my in-laws stay over Christmas and into January. Honestly? I was so busy hosting that I didn’t have time to write any lengthy posts towards the end. However, I did have time for Twitter, now and again. So, here are some of the highlights from Twitter that I didn’t have time to share via blog posts. Enjoy (my pain)! If you get a minute, “like,” the posts or follow me on Twitter. Tell me which is your favorite Tweet in the comments below!

ON FOOD AND FINE DINING….

ON LANGUAGE LEARNING….

(This was accompanied by my MIL telling me that since learning a language is “so easy,” I must have a “learning disability.” Probably.)

ON NON-ITAIAN LANDSCAPES….

“It’s so dry! Look! No plants! How ugly!” 234,453 times. pic.twitter.com/2IAzwfwi4G

— M. Elizabeth Evans (@dirtyfilthyME) December 29, 2014

ON BRITISH THINGS…

ON APPROPRIATE WINTER ATTIRE….

ON PUBLIC NUDITY….

ON ITALIAN GEOGRAPHY…..

ON SEX….

ON AMERICA’S SECRET DREAMS…..

THANK YOU, JESUS!……

ON MANIPULATING THE SYSTEM….

ON TECHNOLOGY….

ON MULTICULTURAL PARENTING…

MY MIL’S THOUGHTS ON MY DAD’S COOKING (AFTER HE SPENT 5 HOURS MAKING THEM DINNER)…

ON NORTH AMERICAN CONDIMENTS…

ON LINGERIE…

 

TOTALLY UNRELATED WORDS OF WISDOM FROM ME (And the reason I’ll never be a great philosopher).

Karen And I Shouldn’t Be Allowed To Brainstorm Together:

Pisa Street Photography By Artist Kamau

Hello guys! So this week’s guest post is by a very talented photographer. I love his work, it’s so energetic and fun and I think you’ll love it too. And also? What a babe! Enjoy your glimpse into Pisa. Have you been? Do these photos bring up any nostalgic memories of the place?

Piazza Vittorio Emanuele II

Piazza Vittorio Emanuele II

Keith Haring’s Last Mural “Tuttomondo”

Keith Haring's Last Mural "Tuttomondo"

PISA CENTRALE

Pisa_8_-_Bazodee_Photography

The Arno RiverThe Arno River

Everyday Life And Transportation

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New Technology On Ancient Streets

Pisa_4_-_Bazodee_Photography

The Simplicity Of A Casual Stroll

Pisa_3_-_Bazodee_Photography

Artist Bio

Kamau_Bio_Photo

Kamau is an avid traveler and photographer that has grown far too accustomed to leaping across the Atlantic to find himself in Europe. Born and raised in the Caribbean, it takes much more than a pristine beach and crystal clear water to pique his interest. He is mostly interested in travel, lifestyle and documentary photography, which is reflected on his website for Bazodee Photography. You can also get a glimpse of some of his escapades over on his Instagram account: @bazodeephotography