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Is there life in Rome? My thoughts on my habitation experiment…

13 Feb

I know that I don’t leave Rome for the UK for another 4 days, but with Valentine’s Day tomorrow and then the weekend, I may not have time to write this before I leave and I want to give my honest, real thoughts as I sit here in the comfort of the Eternal City.

There are so many thoughts that run through my head on a daily basis when I walk the streets, clean the apartment…they range from the obvious to the ridiculous but they all bring me back to the same thing – Rome is where I want to live. As I walked back from Termani today after a lovely day with a friend, I rattled 3, 50 cent coins I had saved for the Metro in my coat pocket and a lump formed in my throat. I never thought that the Euro would be my currency – besides all things, I’m loyal to my English roots…I’m proud to be English and always will be and I will miss my pennies and pounds! It’s a strange thought that I am sure only those who have walked in my shoes will understand. Missing a currency sounds ridiculous, but its another part of the whole process for me; it’s exciting and terrifying all at the same time.

People I have met here that I am proud to call my friends are very supportive and encouraging of my plans. Talking about it today it became obvious to me that I like to set myself challenges; I like to accomplish things I don’t believe I can. For example, I am taking my Dad’s advice and deciding to drive my little English Mini (cats included!) to Rome when I make the move. Why? Well, it saves me £1500 on flights and its not the easy option – it’s the challenging option. Me, two cats and as much of my life as I can squeeze into the Mini on a 17hour, two-day drive across 4 countries? Sure, easy! But, its something I would never get the opportunity to do…if this move wasn’t happening, I would never do it, and that makes it appealing.

So, back to Rome. This city bewitches me. I am head over heels in love with it. Today, as I walked to the Metro, I walked down Via dei Fori Imperiali, the main road that leads to the Coliseum, and in the bright winter sunshine, I couldn’t have been happier. I could drink in the view of my most favourite monument, surrounded by ancient history and I felt at home. OK, when I live here, I won’t be in such a central location…sure, I dream of living in one of the gorgeous, pastel coloured palazzos in the historic centre, so do most Romans (I’ll be north, in Nomentana!) but knowing I can get on the Metro, and a few stops later I can see the wonders of central Rome, makes me feel very happy inside.

Live here? Sure, in my dreams!

Live here? Sure, in my dreams!

The language is a challenge, but I will take it on! I have lessons booked right up until I leave and I think that living here and living the language will be the best way to learn! And I simply can’t wait!

So, I think the easiest way to rate my two weeks here and the effect its had on my plans to make Rome my home is a good, old-fashioned ‘out of 10’!

  • The city – 9/10
  • The people – 10/10
  • The food – 8/10 (I LOVE Italian food but pasta/pizza/gelato are not good for my waistline, hence a gym for my arrival has been found!
  • Shopping – 7/10 (Yes, Italy is the home of Prada, D+G and Zara, but sometimes a girl needs a one-stop Sainsburys shop!)

As I sit here and look forward to my last 4 days in this wonderful apartment in this city I will soon call home, I am a mix of emotions. Will I miss my family and friends back in the UK? Yes, more than I can imagine. Will it be scary to start a whole new life in another country? Scary, no…exciting, yes! Will I be devastated that I have to leave Rome again in 4 days? Yes! These past 2 weeks have meant a lot to me in a lot of different ways. It will be sad to say goodbye again, but I am comforted by the thought that the next time I return, it’s possibly forever! There is a lot to do between now and when I set off for Rome again and I am sure that the time will go too fast, but I feel an overwhelming excitement inside me when I think that the next time I write from Rome, I’ll be calling it home…

Terrified? Yes! Excited? Even more so!

Ciao for now,

Nina x

The dark side of the move…

24 Jan

Whilst I’m all for a Pink Floyd pun, this post is all about the not-so-cheery side of moving…especially abroad! At the current moment I write this, I hope in a few months I look back and laugh! But, here’s my list of things that make a move (especially overseas) that teeny (MASSIVELY) more stressful!

1. Sleepless nights...when one is expected to come into work at 8am and work solidly for 8 hours in a Communications role, surviving on 4hours (or less) sleep pretty much renders you useless in the world of successful communication. This week alone I have spelt my OWN name wrong (twice!), walked away from my desk whilst still attached to my laptop headphones and survived on a working day diet of 90% caffeine. Add to the lack of sleep  the stress headaches/stomach aches and it doesn’t make for a pleasant time! I will be glad when this is all over!

2. Friends…whilst some people have been ridiculously supportive, there have been others that have really failed me in their support of this move. It seems as if I am simply no longer relevant seeing as I won’t be here much longer. Some simply and plainly act like they don’t care. And what makes it harder, is that it is the people I thought I could rely on most that have let me down the hardest. Well, I’m taking a stand on this one. You’ve had your chances. No one is *that* busy that they can’t find 2 minutes to reply to a text/FB message/email. I’m no longer making time for those that don’t make time for me. And yes, you know who you are, and all you have done is make my separation from the UK that little bit easier. And as a side-note, don’t bother contacting me a week before/a week after I go – it’s simply too late.
To everyone who has been like a rock to me and taken the time to talk to me about this/see how its going/how I am doing over the last month or so – THANK YOU!

3. Finances…never a cheery subject for me, but it feels like all I have done since I decided to move was pay for things I have seen little come-back from. The costs mount up and up and its impossible (especially a month after the expense of Christmas) to have spare cash for anything luxurious. Flying the cats out to Italy is costing roughly the same price as a first class ticket, and although TOTALLY worth it, I can’t explain that to my over-draft.

4. House sorting…getting the house in shape is always a sucky part of moving…boxing up belongings, going through EVERYTHING you own with ‘toss’, ‘keep’, ‘store’ labels at the ready is never an enjoyable task. Add onto the the decision of what you can move within your allowed 22kg baggage limit and it makes for even more head scratching!

Don’t think that any of the above is making me regret my decision, it isn’t one bit! This process was never going to be an easy one but I believe that the outcome will be more than worth it. I have found and secured an amazing place to live, in a cosmopolitan city, in a country I have loved for a decade. I consider myself SO fortunate that I have the means and backing behind me as lots of people in my age bracket don’t have that…this will be an amazing life change and I simply can’t wait to be living my new life in the sun! I am off for a trial run on Saturday 2nd February for two weeks and it simply can’t come quick enough!

Nina x

Goodbye 2012 and hello 2013! A wrap up of 2012

8 Jan

Wow, I can’t quite believe that I am at the beginning of yet another year, looking back over my shoulder at 2012, which was one of the happiest, challenging and interesting years so far! I made some amazing friends, met some wonderful people and went to some stunning places.
January saw me confirming and planning my holiday in Tuscany for late June
February gave us some snow, and evenings having playfights in playgrounds
March started painfully with a broken coccyx, cue 6 weeks of no moving
April I was guestlist again to see my beloved Ryan Adams at the Palladium
May I changed my holiday plans and added a 3 night stay in Rome to my week in Tuscany
June was spent counting the days until I flew to Tuscany on 23rd for an amazing holiday
July I turned 29, and was treated to a night in a 5* hotel by my best friend Naomi
August my Mum turned 60, and the whole family celebrated together at hers for Afternoon Tea!
September I started my Italian language course
October I was rushed to hospital with appendicitis, had an operation!
November I had some of my writing published, something I could tick off my bucket list
December I spent Christmas with my family and my New Year in Rome

As for 2013, there are a lot of things I want to achieve. A psychic told me (cue spooky music) many years ago that 2013 would be the biggest year of my life and I hope they are right. There are many reasons people give for wanting to change their lives…whether those reasons are justified or not, is not for anyone else to decide. When I look at what I want to achieve this year, I find that people’s opinions fall into two categories…the ‘do it, life’s too short-ers’ and the ‘have you thought this all through-ers?’. Luckily, the vast majority of people who matter  to me are in the first group.

I found myself thinking a lot of about my plans for 2013…it’s a big year for me; I turn 30 and that brings with it its own issues…its a real turning point in life (and 10 years in your twenties is too many!) and time to start making plans about the future. I don’t want to rush anything, but I feel that now is the time to start making plans and laying down the path to a new life.

It was 2005 when I first visited Italy and I fell instantly in love. It was returning from that trip that I vowed to one day make Italy my home. This year, I hope to make that dream a reality. It will take a lot of sleepless nights and a lot of day-dreaming thinky time, but I know that it’s where I want to be and I hope, where I shall be living by Christmas 2013. I’m in a very fortunate position and have the backing to make this move…now, it’s just a case of getting the wheels in motion.

Things I will miss about the UK ‘when in Rome’

8 Oct

OK, so I am sat at my desk at work literally counting the weeks until I can live la dolce vita for a whole month, and I got to thinking about the strange things I would miss…of course there are the obvious things, but what about the more…less-obvious.

1. English TV
I know/have been told that Italian TV is some of the worst in the world. From experience I have encountered badly-dubbed episodes of ‘Friends’, films that only seem to have been made up to the 1970’s, and lots and LOTS of football! How will I cope without the Hollyoaks omnibus on a Sunday morning when my head and heart are feeling a little delicate from the night before? No Big Bang Theory…I know, I am not going there to watch TV, but it’s something that crossed my mind when thinking of this blog!

2. Driving…especially in the Mini!
I LOVE my car – red Mini Cooper and it’s just ‘so me’. I also adore driving and a whole month without it is a scary idea. I had contemplated hiring a car when in Rome, but a) I’d have more chance of parking it on the Moon, and b) I respect my life, and don’t feel like cutting it short! Italian drivers are crazy!

3. English Tea with FRESH milk
I can say that buying fresh milk in Italy has always proved impossible to me…you get what I consider to be stuff similar to our ‘long life’ muck that is sold on the SHELVES of stores in Italy, not the FRIDGE. That will take some adjusting to! Luckily, as my parents are helping me move in, I have the luxury of 3 suitcases to fill with Typhoo! Mum suggested opening an English Tea Room there – yes, but only with fresh milk!

4. Tescos…Sainsburys…Waitrose
The decent UK supermarkets do take a lot of beating and I happen to live close to all three above. I’m not saying I will miss them per se, because I don’t rate their fresh stuff or meat highly, and nowhere can beat Italy for the quality of fresh produce, but the ease of use is what I shall miss.  I dare say that on my return I shall miss picking out my own fresh of fruit and vegetables from the local markets like no-one’s business!

5. Reliable, fast internet
The Italians rush nothing and their internet is no exception. They have an attitude of ‘if it works, it works, if it doesn’t, it doesn’t’, which on the surface is an amazing attitude – we Westerners spend far too much time stressing out about things like ‘slow broadband’ when in the scheme of life, it’s not that important. It will take a period of re-adjustment to the much slower internet of yesteryear (they don’t still have dial-up, surely?!) but it will all be part of my readjustment to Italian life.

6. Cleaning products I know and love!
Yes, random I know, but it takes a lot for me to love a washing powder – I am so picky! After 7 years of living in my own home, I still struggle to find cleaning products that measure up to my fussy standards! I know the Italians have odd names for their cleaning products too…’Bum Bum’ dish soap and ‘Lady’ multipurpose cleaner…give me a bottle of Fairy Liquid over Bum Bum any day!

Ciao for now!

Nina x

La dolce vita…some exciting news!

5 Oct

So, there is some exciting news to announce in my life…

I am moving to Rome. Initially just for a month, to see how I like the city and if it’s right for me.

I’ll be honest and say that despite my 7 year love affair with Italy, this was not the easiest of decisions to make. There are so many things to consider and take into consideration, and although I shall only be there a month, I am 70% certain it will lead to a move out there. That has longer-term implications that I must consider. To help anyone who might be considering something similar, here are the points I had to consider in coming to the decision to take the leap!

1. Work
I have a pretty decent (going by the state of the economy here in the UK) job that is local to my home and pays well. Yes, it’s in Communications and allows me to write, but if I’m honest, I see it more as a means to pay my bills rather than a ‘career’. I am allowed 25 days paid holiday a year, to take as I choose. I work with may Europeans (including Italians) who traditionally save most of their holiday for a month off in August. My plan is to do just that – except I am taking February.

2. Home
I have owned my own home since I was 21 and for the last 8 years have mostly financed the day to day of that alone. It’s been heartbreakingly hard at times but I see my home as my enabler. I will leave it as it is for the month  I am there but in the long term will have to factor in that I will need to rent it out.

3. Mum
My beloved ‘Mummy B’…my bestest friend and most loyal confidante who I miss terribly, even when she is only 10 minutes down the road from me. Telling her I was thinking of this month away was hard, because like me she knows that this is the start of something much more long-term, and the reality of not seeing her (and my Pops!) when I want is heartbreaking. But, despite that, she supports me and I know will be behind me in every way possible.







4. My bestest friends
I have 2 best friends in my life that no matter what, never judge me and are always there for me. I am lucky to have met these people and will miss them terribly! I have made them both promise to come out and stay with me when I am there so we can all enjoy the Eternal City together!

5. The Mogs!
My beloved kitties, Harry and Boo who are amazing and a huge part of my life. 50% pure-bred and 50% moggy they add up to 100% of crazy, stupid love and I will miss them terribly for the month I am away. Long-term, I will factor in any apartment that I should rent there to be good enough for their dolce vita too!

I have to keep reminding myself that this is ‘just a month’ to start with, but I know this will not be the end of my Italian dream…

“Our story is only just beginning”

Many miles in another girl’s shoes

5 Sep

Welcome to my blog…

Expect to read updates on: fashion, make up, my love of Starbucks Chai Tea Lattes, my love/hate relationship with the gym, shoes, ‘Today I am Wearing’, and my constant wonderments about people I know and love.

This is going to be a pretty frank and open place for me…nothing will be kept hidden away…what’s the point in that right?

Hope you like what you see…