I have a delightful friend that I want you to meet. I think you’d really like her.
When I first started reading Bleeding Espresso, Michelle Fabio called herself “Sognatrice.” She has since decided to ‘fess up and tell folks her real name (you really can’t hide on the WWW, can you?). Michelle is an ex-patriated American living in Calabria, Italy (the “toe” of Italy’s boot). If you have never visited her blog, you simply must check it out. Gorgeous pictures and Michelle’s delightful personality will make you feel right at home.
What does she write about? Name it — it’s there.
Do what? “Does she have recipes,” you ask?
Of course she does!
She’s Italian, for heaven’s sake. But, she also offers a little bit of a “travelogue” of Calabria, and tells about her life (with her Italian fiancÃ© and two dogs) in Italy as an expat.
Recently, Michelle began writing for Italy Magazine, where she hopes, she says, to make the “Brits enjoy this American writing about the country they love.” That shouldn’t be hard with a view like this:
She’ll be be writing a weekly column, Guarda! A Video Tour of Italy about interesting aspects of Italian life. The first installment is Il Palio, a most unique horse race in the medieval city of Siena in Tuscany.
I asked Michelle if I could interview her, and she graciously agreed…so here goes a little Q & A with S & M (boy, that ought to get a lot of Google hits!):
- Q: Michelle, there is one burning question on my mind (as implied by this post title):
Do you really “bleed espresso?” What in the world inspired that creative name for a blog?
A: OK, first question and you’ve already figured me out. The truth is that I have normal, espresso-less blood, but I do drink some espresso every day, usually in the form of a cappuccino. I love American coffee too, for the record.
As for my blog name, I’m going to cheat a bit in my answer and send you to a blog post I wrote about it: A Blog By Any Other Name.
- Q: You moved to Italy in 2003 because you “wanted to.” That was a pretty bold move for a young woman. Did you have family contacts there, or were you on your own? Did you speak the language fluently? And, what was the most frightening aspect of that move?
A: I had made some friends here on previous visits, but I didn’t have family contacts. And I spoke very, very little Italian–just what I could remember from phrase books really. I found out, though, that you learn a language quite quickly when you have no choice; not many people speak English here in southern Italy.
The most frightening aspect of the move was actually that I was starting a freelance writing career at the same time. In fact, that part was even scarier since I’d be relying on my words for income. Gah!
- Q: Can you name any one thing that you miss about the United States, other than friends and family?
A: That’s easy. Chick-Fil-A. Seriously. It’s just about the only thing I think about on a fairly regular basis and *so* wish we had here.
[Editor’s Note: Umm, don’t let her love of Chick-Fil-A make you think that Michelle’s recipes are as icky as that chicken…they are wonderful. No lie.]
- Q: What’s the best thing about living in Italy?
A: Other than the obvious like Paolo and my pooches, I love that I eat much healthier here with the wide availability of fabulous, affordable produce and seafood and the emphasis on preparing meals rather than buying them. So I suppose it’s actually a good thing that Chick-Fil-A isn’t here. Whatever.
- Q: You write for several other on-line publications. Could you tell us about them? And, what’s your favorite?
A: The two that I regularly write for are TomatoCasual.com and LegalZoom.com. Tomato Casual is all about, you guessed it, tomatoes! Everything about tomatoes in included–history, current news, growing tips, recipes–anything you can think of, you’ll find it at Tomato Casual. And if you can’t, send an email and ask!
LegalZoom is a legal services website co-founded by Robert Shapiro of OJ Simpson trial fame; they have an articles section on the website and a newsletter, and that’s where I fit in, writing about anything from celebrity legal news to writing wills to criminal law concepts. I love “translating” legalese into normal English for readers–plus I get to use my law degree so that’s fun too.
I have been actually been writing for both of these since they started (LegalZoom began publishing articles in 2004 and Tomato Casual in 2007); I simply can’t pick a favorite.
- Q: If my readers followed only one link to your blog, what post would you have them read?
A: Where I’m From (Inspired by George Ella Lyon). That says *a lot* about me.
[Editor’s Note: Yes it does and I love that page. It’s one of those that makes me think, “Dang, I wish I’d thought of that first!]
- Q: You admit on your blog that you are a former attorney. Personally, I think that admitting that is a bolder move than admitting your real name. I know that you must have a collection…so, what is your favorite “lawyer joke?”
A: OK, my absolute favorite lawyer joke is a bit raunchy, so please cover your eyes if you think you might be offended.
I warned you!
What’s the difference between a prostitute and a lawyer?
The prostitute will stop screwing you when you’re dead.
[Editor’s note: Talk about scr***d! Some school principal who was thinking about hiring me is going to read this, and I’m going to be sh*t out of luck! But, it was a lawyer joke, which is by definition obscene!]
- Q: Is there anything else you want my readers to know about you or your blog?
A: Just that I truly appreciate anyone who takes the time to read what I’ve written and especially those who comment or email to let me know that something has touched them or made them think, feel, remember, etc. When I started my blog in December 2006, I never imagined that it would grow into a community, but that’s what it feels like to me, and it feels wonderful.
Thanks so much to you, Shelly, for helping me get the word out about Italy Mag. Those who have read my blog know that I love Italy, but I am so excited to share this passion with a wider audience…and here you’re letting me reach even more people. As we say in Italy, Shelly, “Sei grande!” You’re the best!
My pleasure, and thanks for taking time to answer, Michelle. Here’s wishing you the best of luck in your new writing adventure! I’ll be looking forward to reading what you have to say (thank God it’s in English!).