Finding Out I Did Have Covid-19 After All

It’s fascinating how one little decision can have lots of repercussions and create so many “what if?” questions. Last week, my husband and I went for two of the 50,000 free serological (antibody) tests that Bergamo’s local government is offering to its citizens between 15th June and 15th July. So far it has been reported…

Getting Married in Lombardy Post-Lockdown

Wedding rings – check! Dress – check! Face masks – check! Hand sanitiser – check! I couldn’t help but smile at this strange “new normal” checklist as I laid out my wedding gear in the spare room. Today, my partner and I tied the knot in our beloved Bergamo. Finally, after a rollercoaster journey, I…

Reflecting on Remote Teaching Throughout the Pandemic

Remote teaching has been a whirlwind of an experience! Back in February, we naively thought schools here in northern Italy were going to close merely for a week. This morning, I’m about to face into week 16 of distance learning! It has been a learning curve for everybody involved. At times, it has been challenging…

Today should have been our wedding day

As I write this, a photo of my grandparents cutting their wedding cake sits opposite me. The photo was taken on this day 65 years ago. I brought this photo back (home) to Italy from Ireland (home home) just three days before Italy announced its first anti-coronavirus measures. Today, on my late grandparents’ 65th wedding…

Life After Lockdown in Italy: 20 Days In

We made it! After over two months of being confined to our homes (with the exception of going to the pharmacy and supermarket or working as an essential worker), the Italian government has lifted the lockdown. This country looks like a whole other place than it did 20 days ago. I have very mixed feelings…

Living Through A Pandemic in a Second Language

Throughout my time here in Italy, the context-bound vocabulary I have learned in clusters tells a story. First it was gelato, pizza and “con ghiaccio” (with ice) when holidaying here as a teenager. On my more serious ventures, working in summer camps, I’ll never forget hearing “Basta!” (Enough! Stop!) from a pre-teen who did not…

Covid-19: Is there more comfort in knowing what to expect?

Let’s begin with a brief update. The school where I work has now been closed for 10 weeks and we have been providing remote learning since the very beginning. “Full lockdown” has been in place here in Italy for 8 weeks. For the past two months, we have been stuck in our homes, only able…

Will Virtual Nights Out Continue Long After Covid-19?

“This is so nice! Why have we never done this before?” I mused on a group Whatsapp call way back in the early days of the Covid-19 crisis. This was just as Ireland was beginning to take measures to reduce the spread of the coronavirus and “staying in is the new going out” had not…

Italy’s Changing Attitudes in Phase 1 of the Pandemic

How did we get here? Shortly before schools in Italy were shut down to tackle the coronavirus pandemic, the children in my class were making comments about the virus. They had heard about the dire situation in China on the news and these 8 year olds were voicing their fears and excitement about the drama…

Finding the Calm in Covid-19 Times

I’m sure you too have been bombarded with two waves of internet advice directed at those fortunate to get to stay at home during this coronavirus pandemic. The first wave was telling us to use this time wisely, that we’ve been granted a pause button for real life and that we could finally do all…

Expat Advantage in Facing a Crisis?

I had a very interesting discussion with a fellow expat recently. We have both been asked a lot if it is hard being so far away from our families in a time like this. Of course, it’s always strange being away from your native country, especially if you still have family and friends there. You’ll…

Easter in Italy: Before and During Lockdown

Over my 8 years living in Italy, I’ve spent half of my Easters here and half in Ireland. The experiences of Easter here have varied hugely. The first one was incredibly lonely. It was planned to be a sunny weekend showing my friend from home around my adopted city. However, circumstances made it play out…