Words by Pat Eggleton
Meet Chelsea Christensen, an American girl who moved to Italy for love. She blogs from Turin about the ups and downs of living in Europe under the name of “Italian Postcards” .
Chelsea, when and why did you move to Italy and why did you choose Pecetto [Piedmont]?
I moved to Italy because a handsome Italian man asked me to. How could I say “No”? I didn’t, however, choose the town of Pecetto. It chose me. My "mother-in-law" rented the apartment for us so Pecetto, which is about 30 minutes outside of Turin, was my first experience of life in Italy. It is also where I started my blog, hence the title. We have since moved away from there but because it is where I began my Italian life, for me, all roads lead to Pecetto.
Did it take you long to settle?
Settle? When does that happen?
Can you tell us about where you live?
We now live in the centre of the centre of Turin. It is the most exciting place to be in the city. Every morning I wake up to a view of Palazzo Madama in Piazza Castello.
It is so much fun to have a bird’s eye view from my window of the parades, festivals, markets and concerts happening in the piazza below. It makes for many good blog posts that I usually entitle, "What's Out My Window?" For example, only today the naked bike ride tour of Turin just whooshed by my window. That was a unique treat!
What do you love about where you live and is there anything that drives you crazy?
With our house being so centrally located, the city is really my oyster. The Roman ruins, castles, shopping, museums, and major piazze are all in walking distance for us. I love that. The only downside is that my neighbourhood is full of tourists, buses and the youth of Turin often staying up all hours of the night. It's a trade- off I can handle.
What do you miss about the US ?
I miss my favourite comfort foods. I miss Halloween and Thanksgiving. I miss a tranquil driving experience and I miss people getting my jokes as now they seem to get lost in translation.
Do you speak Italian?
I speak what I call "caveman Italian". It ends up sounding something like, "I.give.food.yes" but I know I'll get there.
Have any of your culinary tastes changed since you came to live in Italy?
I have a new found and very serious appreciation for the quality of food: the joy of spending hours tasting and choosing the best olive oil; learning how food is grown, made and processed before you eat it; the one-on-one feeling of buying food direct from the artisans and farmers. Italy has also opened my eyes to so many other foods that I never knew about before, such as zucchini flowers, white truffles, figs, and the world of cheeses!
At home, do you cook Italian food?
I love to cook. Family members have favoured me with their secret ragù recipes and I often try to copy things we have loved at restaurants. But the American in me still often comes out, making the food more "Italican".
Do you plan to stay in Italy?
I'll stay for as long as they will have me...until I wear out my welcome.
What advice would you give to someone planning to move to Italy?
Nothing I could say would really prepare you for life in Italy and you'll understand what I mean when you get here. I will say this: before you come take some language lessons, say goodbye to your tumble-dryer, start honking your car horn a lot and pretend that there is no parking lot. Don't go anywhere between the hours of 12:30 to 3:30, and of course read my blog.
That should prepare people well! When and why did you start blogging?
I clearly remember the day I started blogging because it was the same day that I got my first Italian car,a Fiat 600. I thought, "I'm going to go to beautiful places in my new Italian machine and I'll take loads of pictures and share my adventures on a blog. If I am lucky my family will read it."
What do you blog about?
I blog about things that make me laugh! Trust me, life in Italy is funny.
Who reads your blog - mostly Americans / British people or a mixture of readers?
Italophiles of all genders, ages and cultures.
What has blogging given you?
A creative outlet; friends, some whom I've met in real life; a way to stay in touch with my friends and family who are scattered all over the world. I love that when they want to know what we are doing, they can just log on and find out, any time, day or night.
All your blog posts are interesting but can you recommend one or two especially for Italy Magazine readers?
Some of my favorites:
The Ultimate Marathon
Motown in Italian (with audio)
Street performers (with video)
Happy blogging, Chelsea and thank you for talking to Italy Magazine.