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!