How Being An Expat Is Exactly Like Sex

1. You meet during a family vacation, in a movie, or online. You like what you see. You dream about being inside of it, absorbing it, letting all that culture and complexity inside of you. A week, a month, isn’t long enough. You need to bind yourself to it forever. You decide to go for it. 

2. You arrive. You’re nervous and you can’t believe it’s really happening. You’re really doing it. Your senses are heightened, you’re excited and scared all at the same time. 

3. You feel amazing. You’re not there yet but you’re close. Everything seems possible, your entire life was leading up to this moment. 


5. You feel overly sensitive. Tired. There is a wave of mild regret. How did I get here?

6. You need a cigarette, possibly a shot of whisky, and to escape. Thanks for the hospitality! It’s been fun! It’s not you it’s me, I’ll call you sometime. 

And you sneak away with nothing more than bragging rights, high-fives from envious friends, an emptiness, and occasional pang of longing in your loins that you try to ignore, lest it happen again. 

Conversations With M.E.: Because Communication Is The Cornerstone Of A Healthy Relationship

Since I have more weird conversations in any given day than any healthy person should have in a year I’m going to start posting these regularly. These are just for fun, they were not serious conversations, and nobody has been injured or de-vaginalized (totally coined this awesome new word) as a result.


Me: You’re forty minutes late for dinner.

F: Yeah, I know. I suck! I’m sorry.

Me: Hmm.

F: Seriously. I am sorry dat you had to await me forty minutes.

Me: Is that why you were late?

F: Why?

Me: Because you had to time travel back to nineteen-century England to bring back an outdated word to use in your lame apology.

F: You’re an asshole.

Me: Tis’ true.

F: Sigh.


Mother-In-Law: Do you like having F home everyday now that he is working from home?

Me: Yeah. It’s nice. When he’s annoying Ho Scopato a casa di un mio amico*.

Mother-In-Law: What?

Me: Ho Scopato a casa di un mio amico.

Mother-In-Law: [turning to my husband] What?


Mother-In-Law: Are you ever going to learn Italian?

F: It’s more funny this way.

*ho scopato a casa di un mio amico=I fucked at my (male) friend’s house.

*sono scappata a casa di un mio amico=I escaped to my (male) friend’s house


Me: I think I figured out why I’m so nervous that Oliver is going to die.

F: Oh?

Me: Yeah, because every dog I’ve ever loved has died.

F: You don’t need to worry about it.

Me: Yeah I know…

F: Because he’s going to die eventually for sure. I mean, EVERYONE DIES. So don’t even tink about it. Just know that everyone around you will die.

Me: Wow. I almost thought you were going to say something consoling.

F: It’s kinda of funny when you tink about it.

Me: Your mental instability?

F: No. Dat you tought I was going to say-a some-a ting consoling.

Me: Touchè


F: I like kissing you. Your skin is so soft.

Me. Yeah. Yours is, hairy. What would happen if your hair suddenly started to grow inward and it invaded your brain?

F: I don’t-a know.

Me. And you had to hire a brain surgeon to give you a haircut.

F: Let’s not talk anymore, okay?

Me. Okay. Goodnight.


F: I’m going out with my friends for a drink tonight? Okay?

Me: Cool. Have fun. Without me.

F: Obviously you’re always invited.

Me: No, no, I have to work on my book. I have to write an entire chapter about rejection. And you. And rejection.

F: Do you want to come?

Me: I thought you’d never ask, but you know what? I’d rather not. In all seriousness I do have to work on my book.

F: And you made this big ting because?

Me: Guilt is funny?


Me: So you came home really late last night.

F: Yeah.

Me: Which is fine. As long as you didn’t sleep with anyone.

F: Why would I do that?

Me: You have a penis. But just try to be altruistic.

F: I wouldn’t do anything to hurt you?

Me: No, no, not for ME. I meant for whatever girl. Because, I will cut out her vagina and then send it to you in a box. A box in a box, that’s actually kind of funny. Anyways, logistically, I don’t even know how one would go about removing someone’s vagina so imagine the experimental chopping that would go into my vindictiveness. Seriously, poor girl. That’s someone’s daughter Francesco. That’s someone’s daughter.

F: Ah, that’s why I love you.

Me: You’re sick.


Me: So, I got another email asking how I am able to be married to an Italian because they cheat.

F: Yeah?

Me: Mhmm, and I started thinking of what would happen if we moved to the US. American girls love an accent, and quiet guys and you basically hate talking and you’re kind of adorable. Women will be dripping from you. But that’s okay because I think I have a solution.

F: Kill everyone?

Me: No! Actually, I think I’ll just start telling everyone that you have an array of STD’s. Like, ALL of the

Sexually transmitted disease

Sexually transmitted disease (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

incurable ones.

F: Dat doesn’t make-a sense because you are married to me.

Me: Right. But I mean, that’s fine. I hate dudes anyways and I don’t really want anyone near “her” anyways. Especially in her condition. I mean, you cannot believe the things going on down there,
what with all those infections and everything.

F: That is disgusting.

Me: Right? How could you do that to me, to her, to us?

F: Please stop talking.

Me: We trusted you.

F: I don’t want to leave the apartment ever again.

Me: And why would you when we can stay inside and exchange virus’?



Me: The guy that plays Bill from True Blood IS BRITISH.

F: Yeah. It’s weird.

Me: And Alexander Skarsgard is Swedish.

English: Alexander Skarsgard at Tribeca Film F...

English: Alexander Skarsgard at Tribeca Film Festival 2010 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

F: True.

Me: I was just thinking of how cool it would be to be married to a European.

F: [blink, blink, blink]

Me: Oh, wow! Yeah. I’m pretty far gone.

F: Sigh.

Related articles

Street Style In Florence In October: Stalking People And A Day Out Embarrassing My Husband

I spent the day out with my husband stalking people in the center of Florence. My husband finds it highly inappropriate to take pictures of people I don’t know and he followed me around whispering, “stop DOING THAT!”. He needs to loosen up a little bit OR I need to have a different attitude about documenting other people’s lives. Anyways, I took a variety of different people all rocking their personal style for fall in Florence, Italy. You’ll notice the men in Italy are dressed very well with perfectly coordinated outfits. The women are similar and most of them were sporting the standard black boot that is ever-popular in Italy every fall/winter. This is an excellent Italian style guide for traveling to Italy because magazines are usually more focused on Milan style and what celebrities wear. This is how real people dress in Firenze. I threw in a few pictures of the city too because it was a beautiful day and because sometimes when people would stare at me for stalking them I had to take a picture of a building or something to look “normal.”


Doing A Blood Analysis In Italy: They Stole My Life Force

This morning I awoke around eight a.m., early for me since my insomnia didn’t allow me to fall asleep until around four a.m. I stretched and felt warm pressure on my right leg.  Oliver in his usual place, behind my legs with his head resting on my calf. He’s always cold like me and he navigates towards anything that emits heat. In the winter he sits so close to the space heaters that I’ll occasionally get a whiff of burnt hair, turning I’ll see his cheek or forehead pushed against the wires. Every few seconds he’ll paw his face where he’s clearly burning his hair and then do it all over again. I’ll have to get up, move him away, and wait until I smell burnt poodle fuzz again. As I was watching Oliver snuggle to my leg I heard F sigh and felt him sit up. I was facing the opposite direction and unsure if I wanted to commit to waking up I closed my eyes and hoped that he would go make coffee.

F: Wake up, Misty.

Me: Sigh

F: I know you’re awake. Stop pretending like you’re asleep.

Me: Stop talking.

F: Get up. Let’s go get your analysis done. Hurry. Get dressed NOW.

Me: What? NO!

F: Get UP!

Me: NO! I don’t want to! You are MEAN!

Like Oliver I’m not really afraid of things that could actually kill me, rather, I’m terrified of things that are either fictitious or mildly uncomfortable. I am terrified of monsters under the bed and giving blood. I hate the pin prick INTO MY VEIN and then sitting there while the nurse has a metal piece lodged into my blood stream. I can’t wait passively while they suck out my life force.


Me: This is not how you motivate me in the morning. You didn’t even mentally prepare me for this. I’m not going. You CANNOT MAKE ME!

F: You are worse than a child. Get up. We’ll get breakfast.


F: Sigh. Up. Now. Before you make me mad.

Me: Whatever HULK. Take Oliver to pee. I’ll get dressed but just so you know I do not like you as a human being today. We’re not friends. NOT FRIENDS.

F: Got it. Not friends. Be ready in ten minutes.

We arrived to the piss yellow building where they do the analysis. We took a number, “156” and the digital number thingy said “4.” AWESOME. We waited. We were the youngest people in the room. It was like the the old folks home where my mother used to work. An old man of about three hundred years old walked by holding a clear plastic cup full of yellow liquid. He bumped into me and the liquid sloshed around. I growled. Another older woman with a cane walked by with the same cup filled with the same liquid.

Me: What the?

F: That reminds me!

F left and returned with two empty plastic cups.

F: Urine analysis.

Me: I hate you.

F: I know. But listen, you’re not supposed to carry the cup around. These old people are nuts. You pee in the cup, insert this glass tube and press down. The pee goes into the tube, then you throw the cup away. So you just have to carry this tiny tube to the lady in the back.

Me: How hygienic.

Our number came up. We peed in the cups in the bathroom and carried our pee tubes to the back room. We handed the tubes to a mid-forties nurse with large eyes and a pixie cut. It feels wrong to hand hand packaged body fluid to someone. It’s just not something you give away.

Nurse: Remove your coat. Sit down.

Maria Valtorta, italian religious writer, myst...

Maria Valtorta, italian religious writer, mystic, at age 21, in the uniform of a Samaritan Nurse (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I did it in the pace of a slow loris.

Nurse: Give me your arm.

Me: NO!

F: Misty. Give. Her. Your. Arm.

The nurse was speechless, staring at me with wide eyes. I’m sure it was the first time she’d seen a woman my age refusing to cooperate but I was being FORCED and she was going to hurt me. When I was a kid I had a doll. One doll. The purpose of this doll was to accompany me to the doctor so the doctor, Dr. Cathy Coopersmith, could perform everything on the shitty doll FIRST. That way I could see what would happen and then decide to cooperate or not. Where the fuck was that creepy as shit anatomically correct doll?

Me: Sorry. Here.

I flopped my arm on the arm bed that sat propped on the desk. The nurse grabbed five glass tubes and set them next to the arm bed. She took out a needle.

Me: You have to use pediatric needles. I have tiny veins. I’m always cold and I have baby veins!

The last time I’d given blood in a clinic in Utah the nurse jabbed me somewhere around seven times to locate my vein. Finally I stood up and screamed that my arm was going to fall off and that I’d be pissed if I couldn’t clap for the rest of my life because she refused to use needles for freaks with tiny veins. I didn’t want to relive that experience. I also did not know how to say “clap” or “freaks” in Italian.

The nurse nodded and grabbed a baby needle. Tiny. I imagined a toddler. The needle. Heroin. A baby shooting up heroin with a baby needle.

Promotional poster for second season

Promotional poster for second season True Blood. Please, turn Stupid Sookie into a vampire and have her marry Eric Northman because all of the other male characters  are lame (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I turned my head to F. “I really do not like you today,” and I turned away from him to face the doorway packed with eager beavers waiting to give their blood away. I practiced breathing. If it worked for labor it probably worked for this too. “Hoo-Hoo Haaaaw.” Was I doing it right? I’ve never given birth. Great. I felt a pin prick. It didn’t hurt. She got it in one shot. If I were a junky I’d want to be friends with this lady. Totally painless. But then I felt dizzy when I thought about the fact that she was STEALING MY BLOOD. Think happy thoughts. True Blood. I couldn’t date a vampire. Could I? They’re so sexy. Romania. Count Dracula. Count Chocola. OOOH! Count Chocoula! I would be a great vampire. Then I felt the metal leave my body. Pressure on my arm. Done.

And nobody gave me a lollipop.

Important Information On Moving To Italy: Shit That You Need To Know Before You Date, Drink, Or Move Here.

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This month I had three articles in The Florence News And Events. If you live in Florence you should pick it up and put my articles in your scrapbook next to photos of your dogs and children. If you are interested in moving to Italy, studying in Italy or Florence, marrying an Italian man, dating an Italian man or woman, drinking coffee in Florence or getting shit-faced wasted on after dinner digestifs (digestivi) then this article (and I) am for you.

To Read The Newspaper Online: