TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF
My name’s Olivia and I’m a mid-20s Australian woman who quit her job last May to move to Italy. I had a fascination with this country after several holidays here, and wanted to learn Italian and indulge my absolute love for cooking Italian-style. Since I moved, I’ve travelled all over Italy, working in different agriturismi and wineries through the WWOOF program before ending up in Piemonte for the wine harvest last September. In October, I moved to Turin and started teaching English where I met my now boyfriend Andrea. We’ve been together ever since and are living together with his mum in Chieri (a small town on the outskirts) during quarantine. I write a blog on Instagram and the web called Livguine
Where do you live now and how long have you been there?
At the moment I live in Chieri, 30 minutes outside of Torino, Piemonte, Italia. I have been here since March when the lockdown began.
What do you love about where you live now?
I absolutely love Italy for its food, wine, culture, architecture, people, weather, hospitality…The feeling you get when you walk down the streets and know that great, famous Romans once walked them too. Oh, and especially the taste of REAL tomatoes!
How is it different from your home country?
Italy is different to Australia in many ways but mainly the culture. Italians really know how to have fun I think, they’re a very sociable country. From caffe at the bar to afternoon passeggiata to aperitivo in the evening; they’re always out and about and making the best of their days. Everyone has an interest in food and wine in some way or another and I think it all comes back to a connection with their land and what’s produced here.
What frustrates you about your host country?
What frustrates me is the bureaucracy, Nothing is easy here, nothing is online; so it often means taking a day off work to wait in long queues to do something incredibly simple but essential.
How has the CoronaVirus affected you?
Fortunately, I got out of teaching just before the lockdown and found a role in Digital Marketing (my field in Australia also), which meant I’ve been able to work from home quite easily during this time. I was in the middle of getting ready to move into an apartment in Turin when the lockdown started, so I had to move in with my boyfriend & his mum in Chieri while we ride this out together. We aren’t allowed out really, only 300ms from the house and we’re going into week 5 now.
Where are you now and where is the rest of your family?
My family all live in Melbourne, Australia. I feel incredibly grateful to have my partner and his family here in Piemonte with me during this time, so I don’t feel alone at all. If not for my partner, I think it would have been too difficult to ride it out alone here in Italy
Are you in self-isolation, lockdown or are you social distancing and what rules do you need to follow?
What do you find the hardest about your situation right now?
The hardest part of the situation is the lack of freedom and not being allowed out obviously. Every day feels the same, but cooking is keeping me sane and giving us something to look forward to every day.
Do you have any tips for anyone in lockdown or self-isolation?
What are you doing differently now compared to a few months ago?
What I’m doing differently now? Cooking everything I ever wanted to now I have the time (although of course, our oven broke right before quarantine, so baking is off! Maybe a good thing though with the lack of activity) I’m also practising yoga daily, I started the 30-day challenge on YouTube with Yoga by Adriene and I’m loving it. I also started my blog Livguine on Squarespace and I’m finding the whole writing experience super therapeutic.