The Six Month Mark

One of the beautiful volcanic crater lakes–I think Albano–Castelli Romani, south of Rome.

I did it! I hit the six-month mark. I hope this is the first of many landmarks of my new expat life. In some ways, I feel like I’ve always been here while in other ways, I feel like I have only just arrived. It goes without saying that I miss my friends and family back at home more than I could ever articulate and wish I could move everyone here. There’s also some food that that no amount of pizza bianca and trofie al pesto suppli could make up for. I do miss going to the theater, visiting particular restaurants and once again, my friends and family, but do I miss New York itself? No. I’m where I belong now.

My nifty little blog began with some bullet points listing how my life had changed during my first month, piu’ o meno. I arrived in Rome on February 8th and the first week did feel a bit like vacation because I stayed with a friend, then spent a few nights in Milan to attend Identita Golose before settling into my sublet on February 14th. So, I thought to celebrate six months, I’d share some more bullet points listing changes, comments and reflections on my new expat life. Here goes…

  1. I live in the country with the most UNESCO World Heritage sites: 49.
  2. I’m an early riser no more. Much to my chagrin, I might add, and I’m actually working on amending this ASAP.
  3. I can actually watch movies set in my favorite cities without pining to be elsewhere. I’m happy just where I am! I’m where I’m supposed to be.
  4. I have mastered portion control. More on that some other time.
  5. I hardly ever wear heels. 🙁
  6. I’m hoping to own a bike within the next couple of weeks. Yes, I’m planning to wear a helmet.
  7. I think about Aunt Liz’s food everyday and still hope that I’ll be able to cook like her. Every time I cook, I think about Aunt Liz, too!
  8. None of my summer clothes are black.
  9. I have a newfound faith in shoe shopping.
  10. I hold anything that I eat by hand with a napkin, for example, pizza, panini, cornetti, etc.
  11. Although I officially made the Celsius switch on my phone, it still means nothing to me. I’m a fahrenheit girl at heart.
  12. When someone tells me a destination is just 100 meters away or that an object is one meter high or 3.7 meters long, that also means nothing to me.
  13. Learning Italian is still a work in progress and will be for quite some time. However, I’m proud to say that after all the classes, it’s continually picking up! I occasionally have to stop to think as I’m stringing sentences together and I must say that it drives me mad, mad, mad I tell you, when someone finishes my sentence for me. How am I supposed to learn otherwise? Unless I hit a wall and ask you for help, PLEASE BACK OFF!! Let me think and put the sentence together on my own, damn it!
  14. I still haven’t figured out how to stream US TV shows. I’m missing Mad Men, True Blood and Breaking Bad, so I have lots of catching up to do and need to sort this all out before the third season of Homeland begins.
  15. I’m just a three-hour train ride from Liguria, a stunningly beautiful part of the world, and I’m heading that way in early September. I can’t wait to once again swim in the sparkling blue Ligurian sea and snag me some olive oil while I’m at it. And I of course intend to indulge in plenty of pesto, anchovies and focaccia, too!
  16. I grow increasingly more fond of Milan with every visit.
  17. I’ve become a bit of a procrastinator, which I’m not happy about. Some things just take so long to get done here that I’ve avoided them for no reason other than dread of the wait. Like purchasing catastrophic insurance, for example. The thought of all that waiting in the dreadful post office makes me incredibly uneasy. But I’ll hopefully be checking this off my list by month’s end.
  18. I don’t order in or do take-out. If I’m not dining out, I cook, which is more often than not. (See number 7: this means I think about Aunt Liz often!)
  19. I stopped taking my Vitamin D supplement. There’s no way I can still be deficient since I see more than ten minutes of sunlight a day. And not just from a window–I’m actually exposed to it. The ever-increasing amount of freckles on my arms is proof!
  20. I saw one of my first expat friends come and go. She’s on to bigger and better things after a few months in Rome, but I still miss her!
  21. I’ve met some of my Italian family!! We’re friends now and we stay in touch! And, even better, we speak Italian together. (Number 13 on this list is NOT directed at them.)
  22. I never leave the house without applying sunscreen.
  23. I’ve seen one of the best films I’ve ever seen, but if I had to pick, Ieri, Oggi, Domani is still my favorite Italian movie.
  24. My shifting taste in wine has rendered me increasingly more fond of Northern Italian whites. (Though I did try an Etna white a couple of weeks ago at Vino Roma that blew my mind. I’ve been thinking about it ever since.)
  25. On the magazine front, I live for Italian Vogue, Italian Vanity Fair and I’m starting to get into La Cucina Italiana (the Italian version, of course!).
  26. I sleep much better here.
  27. I secretly dream about being a Vatican Tour Guide.
  28. I still find it sickening that weddings, engagements, and babies are deemed the most noteworthy and celebratory of one’s life experiences. Don’t get me wrong, these are beautiful things and I’m beyond happy for everyone I know who has experienced them. But there are some people who never have—and perhaps never will—experience these so-called “milestones” and their accompanying traditions (some of which are borderline nervy) and that shouldn’t deem anyone less worthy of celebration.
Join the Conversation


  1. says: Sarah May

    Jackie I love your list.. I am now a C person, it makes a lot more sense to me know, but it took a few years. Also, I am going to make you love Lazio wines when we do our tasting.

    1. Oh, thanks! I hope I can get there. 🙂 Everyone tells me that 100 is boiling and 0 is freezing, but it’s still hard to put it into context. Why can’t there just be one universal temperature measurer?! And I’m excited for the wine tasting. xo

  2. says: Vincenzo

    Jackie… 🙂
    13 > your italian language is already better then the one used by some italians…
    17 > Maybe Italian postal office queues will become Unesco heritage too…
    19 > Nice… but beware because freckles may be a delicate skin reaction… (oh well … i already read 22 point on your list, but, you know, prudence is never enough)
    24 > Next time we’ll see, I’ll try to find and let you taste “Aleatico di Gradoli”… (a garnet red with purple hues DOC wine). There is a legend about it… This legend explains the origins of his emblem… A lion, a stick and the vine…
    See you ASAP 🙂

  3. says: Aunt Liz

    Thanks Jackie, I’ll have chicken cutlets ready for you when you come home for a visit. Wish I could have sent them with Uncle Nick’s friend Cheryl. Love you sooooooooooooo much!

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