Time to change my underwear

Unpacking in our new apartmentHow often do you guys change your underwear? My mother would expect the answer to be “every day”. I guess she’d be appalled to know that I’ve finally just changed my underwear again after a little more than seven and a half years. About time, huh? ;-)

Ok, ok, I’m not talking about real underwear, and if you thought I was then I’m pissed at you for thinking so low of me (although sometimes I do skip a day … or two … sorry Mom!). I’m speaking in the metaphorical sense. I mean “changing underwear” as “stepping into a new culture“. My very first blog post initially talked about this (and sort of explained the title of the entire blog). I think it’s kind of a cool way of thinking about it, though if you asked me for some riveting story behind how I came up with that metaphor, then you’d be sorely disappointed. I was just brainstorming for a name for my blog and happened to have my own pair of stars and stripes undies and a pair of Italian boxer-briefs that I had bought to take home to my brother as a Christmas gift. I thought to myself “well, it’s certainly more fun than taking a picture of myself with two flags”, and there you have it. A blog was born! But I digress…

My original blog banner ... it's gonna have to be reworked now

My original blog banner … it’s gonna have to be reworked now

Crazy but true. After all these years I’m leaving Italy. Actually, I’ve already left. As a matter of fact, I’m writing this directly from our new apartment in Zürich, Switzerland!Zürich Map

What happened? Did I get sick of Italy? Certainly not! I love Italy very much and it will always have a special place in my heart. What happened is that my boyfriend got relocated for work. I’m always up for new adventures (that and the fact that we’re in love and want to stay together). So here I am in the land of chocolate, skiing, and fondue.

What does this mean for the blog and for you, dear blog readers? It only means more exciting stuff! The blog shall go on! It’s going to have to undergo some restyling graphically and in terms of its set-up, but we’ve come too far now to just let it fall into online obscurity! I’ll still be writing about life and experiences in Italy because I’ve still got lots to say about it. However, there will also be posts on life in Switzerland as well. Bonus! I’m also going to try and add a German Phrasebook to the Italian one, but you guys have to give me a bit of time with that one. I mean, I’m just beginning to learn German myself!

Thumbs UpAnyways, I want to thank all of you for your support, comments, and inspiration. I need to ask you for a bit of patience these days as I get my life sorted out and settled into Switzerland. I promise that I have not forgotten about you and there is definitely good stuff on its way.

I’ve had a litte more than seven and a half great years in Italy. I’ve fallen in love, made amazing friends, experienced and learned so much, and had a ton of laughs along the way. Grazie Italia. Grazie di tutto!

Now, let’s get into this new pair of underwear and see what it has in store for us!Swiss Underwear

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Instagram Addiction

Instagram ItaliaRagazzi, I have to tell you something. I’m addicted to Instagram. I first hinted at my addiction in a previous blog post, but now I think it’s full blown! I need help! I feel compelled to photograph everything I see, play around with filters and frames, and share them with the world. I think I’ve even gotten to the point where I actually consider myself a real photographer – one of the last symptoms of somebody with this type of addiction.

This addiction, unlike many others, does have a positive side to it: you guys get to see a bunch of pictures of Italy! So, revel in my dependency and enjoy the photo gallery!

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A whole year of blogging!

Today marks one year since I started my blog! Yay! (Cheering! Confetti! Expensive gifts!)

It’s been a fun and fulfilling experience thus far and I hope you guys look forward to more, because I know I sure do!

My first year blogging has seen me tackle the tough issues from Italian hand gestures, cinema, and Halloween, to Italian driving, supermarkets, and bidets. I delve in deep so you don’t have to! ;-)

Some of you readers have been following me for a good year now, some of you are newer, and some of you just stumbled upon my blog while Google searching for “gay Halloween pizza”. (It’s true! My blog stats once showed that somebody arrived at my blog by searching for that term … I wonder what the heck they hoped to find…).

Anyways, I wanted to open it up to you guys for a minute. Any suggestions, ideas, requests that you would like to see on this blog? Leave me a comment below! Remember though that all topics have to relate somehow to Italy or my experience as “an Americano guy living in Italia” …. also, I won’t get naked on this blog, so don’t waste your time asking!

Thanks to all of you readers! It’s been a great blogging year!

- Garrett

To see where it all began, click here: FIRST BLOG ENTRY EVER!

Ottobre*

* (that means “October” in Italian)

It’s my absolute favorite month for many reasons! Here are the top ones:

  • Halloween
  • my birthday
  • cold “snuggle” weather that’s not quite as bone-chilling as winter

Luckily, I can enjoy these three things living in Italy just as much as I did when I lived in America. There are, however, some things that I really do miss about being in America, especially in New England, during the month of October.

This year in Italy we had the warmest September in the last 150 years. It’s true! If you don’t believe me check out the story from the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera. It’s in Italian though, so if you don’t speak Italian, you’re just going to have to go ahead and trust me on this one. Anyways, it was crazily warm here! I was going around in shorts and sleeping with the windows open until about two weeks ago. Even though this year was warmer than usual, autumn in general is less chilly than in Boston. I’m not sure if it’s because of the warmer temperature or different types of trees between The USA and Italy or even a combo of the both, but leaves here don’t put on that same spectacular show of changing into beautiful shades of red, yellow, and orange like they do in Massachusetts. The leaves in Italy seem to go from green to brown overnight and then just drop to the ground without any fanfare. The leaves changing color is something that I really miss! Not only because it’s always cool to see, but because it was also a sort of “signal” for me that October was here and that my two favorite holidays are coming up. (Yes, I consider my birthday a private holiday).

Another thing that I really miss is cinnamon flavored Dunkin’ Donuts coffee, candy apples, and pumpkin spice anything (latte, cookie, pancakes …). I love all autumny-spiced foods!  Every time I see an American friend’s Facebook status say something like “Having a hot pumpkin chai! Yum!” or see a picture they posted of them and their boyfriend/girlfriend making candy apples from the apples that they went and picked that weekend, I always think “That must be fun … insensitive jerk!”.

That said, there are some things that Italian October offers that American October doesn’t. One main thing, as I talked about in last year’s Halloween blog post, is the fact that the day after Halloween is a national holiday here, so you always have the day afterwards to rest up after your crazy Halloween party. Another thing is that you can find pumpkin ravioli and fried pumpkin flowers, which are both really delicious. Also, many small mountain towns in Italy have festivals in October where you can spend the day in the mountains wine-tasting and eating warm polenta. In fact, this year I went with my boyfriend and a couple of our friends to Morbegno for a fun wine-tasting where you get to go right into the cellars and sample the local wine accompanied by some brown breads and cheeses.

fried pumpkin flowers

So, it’s not a complete loss. There are plenty of ways to celebrate October right here in Italy, and fried pumpkin flowers are almost good enough to forget about the leaves not changing colors!

Italy thruough my eyes … or, rather, iPhone

There’s this new social network that I am totally addicted to! It’s called Instagram, and it’s amazing!

It’s an application for the iPhone where you can take pictures directly with your phone, play around with different filters and effects to make them look all cool and artsy, and then upload them directly to your Instagram account.

Being that I currently live in Italy, I’ve been using this application to document my life here. From my bathroom, to the train ride home from work, to the graffiti on my street corner – everything looks more picturesque with Instagram.

My username for Instagram is @ratpix, or you can follow me on Twitter because I post all my Instagram photos there too. My Twitter name is @GarrettMcK, and you should have already been following me anyways! :-P

For those of you who aren’t into social networks or aren’t iPhone users, I’ve created a slideshow here below of some of my Instagram photos, this way you can have some insight into my version of life in Italy. Enjoy!

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Uh oh, here comes the paparazzi!

Over here! Garrett, over here!!!

Great news! Blogexpat.com published my interview! It’s all about my life as an expat and my blog!

I won’t repeat everything here, so why not go and check out my interview!

I am SO famous now! I’m gonna have to go around with big, dark, Dolce & Gabbana sunglasses on to hide my identity and “pencil in” my friends on my busy celebrity calendar.

Well… a boy can dream, can’t he? ;-)

Thanks for all the blog support you guys!!!

Somethin’ Fishy Is Going On

Hey guys! I just wanted to thank all my blog readers for following my adventures during these last 5 months.

Unfortunately, I won’t be writing anything else. My blog is being taken offline. Apparently the “powers that be” have a problem with an outgoing American living in Italy and writing a blog about his thoughts, ideas, interests, and observations.

Time to wrap it up kids!

So, this is it. It’s been fun, but now I gotta run.

Best,

Garrett

APRIL FISH!

I’m just kidding! I love keeping up my blog and I have no intention of quitting now! You can’t get rid of me that easily! :-P

Today, being April 1st, is April Fish day in Italy! It’s like April Fool’s day in the USA… ‘cept for with fish… and in Italy…

Nobody is really sure where Pesce d’Aprile (April Fish) originally got started (or at least none of the sources that I found on the internet could explain why!).

All I know is that you’re supposed to play pranks on people, so I chose you guys!

Pesce d’Aprile

I’ll be back soon with some more underwear changin’, don’t you worry!

A moment of reflection. No mirror required!

I originally started my blog after (finally) realizing the potential of the internet for serving as a way that I could keep my day job in an office, yet still have some creative outlet where I was free to express myself. The satisfaction has been great and blogging has definitely become my new hobby. I really enjoy putting my ideas down and then seeing what the reaction will be. I mean, I’ve always loved being the center of attention and have always believed that each and every word I utter is important and should be heard by as many people as possible! :-P I’m totally just kidding! (no, I’m not…)

I like checking out your comments and I’m constantly keeping an eye on my blog to see how many people have visited it, where they came from, how they found it, and what they liked about it. Blogging has proved to be a great way to share my thoughts and interact with my adoring public. You guys are adoring, aren’t you?

If you enjoy my blog as much as I do, then you can become a fan of it on Facebook! It’s one way that you can stay up to date on what’s going on with A Change of Underwear (as well as subscribing by clicking the “Follow Garrett” button on the right hand side on the page!). Probably, the best thing to do is stare at the image below for 1 minute, repeating “I will follow Garrett’s blog. Garrett’s blog enriches my life”.

Subscribe! SUBSCRIBE!

I’ll be back soon with some more adventures of an Americano guy living in Italia! In the meantime, why not tell me what Italian hand gesture you would like to see on this blog? Just click on your preference below. The most-voted-for hand gesture will be featured in my next video, so get votin’!

My blog – 2010 in review

Happy 2011 everybody!

I’ve been real busy lately, hence my blog not having its weekly(ish) blog post recently. Since I love all my blog readers, I figured I had some ‘splainin’ to do! So, here’s my excuse (and try not to get too jealous!) ;-)

It all started when I quit my current job right before the holidays. Then I spent 2 and a half wonderful weeks in California with my family for Christmas (who, since I went to Morocco this summer as opposed to home, I hadn’t seen since last Christmas!) Then I flew back to Italy and had my lovely New Year’s weekend in Südtirol in the Italian mountains with my boyfriend and some of our friends. These days I have been working my last few stints at my old job. Then, this weekend I’m off to Amsterdam with my boyfriend. Back on Sunday and start my new job on Monday! WHEW!

Needless to say, it’s been an exciting and busy time for me!

WordPress sent me this nice e-mail summary on how my blog went in 2010 (remember now, it kicked off at the end of October 2010). I thought the stats were interesting, and plus it gave me some easy material for a blog “fluff piece” being that I wanted to reach out to you, dear readers, but am still really busy these days.

That being said, here below is my blog in review for 2010. My blog has given me a lot of satisfaction, and I look forward to writing a heck of a lot more in 2011. Thanks for coming along for the ride guys!

WordPress e-mail summary:

The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Wow.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 2,300 times in 2010. That’s about 6 full 747s.

In 2010, there were 13 new posts, not bad for the first year! There were 77 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 27mb. That’s about 1 picture per week.

The busiest day of the year was December 1st with 137 views. The most popular post that day was Italian streets of fury.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were facebook.com, twitter.com, blogfromitaly.com, italytutto.com, and blogexpat.com.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for cleopatra, panettone, bidet, lady gaga nun, and metro milano.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.

1

Italian streets of fury December 2010
15 comments

2

About October 2010
3 comments

3

Italian Phrasebook October 2010
7 comments

4

Is this seat free? November 2010
13 comments

5

First Ever Blog Entry! October 2010
7 comments

Changing into a new pair of underwear

Hi guys! This is my first blog post EVER (nervous!). Here we go!

I”m originally from Boston, but have now been living and working in Italy for 5 years. Five years seem like a long time to me… maybe that’s because it is. In order to get my head around it, I tend to define 5 years as “even longer then all of college put together!”

Originally, I came here for a 1 year adventure – for the experience. However, after my first year, I felt in my heart that my experience wasn’t over yet, so I came back for year two. During my second year, I met I fell in love with a really special guy, and so… here I am 5 years later!

During my 5 years in Italy I have finally found love (kiss kiss), made many good friends (both Italian and foreign), changed cities (from Bologna to Milano), changed jobs (from English teacher to relocation coordinator to PR and translating), improved my Italian, come out of the damn closet (whew), lost weight, gained weight, lost weight (I still weigh a good deal less than I did when I lived in America full-time), learned to cook some really killer plates (even if I tend to use a bit more butter in my cooking than most Italians can appreciate), and really grown into an adult (sort of …. the plastic Ninja Turtles figures that I have managed to convince my boyfriend to let me keep in our little apartment would say otherwise).

So, Garrett, why did you decide to start a blog? What have you got to say?

Well, I feel “100% Garrett” when I am making people laugh, sharing my opinion, soap boxing, and being the (much deserved, in my humble opinion) center of attention. I’ve come to realize that even if I don’t ever become a world-famous blogger (probable), this space can be a way for me to vent my creativity and share my thoughts with the world (or at least those 5 or 6 friends of mine who I can blackmail into following my blog).

I’m changing into a new pair of underwear. Let’s hope they’re at least clean (and if they make my package look bigger, all the better)!

Ciao,

Garrett