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Life doesn't have a script. At least, it doesn't have to. Hosts Katy Sewall and Tiffany Parks explore the challenges and joys of moving abroad and moving home. Whether you’re living overseas, or not — or not yet — join us weekly for unadulterated conversation. Get to know Rome. Laugh at our embarrassments and insights. Most of all, imagine the possibilities for your own life (and meet some famous authors along the way).
 
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show series
 
Did you hear about the doctor who unknowingly bought an original Caravaggio painting at an estate sale? Yes. That happened. Today we talk not only about this unbelievable story, but also about the allure of estate sales. Katy adores them. Tiffany's never been to one. What is it that intrigues Katy so much about them, and what was her one regret aft…
 
Everyone has their favorite book, author, or series, but when children fall in love with a book, that love can border on obsession. (And how lovely that is to witness!) Of course all demographics, from toddlers to great-great-grandmothers, can count Harry Potter mega-fans in their numbers, but for kids, that Harry Potter magic was extra special. To…
 
Inspired by a passage in the book Outline by Rachel Cusk, today we discuss the complexity of living life in two (or more!) languages, and if you can truly be yourself in every language you speak. Are you a different person when you speak a second language? Does it depend on at what age you start to learn the second language, or how well you speak i…
 
It's the biggest soccer (aka football) (aka calcio) match of the year as Italy faces off against England in the European Cup. But who do cheer for if you're an Englishwoman living in Italy for more than half your life, with an Italian husband and two half-Italian kids? To find out, we chat with Julia Charity, a thoroughly English tour guide who has…
 
Are you someone who has a hard time when things come to an end? Even when what's coming next might be just as good, if not better? Or possibly even when what is ending was never very good in the first place? Tiffany and Katy are both prone to nostalgia over endings, and as Aurelio finishes up Kindergarten or "Scuola Materna" as it's called in Italy…
 
We hear from five-year-old Aurelio and his friend Jacopo on their very last day of Kindergarten—are they feeling the same sense of nostalgia that Tiffany's feeling, or are they just thrilled it's finally summer vacation? Also, Tiffany explains what preschool and Kindergarten are like in Italy, and how those very first years of school differ from th…
 
Are you a person who always travels to a new place? Or do you prefer to revisit the same place over and over? Today we explore the value of going to the same place again and again. We discuss how going deeper into the culture of a place and getting to know its people on an intimate level can only come after prolonged or repeated visits, as well as …
 
Last week Katy regaled listeners with the story of her adventure aboard the Sea Star, a 1965 classic yacht, and her experiences cruising the inland passage from Seattle to Alaska. If you haven't listened yet, you can catch that episode here. In this mini-episode, she answers questions about this unforgettable trip, from practical things like what t…
 
What do you do when your partner of almost a decade—and husband of only a few short months—tells you he thinks you made a mistake in getting married? Well, if you're today's guest, you pack your bags and start traveling the world. You might never even come back. Today we sit down with Asia Dawn Simonelli, who's unexpected heartbreak made her realiz…
 
To conclude our series of wedding-related mini-episodes, Tiffany regales you with the most common traditions and rituals surrounding weddings that took place in Ancient Rome. What words did the bride and groom recite to each other at the moment of marriage? What color was the bride's veil (and her shoes)? What did the bride, groom, and guests do af…
 
A private yacht called the Sea Star, a handful of strangers who would soon be friends, the inland passage to Alaska, and a few whales that like to show off—these are the ingredients in Katy's first post-pandemic trip. Although observing humpback whales in the wild has long been a dream of hers, she had no idea how much she would enjoy the actual tr…
 
Last week we talked about food, cake, invitations, and the dreaded colors of black and purple. This week, on the third installment in the Italian wedding mini-series, we delve into the differences between Italian and American weddings in terms of ceremony, bomboniere (aka very elaborate party favors), photography and—perhaps most intriguingly—who p…
 
Make-up. Unpleasant social obligations. Commuting. Lots of things fell by the wayside during the pandemic. Lots of things that seemed absolutely necessary parts of life "before Covid" suddenly were either impossible or simply irrelevant. Now that life, for many people around the world, is starting to go back to normal, we can't help but wonder: do …
 
For the second installment in our series of Italian wedding-themed mini-episodes, Tiffany looks back on her wedding in Rome almost exactly ten years ago, and how she tried (and sometimes failed) to incorporate both the stylish American wedding trends she loved and the strict Italian wedding traditions and norms that her soon-to-be in-laws expected.…
 
Last week we talked about the labels expat vs immigrant, and specifically, why Tiffany, after nearly 17 years in Italy, still considers herself more of an expat than an immigrant. Today, we replay an episode from way back in 2015, the very first time we debated the expat vs immigrant question, and specifically, if the color of your skin determines …
 
On occasion of her 10th wedding anniversary, Tiffany talks about Italian wedding traditions, particularly the ones popular in the mid-20th century. Ever wonder why Italians give sugared almonds at weddings and what they represent? Curious to know what a bride must never wear before the wedding day, and what a groom should carry in his pocket to war…
 
Tiffany moved to Italy as an expat in the fall 2004—nearly 17 years ago. Since then, she's married an Italian and started a family, bought an apartment in Italy, and become an Italian citizenship, so... is it time to change that label from expat to immigrant? In response to a listener email, Tiffany and Katy chat about why Tiffany nevertheless stil…
 
Today we continue our conversation with Anna Sale, host of the popular podcast Death, Sex, and Money and author of bestselling book Let's Talk About Hard Things. On Part 1 of this interview, Anna goes into the nitty-gritty of talks about sex and death—why they are so hard to have, and how to make them easier. On Part 2, she delves into money. She t…
 
Can you talk about hard things? Can you negotiate your salary with a new boss? Can you tactfully comfort someone who’s just had a devastating loss? Can you be open about your sexual needs with your partner? Anna Sale is the host of the Death, Sex, and Money, a award-winning podcast that “explores the big questions and hard choices that are often le…
 
What was it like to work in an international airport in the time of Covid? For this mini-episode, we're joined by someone who can answer that question with first-hand experience. Today's guest is Valentina, a staff member for a major Italian airline who worked at Rome's Fiumicino Airport throughout the pandemic. She shares her unprecedented experie…
 
One year ago, we asked our listeners, What does a day in the life of someone under lockdown look like? Listeners from around the world sent us a peek into their lives in the form of voice memos, and we included our own auditory snapshots as well. This year, we once again sent out a call for recorded snippet of our listeners daily lives to see what …
 
Have you ever taken off your clothes for the camera? Today Katy reaches back into the archives of her long career as a radio producer and pulls out an interview with a boudoir photographer, and one of her clients. On this mini-episode, you'll learn who is likely to get a boudoir photography session, and why you should do it. The photographer interv…
 
The wait is over—at long last, you can finally go to Italy again! But is it a good idea? According to a recent announcement, the Italian government is not waiting for the EU "green pass" to welcome travelers from outside the EU this summer, but are instead launching their own version a month earlier, that could see the country open up to tourists f…
 
Tiffany joins us from the Spanish Steps for this mini-episode, where glorious azalea plants are spilling down the steps and there is nary a tourist in sight. May 2021 the first—and most likely the last—time it will be possible to see the Spanish Steps this way. As Tiffany marvels at the spectacle, she also marvels at how fast Italians seem to be ab…
 
This week we sit down with Riley Morton, a freelance documentary producer and cinematographer who kicked off his career two decades ago in the adventure sports space, producing documentaries and television about climbing, skiing, trail running, and adventure travel. Over the past decade, he has branched out, producing his own documentaries and coll…
 
Bestselling author and friend of the show Jess Walter joins us for this mini-episode to talk about the reluctance so many people seem to have over getting the Covid vaccine. Jess shares a great tip for convincing the vaccine-hesitant people in your life to get the vaccine. ------------------------------------- ADVERTISE WITH US: Reach expats, futur…
 
Over in the US, Katy is now fully vaccinated against Covid-19. Hurrah! Tiffany in Italy, meanwhile, still has a long wait ahead of her. How long is anyone's guess. Today they discuss how Katy's life will change now that she's vaccinated—perhaps a lot, perhaps not much, it's not easy to know just yet. As well as if she even wants to go back to life …
 
Want to write a 90k-word novel? If you've got 46 days (the length of Lent) Tiffany will tell you how to do it. This year during the period of Lent, Tiffany came up with the crazy idea to draft her next novel by Easter. That meant writing nearly 2000 words per day and, if that weren't challenging enough, schools in Italy closed halfway through! In t…
 
One year ago, we asked our listeners, What does a day in the life of someone under lockdown look like? Listeners from around the world sent us a peek into their lives in the form of voice memos, and we included our own auditory snapshots as well. Today we replay that episode to see what has changed in one year—and what has stayed the same. From Lyn…
 
Want to move abroad but have no idea how to support yourself when you get there? For this mini-episode, we are joined by David McNeill, creator of Expat Empire, a consulting service for aspiring expats, and host of the Expat Empire podcast (check out this recent episode in which he interviews Tiffany). From finding a local job in the country you ar…
 
Inspired by our conversation with Elizabeth Miki Brina, author of the new memoir Speak, Okinawa, we turn again to cross-cultural relationships and families, and the challenges that they bring up for those involved, many of them unexpected. We also consider how much those problems can change and worsen, depending on which country the immigrant spous…
 
Inspired by last week's episode, an interview with Elizabeth Miki Brian, the author of the new memoir Speak, Okinawa, and the challenges she faced growing up the daughter of an American father and an Okinawan mother, Tiffany looks at pitfalls that can crop up in any cross-cultural relationship, particularly when one member of the couple leaves his …
 
Elizabeth Miki Brina's new memoir Speak Okinawa is a "searing, deeply candid memoir about a young woman's journey to understanding her complicated parents—her mother, an Okinawan war bride, her father, a Vietnam veteran—and her own, fraught cultural heritage." We sit down with the author for a probing interview that looks at the pitfalls of cross-c…
 
As a follow-up to Monday's episode, What Do I Want to Do Today?, on this mini-episode, Katy presents a radio piece she produced several years ago, in which she is physically present—and recording in audio—the birth of a child. First she chats with the parents-to-be about their decision to attempt a natural childbirth, as well as the doula who will …
 
When trying to come up with an idea, whether it's for an article you're trying to pitch, a school assignment, a book you want to write, or any creative endeavor, have you ever just asked yourself: What do I want to do today? Today we talk about how this seemingly simple question can not only open up an opportunity to do something totally new to you…
 
Italy is in lockdown (again), but this time it feels very different. The rules are mostly the same, but the mood on the street is completely changed. The restaurants and many of the shops may be closed, movement may be restricted, but the citizens are rejecting the call not to socialize, and (so far) the authorities have chosen to ignore it. Aureli…
 
So, you've decided you want to move abroad but... where do you start? It's not an easy subject to tackle, so today we've asked an expert. On this week's episode, we sit down with expert expat Jessica Drucker, author of How to Move Abroad and Why it's the Best Thing You'll Do. She's also the host of the Adventure Calls podcast. We get into the nitty…
 
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