This Week in New York City

If I haven’t said it before, never in my life did I imagine New York City to be on the map of “places I’ve lived”, but it indeed happened, and I’ve been making the most out of it since my husband and I moved here unexpectedly over a year ago! Although the city can be very busy, loud, and quite overwhelming for me at times, I have been trying to embrace this change by using my camera (or I should say more recently my phone camera) as much as I can to capture the things that make it so great.

While there are those iconic shots that first come to mind like the Statue of Liberty, Times Square, or even one of my favorites, the expansive skyline as seen from the DUMBO waterfront; I have found that what has captivated me most in the short time I’ve called myself a New York transplant, is the simple moments of beauty that stand out in the hustle and bustle of my daily life. Whether it be on a quick walk to the Union Square Greenmarket during my lunch break, from my ride home on the Q train, or on my evening walk with the pup; I have been challenging myself to step out of my day-to-day routine to capture moments that inspire me and that I otherwise take for granted.

Similar to Kate’s recent post on finding a #quietmomentinrome, I will be sharing a series of simple and inspiring moments from my daily life as a New York City resident. Here’s a look into what inspired me this past week:

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Chinatown at sunset as seen passing by from the Q Train.

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Baby heirloom tomatoes from Cortelyou Greenmarket in Brooklyn.

This girl walked by me on 3rd Avenue while on my way to work one morning. I really loved her style.

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Cotton candy skies from an evening walk with the pup in our Brooklyn neighborhood.

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xo,

Jamie

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Capri on a Budget

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Capri, the island once home to Emperor Caesar Augustus’ summer home now inhabited by socialites in villas. It really is a special place with colors so vibrant it almost doesn’t seem real.

We visited Capri in early March, before the summer rush of tourists coming to get a glimpse of the famous Faraglioni peaks. Visiting Capri before the hoards of tourists means no lines to get onto the chairlift up to Mount Solaro and plenty of time to shoot the Mediterranean breeze with the locals. Continue reading

Visiting Switzerland

Switzerland is stunning. If you were to hold your hands out and make frame shape with your fingers and look anywhere, you’d have yourself a postcard perfect shot.
No exaggeration.

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We took a short train ride from Rome, Italy to Brig, Switzerland for the new year. This three day trip was spur of the moment and since Anthony rarely gets three days off in a row we jumped at the chance to visit someplace new. These last-minute kinds of trips are my favorite though with no itinerary or schedule to follow. This meant some of the things we saw like the Aletsch Glacier, were a delightful surprise, but some things we ran into, like a 33 dollar burrito stopped us in our tracks!

I wanted to share some of my experiences so if you are planning a trip to Switzerland you will not be as sticker shocked as I was.

Staying in Brig

Brig is a sleepy little village and one of the first large train stops in Switzerland from Italy. It was a great home base for our day trips. A few miles up the road is the Brigerbad Thermal Spa. A pass was 24 Swiss Franks for a 3 hour visit. This, for us, was just enough time to get thoroughly relaxed but not too long that we got bored. Totally worth the visit if you are passing through the area. FYI: this spa does not provide towels and you must either rent one for 5 Swiss Franks at the front desk or bring your own (something we learned after taking a dip in the pool).

I totally recommend staying in Brig if you are in Switzerland for a short time. Between the trip up to see the glacier, visiting the castle in town, and hopping on a bus to see the nearby traditional village known for its saffron, it really is a great home base for day trips.

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Brig’s Castle AKA the Stockalper Palace

A huge cost saver for us was that our hotel had breakfast included. Food is ridiculously expensive in Switzerland. I had no idea how anyone could afford to live here until I read this blog post which gave me a little better idea. While most of our budget went toward eating, having a breakfast included at the hotel and bringing snacks with us on our outings helped a little.

Visiting the Aletsch Glacier

This day trip from Brig is inexpensive and full of amazing views. From Brig, we hopped on the train headed to Morel. This trip was about 20 Swiss Franks a person and included one of the two gondola rides. This was definitely the biggest gondolas I have ever been on, but I wasn’t a bit nervous because the sweeping views were all I could think about.

We spent a little time in the resort area after the gondola ride taking pictures and people watching. From here we took the Gletscherbahn Moosfluh (gazoontite!) gondola to the glacier. This was less than 10 Swiss Franks a person, roundtrip. In total we were a little over 7,000 feet above sea level! As soon as you step off the gondola the glacier is right there. We just sat on the bench and looked at this wonderment hardly able to take it all in. After a little while the fog started to roll in and it began to snow so we stopped into the little cafe next to the lift to warm up. The girl working spoke a little English and told us on clearer days you can see the Matterhorn from where we were!


Switzerland is a beautiful country and the people are so kind. Definitely put it on your bucket list, and I recommend Brig as a great stopping point.

xoxo,

Kate

 

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Allora, Andiamo

I am so excited to share this with you guys! My husband, Anthony, and I are starting a new vlog series about the different adventures we take and things we learn while we are living abroad. We’ve decided to call it “Allora, Andiamo” which is Italian for “then, we go”. Although we have only been abroad for a few weeks we have heard this phrase about a thousand times and thought it was fitting for our new vlog series.
The first video we have posted is our trip west to Wyoming and the Badlands. We took this trip soon after we minimized our belongings and packed up the rest to store at my Mom’s house in Wyoming while we got ready to move to Italy. Our trip was two weeks long and we saw some amazing things. I must admit that the Badlands is one of my favorite places in the world, it is eerily quiet and the vast views are so awe inspiring. It was great to see some of my family and have some downtime before our big move. We are so excited to be starting this new vlog series so we can look back on our travels for years to come (not to mention share them with all of you)! Hopefully you enjoy watching our first allora, andiamo video as much as we enjoyed making it!

How crazy is it that both Jamie and I both moved in the same month?! Our Sweet Somewhere is really taking on a new meaning this year, that’s for sure.

xoxo,
Kate

Moving Abroad Requires So Much Paperwork

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I apologize now for the potential boringness of this post. The thing that movies such as Under the Tuscan Sun and books like Eat, Pray, Love tend to either skim over or completely avoid speaking about is the massive amount of time and energy it takes to actually move abroad. However, acquiring visas, insurance, passports, and all of the behind-the-scenes stuff is necessary to making the dream of moving abroad become a reality. So, if anyone out there is reading this and needs some assistance in being pointed in the right direction (or at least a little camaraderie in commiserating in the dull and repetitiveness of it all) then this post is for you. For the rest of you, you have officially been warned!

Wow. Moving to a new country means serious paperwork. I mean, yeah, I get why in theory: we are showing up to Italy’s doorstep for a couple of years and they want to just verify that we are there with good intentions and not like the random uninvited guests at the party who inevitably get too drunk and crash on your couch. I get it. But still, the mounds of paperwork is one of the craziest goose chases I have ever been on!

the boring paperwork and the nitty-gritty of moving abroad

So we spent almost a month preparing for our visit to the Italian Consulate. I plan on moving with a student visa while the hubs (pictured above with Papa Gino) who plans on getting dual citizenship (crossing fingers and toes) in order to make it is easier for him to find work while we are there. For those wondering, this is what I needed for my student visa:

+ Application filled out, but not signed so it can be signed in front of the consulate representative
+ Admissions letter (in Italian) to the school you will be attending
+ Proof of residency (if you are renting through the school, the school’s address will work just fine)
+ Proof of Italian insurance (I bought mine online before the appointment)
+ Your passport (you must give this to them until they mail back your visa)
+ A pre-addressed and paid-for envelope from the USPS
+ Proof of financial needs (AKA: a bank statement or investment account that has been notarized)
+ A letter from your current employer or transcripts from your school which you previously graduated from
+ A copy of your flight reservation

Really, it wasn’t too terrible for me. I had everything ready except for my transcripts, which I didn’t realize I needed until I got to my appointment. Luckily, I had a copy saved in my email and was able to forward it to them immediately. Another thing that I didn’t realize is how student visas to Italy are not issued more than three months before the start date that is stated on your acceptance letter. The Italian Consulate said that they would hold on to all of my information and send it out on that specific date since I was about two weeks early (story of my life..always the early-awkward one to the party)!

As for the dual citizenship, here is what my husband Anthony needed:

+ Application
+ Marriage Certificate, apostille, and translation
+ Spouse’s Birth Certificate, apostille, and translation
+ Original US passport and copies
+ Drivers license and copies
+ Certificate of Birth, apostle, and translation**

Getting these documents were much more difficult because we had to wait in several lines downtown for the Birth Certificates, Certificates of Birth, and Marriage Certificates. Then we had to wait in another line for the aposilles. On top of all of that, we had to find a Consulate-approved-translator to translate all of those documents. In the end, it turned out to be a very timely and costly experience, but worth it completely, yet expensive none-the-less. Also, Italy has a “blood right” citizenship law. Anthony’s grandfather was a citizen when his father was born, so both Papa Gino and Anthony are now getting citizenship since the law requires that you have direct linage to an Italian Citizen in order to qualify.

We head on back this week to complete paperwork for the passport. If anyone has any questions about any of this, leave a comment and I will do my best to answer in my very limited experience! I know there is not a lot of information on this process, so I feel that we must band together as future expats to make this happen.

Okay, enough of this boring paperwork talk. Sorry if you had to stop and take a nap half way through! To inspire/wake you up, here’s a lovely blog post I read telling you why the infamous “yeah, but…” responses to you stating you are moving abroad could kill your dreams. Let us know what you think.

**Does anyone else know that there is a difference between a Certificate of Birth and a Birth Certificate?! We sure didn’t. Not all state office of vital statistics issue a Certificate of Birth unless you specifically ask for it. Just another little heads up to add on to your planning process of moving abroad. ;)

Until next time, ciao!

xoxo,

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