Expat in Italy–Irish in Umbria

The expat in Italy series is back for 2013.  My first expat is Kerry Waldron who lives in Umbria with her husband and two sons.

Kerry blogs at ‘Irish in Umbria’.  You can also find her on twitter.


What do I love about living in Italy

Life in any country, no matter how beautiful, can become ordinary by virtue of repetition. Occasionally the daily grind in Italy can eclipse everything else but not for long. What I love about living in Italy isn’t the fantastic food, the long, hot summers or even the abundance of inexpensive wine! It is a series a wonderful, unexpected moments which make up the last 12 years.

Three of the biggest events in my life took place in Italy. After our wedding in the cathedral in Arezzo we stepped out of the relative coolness into the dazzling August sun to be greeted by an effusive, diminutive Italian nonna who clasped my hands between hers and gave me affectionate kisses while she wished us the best. At least I think that’s what she was saying…



When the doctors presented me with my premature, emergency-airlift, newborn baby upside down, that was a pretty amazing moment. The arrival of my second child, though involving less helicopter rides, provided another of those powerful life-changing moments in Italy.

Other reminders of why I love living in Italy are less spectacular but nonetheless important. Italy regularly gives us fantastic opportunities we would never have experienced anywhere else. Like teaching Italians to do a jig on St. Patrick’s day (I’m not a freak, I’m Irish); helping a neighbour with their grape harvest or whipping up a frittata with fresh eggs and courgettes from the garden. Where else can you get paid in broccoli and chocolate cake? Or enjoy a glass of prosecco and plates of canapés for a fiver? What other country cares so much for children and food? Or football and food? Or wine and food? Basically anything with food.


Getting paid in broccoli

rugby in orvieto

rugby in Orvieto with snacks provided

My Italy is everyday life; driving, working, cooking, generally living. The background can become invisible with the minutiae of life so I sometimes lose sight of the fact that I am privileged to share this country and fortunate for the slightly unorthodox life it has afforded me. Here’s to the next series of strange and exciting moments to come! Grazie Italia!

  • LindyLou Mac

    Great interview with Kerry. 🙂

  • Ken Powell

    Love the bartering system. Can’t help wondering if the broccoli and chocolate cake were in the same transaction 🙂