01 May 2012

Travel-Inspired Series {Part 3}: Marissa from The Boot

For the third edition of my travel-inspired series, Marissa from The Boot is here talking about her first day as an expat in Italy!  Marissa has to be one of the sweetest bloggers around and I always look forward to her daily posts on food, love, and life in Barletta.  Her journey as an expat also being as a study abroad experience {I'm starting to see a trend here...} and now she is happily engaged to an Italian and busy planning not one, but TWO beautiful weddings {one in Italy and one in the States}. From zumba instructor, to cook extraordinaire, to English tutor - Marissa is certainly someone worth knowing!

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When I first arrived in Barletta four years ago this August, it was a brutally hot day. The express train I was supposed to take into town from Rome was full and I was forced to board the slow train that would take six hours and had no air conditioning. When I asked the conductor if he was sure I couldn’t get on the fast train he said, “Ma’am, the only thing sure in life, is death.”

Welcome to Italy.

{Taken from the train}

I ended up in a compartment with two other girl travelers, and I felt safe with them as we hunkered down on the sticky, hot leather train seats. My journey was beginning but not as I had planned. The ride was endless and the girls and I rationed out water that we poured over each other’s heads and we passed snacks that I had packed that morning for the plane when I was still in beautiful, sleepy Medfield, Massachusetts. It felt so long ago!

We arrived in Barletta and the train pulled up to the station, where Manu was waiting for me in his soccer uniform. He told me that my first stop as a newly formed expat was the annual Tournament of the Sausage. I arched an eyebrow wondering what on earth that could mean, but was too tired and exhausted to ask questions. I stared out the car window as we buzzed through town, taking it all in. The fish vendors selling sea urchins on the sidewalk, boys on vespas chatting side by side, ladies clipping pieces of laundry to strings held up between balconies, the smell of burnt crust from a pizzeria. Barletta swirled around me as if to welcome me, to say, “You’ve arrived.” 

And if that wasn’t enough, the Tournament of the Sausage proved to be just as overwhelmingly wonderful. A summer-long soccer tournament that ended every match in, you guessed it, a sausage cook-off, was happening. Manu’s team played, while everyone in the stands cheered and ate their crisp, juicy sausages in fresh, homemade rolls, all donated by various bakeries and meat markets in town. The stars were glowing and the air had finally cooled off. I ate the sausage sandwich someone handed me and watched on, cheering, as Manu’s team won the game. 

Welcome to Barletta, I told myself. 

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It's amazing to think how much has changed in just four years - now she's practically a local Italian herself!

Thanks so much for guest posting for me Marissa!

Find her blog here.


  1. It's so fun learning how you all have ended up in such beautiful places! Almost makes me want to sign up for grad school and study abroad :) Going to check out Marissa's blog now!

  2. i think the arrival somewhere is so important-it is so easy to be overwhelmed or lonely-or both. i left the UK nearly 8 years ago-but still remember those first impressions of my expat life. nice post

  3. I love The Boot Blog and especially all of the recipes that have been posted lately. Thanks for the guest post!!

  4. wow - lucky lady to live in a place like that!

  5. thank you so much for having me jenna! YOU are the sweetest blogger around! :) :)

  6. isn't Marissa something else again?! i adore her adventurous spirit and love to hear about her life in Barletta with Manu!!! this is such a cool feature Jenna, nicely rounded up here with all these inspired stories.

    um, that tournie sounds right up Sean's alley...he'd be the first in line no matter if he was on the winning team or not ;) baha! great 1st day, loved this! ♥


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