31 December 2006


My family is the best! My friends are the best! My dad is the best! My mom is the best! MY NANA IS A GREAT LIAR!!!!! Everyone was in on it...and in true fashion I had no idea. Even my brother made me a video on my travels since and of all of us together, family! Family....so important! Never in my life I thought they would do this, because they hate to see me leave. Alas I had my first surprise party and it was a SUCCESS!

Success has been a theme this whole week leading up to my departure. I have done everything under the sun to prove to Mr. Oddo at the consulate that I am of italian descent and Alas I will be spending my last full morning on a train to hand in EVERYTHING to finalize my citizenship application. I was thinking about this process when I was eating lunch in Chicago with my parents (who insisted on coming with me), it is just a piece of paper. I told my mom on the train on the way back from the non-existent Mr. Oddo, "You know, it isn't a big deal mom. It is just something that I wanted but if it doesn't work out, No worries. Whatever will be, will be. I am not worried. I am American and lucky enough to be doing the things I am doing with my life, i.e. traveling, living in Italy, applying to be a citizen, these are all things that I pursued and all (except one) has come true. If you want something that bad, it will come in due time."

I am just a very grateful person and lucky to have people in my life are behind me all the way. Nothing like having that kind of support.

I also, during the well planned surprise, turned my car into the dealership that I bought it from 4 years prior. It was sad, but strangely enough as my dad and I drove away I had a very drunken/weak feeling. Like in some way, it was ok to let go of that car. Kind of when you come home from a night of drinking and you see your bed and say silently to yourself, 'I am so happy to see you again'. And crash onto that comfortable bed, with your blanket and stuffed cat nuzzled into your chest. :-) Yes I still have a stuffed cat, she was blessed by the pope. I am not ashamed of her. She has kept me safe so many moments in my life.

I was asked when I was getting ready to take my car in my mom said "why are you crying about your car and not about leaving me?" I said without hesitation, "Because I KNOW I am coming back." Yes, I am saying that now. Which makes me wonder what this year will unfold for me. Because when I left June 2005, I told my mom I don't know if I will come back. I wanted to stay there FOREVER!!!!! Who knows amici, famiglia, Nonna, Great Grandpa, Nana, Papa, Mom, Dad, Emmy, Jenny, Jay, Bry, Addy, I might meet the man of my dreams, and quit being myself, and just follow my italian all over the world......WAIT.......I AM SO SURE THAT WON'T HAPPEN, my luck isn't that good. :) And if you know me, I won't ever quit being myself and there is NO WAY I would follow a man. well....if he is cute, has gorgeous eyes, knows how to treat me....etc...perhaps I would take the plunge.

Basta....I am digressing.....I LOVE YOU ALL FOR BEING THERE FOR ME......you know who are!

a presto

28 December 2006

Success in driving stick

I drove stick shift with my friend Emmanuel tonight. IN TRAFFIC!!! I stalled at a stoplight about 4 times. Yea I was freaking out!!!! Emmanuel just told me to relax and listen to the car. Don't worry about the light or the 3 cars behind me. HAHA!! I got thru the light and the half hour I was in the car. Damn!! I asked him after I got back to my automatic car....How did you think I did?? He said "Like a pro, all you need to do now is practice. And it is good that you learned on a European car cuz this is what you will be driving." He was so helpful and wonderful to have let me use his car, correction his brother's car. I gave him a gas gift card for teaching me. HE is fabulous!!

I am glad I am learning this. It is a great thing to be able to try new things and feel successful in doing said things, i.e. driving stick shift. I believe it makes you stronger in the end. I really liked driving stick. It was so fun!! Once I got the hang of it.

The last days of packing and goodbyes. 5 days.....

23 December 2006

K is my favorite letter!

Well I told sognatrice that I would find words beginning with K, alas there aren't many words that start with K that I can think of. So I will use C as well. Ok with that?

1. Kindness- I received such a reception during my last week at my job. A co-worker, make me a cake of the Italian Flag and in the middle it said "Buona Fortuna Katie". I received a gift certificate worth way too much. I received so much kindness and support I am speechless. I was given a beautiful purse from a great friend who wanted me to carry her with her while I'm trekking thru Florentine streets. Never expected that reception at all....very memorable.

2.Cats-My cats have been constantly surrounding me lately. I have three in my house. 2 russian blue cats, Tascha(who is 99) and Carson(who weighs 200lbs) and also my mom's siamese kitten, Lilybillies(well that is my nickname for her). I think they know I'm leaving. Funny, the animals always know.

3. Kleenex-Just a friendly fact about me, I always need to have Kleenex with me. I have allergies and get the sniffles all the time and also near my bed at night. I also am obsessed with with moisturizer. Like face moisturizer.

4. Knowledge- It pays to know everything about becoming a citzen of Italy. I went to the consulate on Friday to hand in(one last time) all the documents Mr. Oddo would like to finalize my citizenship. Alas, one more thing Mr. Oddo forgot to mention to me, I need to translate all of the english documents. D'UH! And get the American birth certificates "apostile" by the Secretary of State. D'UH D'UH!!!! Long story short, I am going back next week before I leave.

5. Koala-My favorite animal when I was a child. Same with Kangaroos. Can you take a guess why??

6.Kumquat-A fun word to say.

7.Kudos-I am giving Kudos to my new friend Bec from Australia, who will be arriving in Firenze for the first time on January 5th and will be working as an au pair, just like me. Oh, and she is 19 years old. Very brave girl!! Can't wait to meet ya Bec!

8.Knickers- My knickers have been not fitting me too well these days. I have been doing Pilates for a year now and I feel I have finally lost all the weight from college and my boozing days as a "just 21 year old". So I need to buy some new knickers before I leave or hopefully I get a pair from Santa(crossing my fingers)!!

9. Kismet- This is a great word that means fate, destiny. I feel this represents my journey as a Italophile since 2002. Thank you Saint Mary's University in MN!!!!!!!!

10.Kiss-Oh "A kiss on the hand can be quite continental, but a diamonds are a girl's best friend" yes I love the Moulin Rouge soundtrack and periodically I break out in song. I love to sing! Back to the aforementioned word, I have been getting kiss after kiss after kiss after kiss after kiss after kiss after kiss after kiss from my dear MAMMA!!! I can't seem to get enough of them. As well as from my niece Addy, I come up to kiss her and she opens her mouth and starts sucking on my face as if I was my sisters titino. (as my Nana calls it) She makes me laugh smile, and happy, Addy and my MAMMA!!! I love you MAMMA!!!!!!!!

Well there you go, my list of K's and one C. HA! Yes I looked in the dictionary for the rest. Ok well I am going to get back to packing.

10 days and counting.....

18 December 2006


Here is a my bellissima niece!!! I don't know what I'm going to do not seeing and kissing her chubby soft cheeks everyday.

Thanks to Viaggiatore. I love this poem.


Fate happens
Sometimes unnoticed,
Many times unassuming,
Always for a reason.

It can be overwhelming,
With a rush,
Almost with tinge of hear.

It can be overlooked
With no thought,
All together a non-event.

It is real,
With unexpected consequences,
Never with full disclosure.

Fate happens,
We can see it or we can ignore it,
It changes our world,
It changes our lives.

I think this is such a great poem. I am getting more and more excited to go. Look at the picture of my niece, she is my favorite!! She will definitely make you smile. :-)

Life is too short. Live it up!

"The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting out aim too high and falling short; but in setting out aim too low, and achieving out mark."
-Michelangelo (Italian sculptor, painter, architect & poet, considered the creator of the Renaissance, 1475-1564)

Never look back, just keep pressing on.

17 December 2006

Driving stick shift....can stick ya.

Last night I drove around an empty parking lot with my new friend Emmanuel. Oh with his volkswagen,which is a stick shift. YES everyone, I have mastered the stick shift car!! (applause applause)

I will be meeting with him hopefully once or twice more so I can get real comfortable. Alas that is my current and rather easy goal when driving stick shift. I will then set a goal for me to be comfortable and safe in Italian traffic. EEEEEKKKKKKKK!!!!! Yes, as you can tell from my nervous 'EEEKKK' , I AM TERRIFIED!!! I think as long as I master it here, I shall be able to adjust, perhaps slowly, into Italian traffic. Well we will see I'm sure.

Today, we, Nana, Mom, Bryan, Emmy, Jen, Baby Addy, baked the annual breads. It has been a long tradition started by my Nana and my Mom right after she had my oldest sister Jen. We baked about 50 breads. And they are YUMMMY!!!! Success once again!!!

Also today, I had a buyer looking to buy my car. Yes I will be selling my 2002 blue cavalier to help my finances abroad. It made me think a lot today. I really love my car, she is just perfect for me. Then I started thinking about my family, my sisters, my bro, my mom, dad, jay, nana, papa, baby addy, and then I started to think.....should I leave?

OK WAIT A MINUTE KATIE......YOU CAN NOT START TALKING LIKE THIS. OH NO!!! I am such a sentimental baby girl. I don't know about the rest of you girls out there, but once I hit my mid 20s, everything makes me cry. Stupids Christmas commericals, tv shows, books, people confronting me on work and telling me its my fault, I am soooo f......king emotional all of the sudden. Ok not 'all of the sudden' I cried in college too for stupid reasons....whatever....back to my point.

Why is it that I cry about these things when in hindsight there is no point? My Mom says it is becuz you are growing up and that is what happens, you realize that you shouldn't take life for granted or family or anything. Makes sense right? Well then riddle me this, why didn't I cry once during my announcement to my Nana and Papa I was leaving for a year to live in Italy and be in another person's house taking care of their children??? I saw my mom balling her eyes out across the table, my nana next to her, and my dad and papa making jokes about them crying. But not once when I looked into my mother's eyes did I choke up. WHY???

I will finish this thought tomorrow I am super tired.

12 December 2006

Saying Goodbye and Benvenuto at the Same Time

Mike, one of the counselors that works in my office, said the sweetest thing to me today. It was his last day of the year because he is taking some time off to spend with his family, so this way the last day I had the pleasure of seeing him in the office. Greeting me with ever popular, "Hey Kiddo," I was sure going to miss him. He has a way with words. He is very wise and helpful whenever I needed a hand. He then informed he was thinking of me the other day. I was curious why he would be thinking about me. The lowly receptionist. HA! He explained to me about these videos his children used to watch that would take the children on the video to a different country like in a magic school bus. And the character would say at the beginning of the travel abroad, "LET'S GO TO ITALY!!!!!!!!!!!" So he thought of me. How nice huh? I can't believe how many people say "I thought of you last night, cuz there was a house on HGTV that was in Florence."

It is amazing the power of friends and the support of friends and family.

I also had another greeting of my fate the other day. A student came in talking about a class and mentioned subtley that she was going abroad. But she brushed by it, cuz she was had a question on a class. Like me, I bluntly asked where are going? She replied to the city. NO, I mean where abroad will you be?

She said she will visit her family in Russia and then venture to Florence, Italy for a semester. OK..this is about the 8th person that has come into the office to tell me that they are going to Florence!!!!!!!!!! THIS HAS TO BE FATE!!!!! MY NONNA AND GREAT GRANDPA ARE HOLDING UP A CAPTAIN OBVIOUS SIGN OVER MY HEAD RIGHT NOW AREN'T THEY???

She was just as surprised as I was, that I am going to the exact place she wants to study.

I think the stars about about to a line for me. Benvenuta la mia Firenze. I'm circling the neighborhood.

21 DAYS.....Firenze, I'm coming home.....

09 December 2006

Things are falling into place.

There have been many things happening to me the last few days. First, I found a car with a stick shift car to practice on. I will be meeting with a nice young man named Manuela who is friend's with Luisa, who works with me. I hope to be pro at driving stick this time next week. Wish me luck.

I got the sweetest email from Valentina this week. She is finally in her new home and now just trying to unpack all her 200 boxes. She is happy that she is FINALLY in her home. The girls were a little cranky not being in their own home. She let me know that my bedroom window, as well as hers, has a great view of the DUOMO!!! YES I SAID IT, the DUOMO!!! The most noticeable landmark in Firenze. I have a GREAT feeling about her. She makes me chuckle every time I read one of her emails. She seems to have my kind of sense of humor. :0)

I am getting more and more excited about my new found friends. You know who you are....my blogging friends. My friends that are either established, newcomers, and Italian. Everyday I count how many are left of my job. It is a job I should have left a long time ago, because of the troubles I am having now. Anyways, I am in complete content with my life. I am in control again. I am going to give this time abroad a serious look at a long term stay.

24 DAYS TIL BEL PAESE!!!!!!!!!

06 December 2006


I know that my life will change a bit when I get back to Firenze. But I know for sure that my family is the most important thing in my life. Yes friends come and go, but my family is always there. I know I will make more and more friends upon my arrival. Cuz that is just how I am, I LOVE LOVE LOVE meeting new people. I like to hear their stories, how they fell in love with italy, how they found themselves taking the plunge across the pond.

I love to know how being who I am has effected others way of thinking. Like for instance, my good friend Maggie. I met her back in Feb 2005. We were both in FLorence at the exact same time. AND we both are from Crystal Lake, IL. AND she played volleyball with my younger sister. AND we both have a weakness for Italian men. :-)

She and I became fast friends after that encounter. Once we were walking down the streets of Chicago and she said to me, "Katie, whenever you are around, I always see everything Italian!"

That is something special for me. Just to know that I am an influence on my friends and family that speaks the word "ITALY".

Back to family, I know it will be hard for them to see me go, but as I told my Mom last night: "When the Lord closes a door, somewhere He opens a window." From my governess, Julie Andrews. Don't worry Mom, I will be fine.

Love you!

01 December 2006

Everything I see is....Italia!

Everytime I turn on the travel channel to my favorite show, Passport to Europe with Samantha Brown, she is always in Italy. Last night she was in Milan, Florence, Rome, and this morning she was in Venice. Everyday I wake up I feel more and more drawn to Italy. I am very content with my decision, once again. I know that something is over the Atlantic, past Barcelona, streaming by Monaco, skiing down the Swiss Alps, and landing in the citta di Rinascimento that I left behind a part of my heart.

Yesterday I broke down at work, because no one helps me thru the busy time in the office. I am a receptionist in a very busy community college in my town of Crystal Lake. I just tried to keep everything in perspective while I was crying in my boss's office. I am completely honest with her and said, "I don't know how you will find someone to work these hours without help." The other receptionist always gets to leave early and im left at the front desk dealing with idiots students, that can't make decisions for themselves so they come and complain about their classes with advisors that are only supposed to help them with their academic plan, not register these somewhat adults for their OWN classes. This day and age teenagers are so damn lazy.

So pretty much I know that there will never be a time I will be in the position of a receptionist EVER! Oh if my Amici over the Ocean didn't know there is huge Snow Storm hitting the Midwest, mostly the Chicagoland area which brings me to say: A Snow Day,today, is very well deserved for me!! We have gotten already 15 in of snow and it is only 11am!!!!!!!!!! :-)


22 November 2006

Got the IDP....now practice!

I purchased the International Driving permit today. It took all of 10 min. I wish the citizenship process was just as fast. Now I need to find someone who has a stick shift car to practice on. Alas I have not found a kind soul to lend me their car to use. Any takers?????

41 DAYS BABY!!!!!!!!

20 November 2006

Going to keep looking....

I was just informed by a fellow Italophile that NY Literary Agency is not as reliable as I made myself think. I am going to keep looking around for the right publisher. Grazie Mille Michelle! I will write more when I have researched more.

19 November 2006

New York Literary Agency and IDP

I sent a portion of my manuscript to the New York Literary Agency this past week. I got a response back from them, that they received and it will take about 1-2 weeks for them to review it.

How it works is after the read it and accepted it as something they can sell. They will start giving it to different publishers to look at and see if they want to buy the book. I don't pay the NY literay a penny for doing this, Alas there is always a catch. Once they sell my manuscript to a publisher, they get 10% of the earnings I will receive from selling it initially. Not too bad. After that I will have my own publisher....how exciting huh???

Also in the news, I have filled out the application for AAA to get my International Driving Permit. I will need to get 2 passport sized pictures, $10 check, and my driver's license. Done and done! I will apply sometime this week.


08 November 2006

It's official!!!!

I have bought my ticket!!!!! I leave January 3rd!!! Here I come, Firenze!!!!!

06 November 2006

How does one begin to pack....

Valentina emailed me today and answered more of my questions. She is fabulous!!

Then I think to myself...WOW....is this really happening AGAIN!! Katie, can you do this?? Of course you can, why not? I need to experience life. But what about Addy, my adorable niece, im going to miss her. What about my Nana? I want to take her with me. No I can't Papa will miss her too much. Pack light kate. I can't pack like i did last summer. So much stuff I never wore. What if I just bring one bag?? HA, that is crazy talk. I am now packing for a whole year of different seasons. Geez, where does one begin?? I have no money to buy clothes, I have no money, period. HAHAHA!!! yea that does sound funny. I am a healthy American girl with no money and im moving overseas. HAHAHA!!!! Yes that is what is going on in my head right now!!

Jay, my brother in law, asked me tonight, "so you are only getting paid like 75 bucks a week?? I know you are going for the experience but shouldn't you get paid more." I informed him that I am going to be provided food and shelter in return. It is all about the experience. Definitely!

I am thinking and worrying way too much. Stop it Katie!!!

01 November 2006

The 1st of the year....

Will be when I arrive in Firenze, bella citta. My favorite citta!!! I am still looking for a good ticket. So I talked to Valentina da Firenze yesterday on the phone at 7:30am my time. She was very bubbly and funny. I felt a great feeling talking with her. We seem like a great match. She explained the duties I will have with the girls, Carolina e Maria. They are in the process of moving north of the city center, Piazza Liberta. I know that area well because that is one of the Piazzas the #7 bus goes around on its way down from Fiesole. Speaking of Fiesole, she owns a touring company in Fiesole. I told her how surreal that is because that is place and an experience I would love to do. Ever since coming back to the States, I have always thought how fabulous it would be to be a tour guide for small groups of tourists. I asked her if she could show me her business, and she said "Of course!" I am in complete heaven!!!

28 October 2006

I found a Family in FIRENZE!!!

Yes, the rumors are true. I found a family to work for and live with starting in January 07. I hope to be speaking with my new sister, Valentina, this weekend. Details to come....

23 October 2006

Moving would make it go faster...

I was just reading on Expats in Italy about how this woman and her husband have obtained citizenship by going to the comune his grandfather was born in. I read and read and read and READ how she (or should I say her husband) did it. I read people complaining about the consulates all over the States, how slow they were, how inconsiderate they were or are, how they were just not helpful, how they wouldn't stop this couple for obtaining a right of jure sanguis.

All this bitching got me thinking, if this whole citizenship thru the consulate doesn't work for me, what the hell, I will try this process. I will move to Montefiorino, my Nana and Great Grandfathers' hometown and apply with all my papers in hand.

It is so funny how this one guy on this forum was writing in an angry and frustrated tone how pissed he is with the consulate in Chicago and how he thought he will be screwed if he can't obtain citizenship here. Someone replied back, Just move there, that is what you plan on doing anyways.

He got really offended by that remark, Move? NOW!

When will it ever be the right time to follow your heart unless you just jump in head first. No need to get your panties in a bunch....just take the leap and go for it!

22 October 2006

Almost done....perhaps not...

Well...I almost have all the right paperwork for the good ole consulate, I mean Italia. My favorite place on earth. I am waiting for my Dad to get our certificates out of the safety deposit box, and I wrote to my Nana's home town to see if they can send me a similiar letter with proof she was born in Montefiorino just like Grandpa. Good news there.

As for my book, well, I am still technically working on it. Some have asked me to post a portion of it on my blog but alas, I feel it still needs more work. From the help my British amica, Giovanna. She has been proofreading for me and tells me I need to work on it just a bit more. (katie types in a british accent) :-)

I do want to start writing again. About my adventures going on at this moment, citizenship, finding a family in conjunction with being an au pair, and finally finding myself. I still feel there is a lot more to who I am. I suppose this past year being back in my hometown, in my childhood bedroom, in my parents house, amongst my siblings, and old photos, I must be ready to venture off again. Being around this safe environment of "Nana's house, being home at a decent time, not drinking heavily at the bars with friends, staying home on a friday AND saturday night to watch reruns of Law and Order:SVU with mom, blogging my way thru the weekend" seems to be leading me somewhere that encompasses me being in an unfamilar place. So I am able to challenge myself even farther than before. Why not huh? I think the things that are the most worthwhile is the things we are most afraid of. (isn't that a line in a movie?) So like I posted a few weeks before about Dr. John Poling, he once said to me:

"The royal road to achieving genuine satisfaction in life is going the bloodly hard way."

Words to live by.

15 October 2006

Sono finito con mia libro....

Not a lot of you know but I have written a book about my adventures of my summer in Firenze 2005. I got the idea to write about my life during that summer from my mother. She thought it would keep me busy while I was looking for a job once I returned to the States.

I would tell her all my adventures on the seaside and on my excursions to Roma with Em, she said why not just write a great book about all these wonderful experiences. Why not exactly?? So I did....I collaborated all my journal entries into a keepsake of the summer of a lifetime. I am now letting a few close friends read it to see what they think and then I shall start sending it off to some publishers. Who knows....I could be the next Frances Mayes....j/k. It would be fabulous though. To be a writer in the Tuscan hills outside of Firenze....ahhhhhh.....I'm dreaming of my gorgeous villa and my gorgeous counterpart of the Italian persuasion by my side.

Dreams can come true. Just ask me :-)

11 October 2006

Shot down again at the Consulate...

Luciano wants more. I am such an idiot. I need to get more birth and marriage certificates leading from my great grandparents to me. It is such a pain cuz I wanted to send these delicate documents back to my Great Zio Lorenzo back in London asap.


I don't know what to do next. I don't want to give up cuz I am just so frustrated. BUT I REFUSE TO GIVE UP!!!!!!

07 October 2006

I am Impressionistic....

You Are Impressionism

You think the world is quite beautiful, especially if you look at it in new and interesting ways.
You tend to focus on color and movement in art.
For you, seeing the big picture is much more important than recording every little detail.
You can find inspiration anywhere... especially from nature.

06 October 2006

Zio Lorenzo delivers...

In my possession now is the original documents of my great grandparents. How amazing is that??? I plan on taking another day off soon so I can scurry down to the consulate and show my friend Luciano Oddo. I am certain I am in now. I will write more later but right now I need to dry my hair for work.

Buona Giornata!!!

a presto ragazzi

26 September 2006

Zio Lorenzo to the Rescue...

Today, I received an email from my great Zio Lorenzo da Londra. He has agreed to send me the documents I need to hand in to the consulate to copy. WHOOOO HAAAAAA!!!!

If you didn't read my post on Amici Over the Ocean about my Friday visit to the consulate here is what happened:

I went there with the "replica's" of my great Grandparents birth certificates, it was notierized and everything. Luciano Oddo, consular agent, said I needed to get the original Original from my uncle in London.

So I emailed him and he has agreed to lend his great niece these precious documents. How lovely of my Zio??!!!

SO now you are all up to speed. Keep your fingers crossed and your Buona Fortuna's flowing my way!!!

Grazie mille ragazzi!!!

a presto

14 September 2006

Parliamo Italiano insieme

Nana and I went to an Italian language group Ieri sera. It was lovely seeing my Nana speaking her native lingua. SHE WAS SOOOOO HAPPY!!!! And that in return made me happy! The group consisted of a bunch of older people that seemed to be very well aquainted already. So we felt rather left out. Alas we did have a great conversation with a charming man named Gino and his sorella Julia. They were fabulous to talk to! Also there was a man that sat next to me named Niccola, who looked so familiar to me. He was very kind and warm. My greatest joy of the evening was to hear my Nana said, "I think I want to join that Italian language group in my community."

She loves to talk and be social just like me. That is probably why she is my best friend!

06 September 2006

La Mia Nonna certificato di nascita e qui!!!

I am almost there. I just have to travel to Chi-town to the consulate on Michigan Ave. I received Nonna's birth certificate yesterday among all the other Labor day mail. I am so excited!!! Hope everyone has a great day!!!


05 September 2006

My 2nd Collage

Here is my other Collage that is located right over my desk. I love looking at it.

a presto

04 September 2006

Collages: It helps me realize how close my dream is

Here is my favorite collages. I just finished it yesterday. I love looking at it. I know it is hard to read here but I love it! I have it hanging on my wall so I can see it everyday. The one with the saying is a collage facing me as a write this. I couldn't get a good picture of it because it is on a vertical bulletin board. I love this quote by my Professor of Philosophy, Dr. John Poling and also my great friend! Dream into Reality....exactly. I love that part of my collage. It is smack dab in the middle. Something I must keep reading over and over again. Nothing is impossible if my heart is set on it. Don't ever give up on what you truly want in life!!

Thanks John!

a presto

28 August 2006

Is everything planned in our lives???

I read an article in the newspaper yesterday about a friend of mine that was in a tragic car accident. The car in front of him drove over a piece and sheet metal and it was flung into his windshield and it struck him in the neck and head. Is our lives planned out?? Was there a no way he could've avoided this tragic accident?? Or was there a way or a choice he could've made that would've have changed the outcome?

I keep thinking that the choices I have made that have drawn me closer to Italy is all ME! NO ONE has directed my life in the way it has unfolded right now. However, my Nana was born in Italy and My Nonna (my Nana's mom), who always called me on birthday, as well, maybe my path was already decided for me because of my background. My Nana wanted to travel the world, she had my drive, but she got married young. My Nonna was an independent and never wanted to hear the word "no". She was driven just like me. She was selfish and always wanted attention. In many ways, Nana, Nonna, and I are sooooo similar. Was this path already made once I was born??

I know this is deep thinking, but I am curious if anyone else thinks like this.

I have decided that I am uncertain on whether our lives are planned or developed by us.

Now that I am in my mid-20s, I feel that I can't waste one day. I am constantly trying to find a way to live, thrive, and BE in Italy!

18 August 2006

SONO ZIA!!!!!!!!!!




09 August 2006

Where I have traveled.....

Your Travel Profile:

You Are Well Traveled in the Midwestern United States (50%)
You Are Somewhat Well Traveled in Southern Europe (40%)
You Are Somewhat Well Traveled in Western Europe (36%)
You Are Mostly Untraveled in the Southern United States (15%)
You Are Mostly Untraveled in the United Kingdom (13%)
You Are Untraveled in Africa (0%)
You Are Untraveled in Asia (0%)
You Are Untraveled in Australia (0%)
You Are Untraveled in Canada (0%)
You Are Untraveled in Eastern Europe (0%)
You Are Untraveled in Latin America (0%)
You Are Untraveled in New Zealand (0%)
You Are Untraveled in Scandinavia (0%)
You Are Untraveled in the Middle East (0%)
You Are Untraveled in the Northeastern United States (0%)
You Are Untraveled in the Western United States (0%)
I need to do some more traveling according to this survey.....who wants to go with me???

Anyone??? Anyone??

TOANO not Siena

I received a letter back from the Comune di Toano. The birthplace of my great grandma, Teresa Gazzotti. They informed me that I was an idiot. Ha! I put in the form letter that she was born in Siena because as I was copying the letter from expatsinitaly.com the letter was using Siena as the birthtown. So I sent another letter yesterday to the Signora Sindaco of the Comune with the correct town. Wish me luck once again. I read the letter thoroughly this time.

a presto

01 August 2006

Il Mio Nonno's Certificato di Nascita e qui!

I received my great grandpa's birth certificate in the mail yesterday!!! I was so excited that I forgot to write in my blog. Now I am waiting for my great grandma's and then I am heading back to the Consulate in Chicago. Thanks for all of the well wishes and kind thoughts from you all!!! I will keep you updated on the progress!!

A presto ragazzi!!

30 July 2006

Parlo Italiano....

I have been practicing my Italian by using the website LearnItalianpod.com. I really like it. I am able to comprehend the intermediate levels so I am now working on my pronouciation which was always a problem for me. I try to translate my thoughts into italian. Like when I think of decribing a person from afar... Lei e bella e grosso. OR something else. That isn't a fair statement. Ha! Yeah I wish I spoke it better. I try to listen to Nek, Jovanotti, and Negramaro. And I love there music so it is good. I hope once I get over there it will just hit me again, like I never left. I will pick up where I left off. Let's hope!!



I'm not sure if that is correct but what the hell.... :-)

28 July 2006

What Kind of Art Best Describes You??

You Are Best Described By...

Farbstudie Quadrate
By Wassily Kandinsky

19 July 2006

Thinking Positive....Being Proactive

That is my goal. I am saving all my money's from my small paying job and I am also applying at resturants to be a server. The fastest way to get cash is to be a server. I am not going to think of it as a bad thing and how I didn't like working at Rainforest Cafe before when I first left college. It is just a segway until I find a life that really challenges me and a life that I am striving for. A life in Italy! I am keeping my mind busy by working on projects, putting together collages of Italy, doing something that doesn't let me overanalyze my job right now. Ya know? I hope someone out there understands what I mean, if not it is ok. I just want to pass along the thought of just keep positive with a long term goal in mind. Let it be choosing a better job, finding a better exercise schedule, or in my case, moving to a different country.

As my wise professor and friend said to me once, "The royal road to achieving genuine satisfaction in life is going the bloody hard way". I LOVE LOVE LOVE this quote! Something to think about, because most people aren't happy with their jobs. What I say to these people is then do something about it to change your career or direction in life!! What are you waiting for??

Life is too short to waste it unhappily.

a presto

16 July 2006

I sent it!

Yesterday, I sent the letters to the Comune's of my great-grandparents to obtain their birth certificates. It took a while but I did it. The post office in my town didn't have the IRCs so I had to travel to another town. Well now we will wait and see if they will send me copies or the copies of the originals so I can go to the consulate and finalize this.

Cross your fingers for me!!

12 July 2006

Info on Interviewing in Italy

You want some tips on interviewing and the process, go to Emma Bird's blog. If you click on Emma's How to Italy under "blogs I like" on this page you are half way to meeting an amazing person. Emma is great friend of mine and also a great motivator for me. She is my constant support system when wanting to finalize my dream. Hope this helps all you Italian lovers out there.

The pictures above are of my friend Simone after Italy won the World Cup....How exciting huh??? Wish I was there Simo!!

a presto

09 July 2006



FORZA ITALIA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

FORZA AZZURRI!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

08 July 2006

Summer Reading, Applying for Citizenship, Weddings

I am reading a great book right now by a friend by the name of Dario Castagno. It is called A Day in Tuscany. It is superbly written and gives you a great laugh. I actually catch myself laughing out loud. His first book was the same way. Too Much Tuscan Sun, was a rollar coaster of weird and obsure tourists he catered around the Chianti. A must read and a touching story. I recommend reading both of these fabulous books. You won't regret it.

I am in the process of obtaining Italian citizenship, alas I am missing some papers that is over the pond to prove I am of Italian descent. I am writing letters to the Comune's of Toano and Montefiorino to ask them to send me authentic birth and marriage certificates of my great grandparents. I hope to send those out this next week.

I have a very good friend's wedding that is coming up in August. I bought a plane ticket to attend the wedding because driving these days is soooo expensive even when it is going from IL to MN. So then I started thinking about money. OK, now I am not by any means wealthy, but for some reason I feel that I should be able to fork over some spending money to attend this fabulous party. Alas I am also trying to save, save, save for my ticket over the pond, AND paying off my credit cards from the previous summer when I was in Firenze. So it all comes back to my job in which I don't get paid as much as I hope. THEN, I start telling myself well you need to quit then and find a better paying job, or get another job Katie. (Essentially I am a bit of a thinker and analyzer when it comes to my life choices), But who isn't. To calm myself down I think, My job is adequate and I like the people, I know what I am doing and I am learning and networking at the same time. Everyone in my office knows I am the Italian Fan. If anyone mentions Italy they ask, have you spoke to Katie? HAHA! Very nice! I have made a name for myself there. They will never forget me when I leave.

My money issues I think, well once I do get a job in Italy, I will be paid in Euro and then I can pay off my credit cards hopefully a little faster because of the exchange rate. And the most important thing is that I am Happy right now. I spend time with my Nana and Papa as much as I can, My sister is due in August with my first niece or nephew, and I am planning a life for myself that no one in my family has ever dream of. I am so driven and determined that I can't sleep. I am up late tonight cuz I just wanted to get this off my chest so I just put all these thoughts I randomly have into perspective. My life is just how it should be. All that stuff I mentioned above are things, things I will pay off and I will get a better job. None of it compares to a life being brought into this world in which he or she will have an awesome, Italian-speaking aunt, who will love it so much. (and will teach it all the Italian it's parents won't know) haha!

La Vita e Bellissima!!

04 July 2006




VIVA ITALIA!!!!!!!!!!






01 July 2006

Nana and I

My Nana is my best friend. We had our weekly chat by the pool today. I enjoy her company so much. She is the reason I am tied to Italia. She was born in a little town called Farnetta outside of Modena. She loves to reminise with me and describe the lunches her Mom and Aunt used to make for her when she very young. Nana smiles while telling me about all the fresh flowers her Mom grew all around her house. She says, "You are so much like my mother. You both love flowers and love to cook." In a way I am like you as well Nana. She is a terrific cook. Nana can make any pasta dish from memory. Let it be from her mother or a recipe her grandma used to make, she remembers it all. She hardly ever looks at her old recipes. I am so lucky to have my Nana in my life.

Today we talked more about my personal life. She says, "Katie, I married way too young, I am like you, I wish I could have experienced more and traveled more.
I was an adventurous girl but I couldn't do any of that after I got married. Oh to be young again!" She expresses with a smile.

Then she brings up my Italian beau, that I honestly can't get out of my head. I met him last summer while I was studying. I definitely felt the tingles when we hung out and I know we had a connection. A girl knows when a guy has feelings for her.

"You must go back and tell him". Nana says with a smile. "He needs to know."

Yeah except that my beau and I are both afraid of getting hurt and very stubborn. Not a good combination is it? I wonder who will make the first move......

27 June 2006

Is that English?

Your Linguistic Profile:
65% General American English
20% Upper Midwestern
5% Midwestern
5% Yankee
0% Dixie
What Kind of American English Do You Speak?

This is the type of English I speak, ever wondered what type of English you speak, click on the link.

A presto

26 June 2006

Bellino Totti

Even though I was torn between the two teams today, I am glad Totti put it away for the Italians. The Aussies are a great team and I can't wait to see them in the next World Cup.

Francesco Totti is great! Azzurri e perfetto!!!

Una Bacione!

22 June 2006

The Job is Mine

I got the job. Yeah for all that they gave it to me anyways. All the staff is happy that I am staying, which makes me feel good. So unless I find a job sooner, I will be with them until the end of December. I am patiently waiting to hear back from Emma to see if she picked me to come and work with her in Sardegna. Wishful thinking I'm pretty sure. I am not getting my hopes up because I bet there are plenty of others that applied.

14 June 2006

I am Confused

Today, I told my boss that I won't be able to stay as a receptionist. I just have too much drive to just sit around at a job that doesn't challenge me in a way I am striving for. Assuming I would not be with them next week, I told her that my temp agency has found me a job that starts next week. And her jaw dropped, and was like no we haven't even offered her the job. Who knows if she will accept it. OK. So the day before she pretty much told me that she found another person, making me think that she will start next week. BLAH! My tenative last day of work would be July 3rd. I was so ready to move on but apparently they thought I would reconsider and stay with them forever. What can you do?

No Job For ME

Today I am going to tell my job that "no I don't want to be a receptionist for the rest of my life". Yesterday my boss asked me to explain why I want to be a "free bird the rest of my life" cuz they believe that I am perfect for the position. She is like "you never stayed in Italy for very long, so is this a vacation you are thinking?" At that moment I was very irritated with her and how she could think that because I talked about italy for so long that it is a joke or something. So I told her I didn't feel comfortable talking about that right now. She told me that I would need to give her an answer today because they found a replacement for me.

I am going to tell her. I frantically looking for a job to start next week. Good news: I can leave a little earlier to Italy. I emailed all my au pair agencies yesterday to see if they could bump me up to leave October.

11 June 2006

What If...

What if I never went to Italy in the first place? I refuse to think of how my life would be if I never ventured.

I am in the process of getting my citizenship. I already applied but needed the original birth and death certificates of my great-grandparents. My great uncle Lorenzo is going back to their birth towns to get them for me. He is an amazing man. My Nana and her 3 brothers were born there and she hasn't been back in 53 years!!! She married an American. My Papa, no one else like him.

It is nice to have a special bond with her. She calls me her "true Italian granddaughter". I went to her pool this weekend and we had a great chat. Talking about life, love, and loss. She is so funny and my best friend. She knows more about my passion than anyone else. Alas I must not tell her yet I plan on moving there because she isn't too keen on me leaving,again.

She explains, "Wait til after I die, so I can watch over you."


Little does she know is that my cousin, Alina, and I are planning a trip for her to go back to meet up with her brothers in Lago di Como. Bravissma!!

10 June 2006

Focus Katie Focus

I realized today that I need to focus on my dream. I keep getting distracted by what my friends are doing. My younger sister got a job right out of college and will be get paid more than I got when I worked at Motorola. I am proud of her. But that is not me. I am not a corporate girl. I hated being under all those rules. I always broke the rules there. Mark and Terry know that very well.

I got a phone call from my great friend Maggie the other day, I was happy to hear from her. She told me "Katie just go to Italy now." I'm like, "I can't, I need to save more money."

She replied back "Don't give up, you will be there soon".

She is the only one I can talk about my dreams and she knows exactly how I feel. I met her back in February 2005 when I visited Florence for 2 weeks by myself. I stayed at the Villa Bonelli in Fiesole where I studied when I came in 2002. Bob, the director, was happy to see me and promptly invited me to the dinner that evening with the new students. I sat next to Bob and a few other students from SMU. As the started serving dinner to us, here flys in a dashing, gorgeous girl and sits right at the end of our table. She looked nothing like the Minnesotan students sitting before me. I had to ask. "What school are you from?"

"I go to Lewis University, outside of Chicago" she said smiling. "I am from Crystal Lake."

"Excuse me??!!" I said, wideyed. "I am too!"

"Really, what is your name?"

"Katie Greenaway."

"OH MY GOD, you are Emily's sister. I played volleyball with her!"

Since then we have been inseparable. She is a great confidence in my life. We have such a connection when we are together. She once told me, 'anytime I am around you, I see more Italian things than I would normally see.' We were walking downtown one day and she noticed this Italian sign that she never noticed before, and she walks down that street all the time. I am obsessed with anything and everything Italian. If there is a special on the Medici family on PBS my Dad knows to tell me.

a presto!

09 June 2006

Benvenuto to My Blog!!!

I decided to start this blog to chronicle my journey towards my dream, ITALIA!!! I hope I can meet some people and gain more knowledge of living in the the most enchanting country. Feel free to email me or comment on this wonderful blog.

A presto!