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Episode 223: ARRIVEDERCI

In this introspective episode, Katy says goodbye to Rome the night before she flies back to the States. And as she contemplates the end of another chapter, her thoughts turn to John Keats. Why John Keats, you ask? At the start of her time in Rome, Katy visited the Non-Catholic Cemetery and the grave of the Young English Poet. On her last day, she happened to find herself standing in front of the museum dedicated to him and his contemporary Percy Shelley. She decided to go in. On their...


Episode 222: DESTINY

Are we the masters of our own fate, or merely unwitting pawns in a larger scheme, the irresistible pull of destiny guiding all of our so-called decisions? Or is the reality somewhere in the middle? In their second live show, recorded at The Beehive Hotel & Hostel, Katy and Tiffany explore their own beliefs on this vast and bewildering topic, and what it means for their own lives and the paths they have...


Episode 221: LABOR

In honor of Labor Day, Katy and Tiffany take the week off from their labor of love, The Bittersweet Life podcast. But in this special, super-short episode we ask for your feedback for three upcoming episodes. Listen to the episode to hear our questions so you can be featured on the show! Email your stories (typed or voice messages work) to ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ SPONSOR THE SHOW: Reach expats, future...


Episode 220: STAYING?

As Katy nears the end of her time in Rome (this time), Tiffany can’t help but ask, will you stay? Or, more precisely, would you stay? Would you stay in Rome IF all the conditions allowed it: work visa, gainful employment, apartment? Her answer might surprise you. And it opens a discussion: how do you know when it’s time to go home, when it’s time to stay put, when it’s time to move on, when it’s time to hit the road in search of a new adventure? How much do age and career play into it?...


Episode 219: ABDICATE

Moving abroad isn’t just for twenty-somethings. Our guest this week proves just that. Jackie Jalley was a successful lawyer in her early 40s and living in Chicago when she realized she wasn’t content feeding her wanderlust with short, occasional trips to Europe—she had to move there. And when she finally decided to take the plunge, she didn’t do it by halves. No leave of absence from her job—she quit. No storage unit for her clothes and furniture—she sold the lot of it. She was fully...


Episode 218: POSTCARDS

A postcard captures a moment in time—a literal snapshot of a place. But according to Katy, people make the best postcards. If you visit a place often enough, every time you go back, you’ll inevitably find faces you’ve seen before. Locals whom you’ve noticed many times—and who have perhaps noticed you—although you may know nothing about them. May have never even spoken… and yet they are every bit a landmark of your experience of the city as an Eiffel Tower or a Colosseum. Maybe it’s the...


Episode 217: BILINGUAL

Want to raise a bilingual child? Whether you are an expat or not, in a mixed-culture relationship or not, it is possible to raise your child in two (or more) languages, and the benefits you will pass on to your child are significant. But how do you go about it? Today Katy sits down with British mum Kristie Prada, author and creator of the blog Mamma Prada. She and her Italian husband live in the UK and are serious about raising their children to speak both languages flawlessly. In her...


Episode 216: ORVIETO

We often talk about expat life in big cities like Rome. But what’s it like to be a foreigner in a small village where everyone knows everyone? On this week’s episode {ORVIETO}, we catch up with two Americans living in the tiny central Italian town of Orvieto—two expats whom we interviewed for the first time back in 2014. Toni De Bella (Episode 34: Venture) moved to Orvieto in 2012 alone after raising her son. Linda Martinez (Episode 33: Parents) is the owner of The Beehive Hostel in Rome;...


Episode 215: SUMMIT

After the wild week in the news in the US, Katy and Tiffany take a brief break from their recent Rome-based episodes to discuss the events surrounding the now infamous Helsinki Summit. In the course of their commiserations, they wonder what is harder: having to live through the chaos as it unfolds in your own back yard, or living a world away in an expat bubble and not having anyone to talk to about it. What’s worse: inundation or isolation? Which leads to another observation: when you live...


Episode 214: RUDE

Have you ever walked into someone’s house in Japan with your shoes on and had a room full of people laugh at you? (Katy has.) Have you ever traipsed into a room in an Italian home that has been freshly mopped and been given the evil eye by the lady of the house? (Tiffany has.) Part of living in a foreign culture is learning (often the hard way) that some things that are totally acceptable back home are, at best, a faux pas in your adopted country, and, at worst, a humiliating gaff. Picking...


Episode 213: IN-LAWS

The best thing about marrying an Italian? You’re automatically part of a big Italian family. The worst thing about marrying an Italian? You’re automatically part of a big Italian family. If you’re a regular listener to the show, you’ve heard Tiffany talk about (and sometimes complain about) her Italian in-laws for years—especially during those long months when she and her husband lived with them when in between apartments. This week, Tiffany’s mother-in-law, Luisa and father-in-law, Rocco,...


Episode 212: ETHNICITY

Issues of race and diversity are on everyone’s lips and minds in the United States right now. But people in Italy are just starting to have these conversations. In a country where, until quite recently, everyone had a similar racial make-up, perhaps it simply wasn’t necessary until now. In an interview with our former intern, first generation Salvadoran American Estrella Gomez, we probe the issues facing an expat of color in a place that is just now getting used to its status as a country...


Episode 211: SIRENUSE

What happens when you say “no” to your destiny…only to discover that it brings you more joy than you could have imagined? This week, Katy interviews Antonio Sersale, son of one of the four founding siblings of the legendary Le Sirenuse Hotel in Postiano on the Amalfi Coast. From a young age, Antonio was groomed to take over the family business of running the hotel, but he resisted for many years, convinced that the life of a hotelier wasn’t for him. Then, one day he changed his mind....



After a transformative trip to India during college, Michael Maren realized that in order to feel fully alive, he had to go back overseas. He joined the Peace Corps after graduating and a series of chance events led him to Kenya, where he stayed for the next five years, teaching English, Physics, and Swahili at a local secondary school, and he later worked as an aid worker in both Kenya and Somalia. After returning to the States for graduate school, Maren eventually became a war...


Episode 209: REPURPOSE

This week, we hit the streets of Rome with our recording equipment to search for ancient artifacts or “spoglie” hidden in plain sight. Rome has been inhabited without interruption for over three thousand of years. A past like that cannot but leave its mark on a city. And if you keep your eyes open, the vestiges of Rome’s ancient past can be found around almost every corner. From the fluted Corinthian columns walled into the sides of nondescript buildings to the piazza that follows the shape...


Episode 208: DECAY

Rome is crumbling...just as it has been for centuries. But what does it say about us adopted Romans that we choose to live in a city's whose glory days are all in the past? Why do so many of us, who can't even use the excuse that this is our native land, choose to live here, often at considerable financial and professional inconvenience, despite how little it has to offer us? Why do we leave in frustration only to return again and again, as if it were "more familiar, more intimately our...


Episode 207: ARTIST

Katy interviews Samuel Webster, versatile artist, Australian expat in a small town in Italy, and host of Fool’s Paradise podcast. They discuss what it means to be an “artist.” Does adopting that title make you pretentious, or is it just an honest representation of your craft? What about if you practice numerous arts? Webster identifies as a writer, a photographer, a poet, a podcaster, and much more. But does practicing one art form take away from the others? If you qualify yourself as a...


Episode 206: RAIN

What does Rome sound like in the rain? Tiffany and Katy take a walk through the soggy streets of Rome, from Trastevere to Campo de' Fiori, capturing the sounds that you might not notice: raindrops falling in a puddle, water rushing through an underground drain, birds chirping as they seek shelter from the storm. As a seasoned radio producer, Katy hears sounds other people don't notice. Tiffany is just learning to. Join them on an aural discovery of Rome in the rain. Plus: they attempt to...


Episode 205: ENCOUNTER

Thanks to for supporting this program. Shop any US retailer and ship anywhere for less money. Bittersweet Life listeners get 10% off when you try it! Just use the coupon code: MANGIA **** Sometimes a person comes into your life—just a chance encounter—and yet you never forget them. Maybe their impact is strong, maybe it's insignificant, yet for some reason, the memory of that person stays with you for the rest of your life. Katy and Tiffany discuss their own unforgettable...


Episode 204: ZODIAC

Thanks to for supporting this program. Shop any US retailer and ship anywhere for less money. Bittersweet Life listeners get 10% off when you try it! Just use the coupon code: MANGIA **** Planning a trip to Rome? Use your Chinese horoscope sign as a guide to plan your itinerary. What animal are you? A snake, a dragon, a rat, a dog? Listen to episode 204 of The Bittersweet Life podcast to discover a Roman location that suits your personality perfectly. You might learn something...