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Living and Working Italian Style - My Life Now

January 06, 2015

When you have a lot of balls in the air, one is eventually bound to drop .... mine is writing for our blog.  I feel as though the final months of 2014 was a landslide of multi-tasking, problem solving, and juggling way too many things on two different continents.  "La dolce vita" doesn't come handed on a plate gratuitously.  The life we have is the one we not only work towards, but one we choose.   So I find myself going back to some extremely simple advice our Italian friends gave us when we first moved to Italy nearly three years ago.  "Piano, piano" .... a popular and frequent phrase in Italy. It means go slowly, take it easy ... have patience.  When I hear this, a burden is lifted as I am given the permission to stop, listen, and take it all in. Patience is becoming harder to teach to our youth since technology puts tremendous information and opportunity at their fingertips.  The immediacy of technology can often create unwanted anxiety and heightened stress that usually ends up being unnecessary.  People scramble to get to the top, knock off the current leader, and then fill schedules that overflow with events, activities and goals.  Is this a good kind of busy? Are we enjoying it and appreciating the moment?  The photo to the right is the veranda where I sit and relax when the weather permits.  I slow everything down and reflect on what is important at the very moment.  At the start of 2015 many people make resolutions and place a deadline that they can accomplish this wish, desire or change within a year.  Well, from my experience, I encourage you to give yourself more time, if not, even several years to fulfill your goal.  Patience.  It was the year 2010 when we first initiated purchasing a home in Italy and the summer of 2012 when we took a 5-month sabbatical that is still going nearly three years later.  Let me tell you, if you want to change your life, give yourself a break .... it may take longer than you think.  My life now does not resemble my life before in many ways.  So, when someone asks me, what's different about your life in Italy and how has it changed?  The following comments are a few indicators in how I may answer that question ... "You know your life has changed when ........"

Your favorite thing to do is the laundry.   Nothing beats a warm, sunny day overlooking the Adriatic Sea .. clothes hanging in the sun with a gentle breeze against a medieval wall.                                                 

You consider it "brutto tempo" ... Bad weather .... After three days of rain when you’ve lived your entire life in Oregon where it's not uncommon to have rain for weeks on end.

You complain about traffic when it took you 15 minutes to get home when it usually takes five on the two lane state street in your Italian beach town.

You are no longer confused when the sun is rising over the sea instead of setting.

You don't think twice about driving down the wrong way on a one-way street or the opposite side of the road to get a parking spot.

You do not have to pay for parking during lunchtime because the parking meter attendants are at .....lunch!

Your doctor makes house calls and he texts you when he's running late.

You go Christmas shopping midweek right before Christmas and the mall is nearly empty.

You go on vacation with a village (it's a small village), on a bus, and spend an entire week together eating, skiing, sightseeing!

You are having teacher conferences in a foreign language and then realizing your son needs to get better at his English because he's now correcting you in Italian and forgetting words in English.  Dang it!

You are singing in a choir with classically trained singers who volunteer their time, practicing in a 900 year old church, in a medieval village, every week to learn songs in Latin, Italian, French and even a little English.

You need to tell your spouse that you prefer they keep the speed at 90 instead of 100 mph while driving on the autostrada.

Lastly, I knew my life had really changed when we returned home after a European vacation and "home" is in a villa overlooking the Adriatic.


I feel lucky to have the opportunity to keep moving forward and exploring a different type of life.  But I feel exceptionally fortunate to share it with my husband and our children .... and that together we have faced all kinds of challenges that have been scary and frustrating, but we have experienced a life that is unique.  I am personally grateful to have the opportunity to broaden our knowledge of various cultures and the world.  You realize you are so small in this great world, but wherever you go, you make an impact.  It has given us wonderful lessons in humility, empathy and awareness that we are all one .... human.

2015 .... Here we come ... "piano, piano" .... I want to continue to take it all in.  Follow us on Facebook for pretty photos, recipe inspiration, and Casal Cristiana Italian Extra Virgin Olive Oil news.  Sign up for our monthly newsletter on this website for special offers and announcements.  We continue to be energized by individuals far and near who have great enthusiasm about our new life, adventure and business.  Join us at the FoodWorx Conference in Portland, Oregon on February 7th where Michel will be video conferencing "Live from Italy" to discuss labeling challenging for extra virgin olive oil from an international viewpoint and to continue to bridge our past heritage to the present.  And if you haven't purchased your Viva Verde Membership yet, the time is now!

Casal Cristiana Italian Extra Virgin Olive Oil flavor characteristics are distinct not only because of the olive varietal selected but most importantly due to the quality of the soil, air, water and farming practices.  With optimum conditions, quality and flavorful fruit is cultivated and in turn produces a wonderfully buttery and aromatic extra virgin olive oil.  Try ours and sign up for our Viva Verde club for the 2014 harvest at


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