About The Blog
When Jason and I first came to Italy, I was stumbling blindly through expat life, navigating the viscera of both the bureaucracy and language, and in an area of the country that often felt more like Austria than Italy.
The cultural confusion ran thick.
Horse meat, you’ll find, is not an uncommon food in Italy. It’s on menus and in the display cases of equine butcher shops throughout the country. Although eating horse runs so contrary to Americans’ (and my) sensibilities, in my initial months on Italian soil, I encountered horse meat seemingly everywhere.
The irony was not lost on me.
Over the past 3+ years, I’ve fumbled my way through the country and the people and the bureaucracy here, utterly unprepared for the things I have encountered or how I would handle them. Very little of Italian living has been what I expected, and even less has been what I can effortlessly understand, and so I’ve been left to wonder: how did I get here?
Just as I am baffled to see horse meat on a menu, I am frequently left aghast, dumbfounded, laughing riotously, overwhelmed, mesmerized and awestruck at all that Italian living encompasses.
Which is where Horse On The Menu found its start.
To cope, I started taking notes: flippant and only sometimes witty observations noting the novelties, the aberrant and amazing conditions all around. Those notes eventually needed a home — so here we are.
After two years up north, J and I ended up moving farther south in search of more mozzarella and less snow. We’ve settled in the central region of Umbria, calling Perugia “home”, and what started as an experiment in international living that we assumed would only last a year or two, has turned into a much longer affair.
Don’t get me wrong — Italian living hasn’t always been rosy, which you can read about in posts like: 5 Things Italy Did Not Warn Me About and Construction Trauma. Yet the sheer uniqueness of our Italian experience has made for some darned good stories, especially my accidental scooter ride in Naples, and the time I bicycled to a sanctuary in the Piedmont countryside.
The overall, general vein of content, however, revolves around the odd, awkward, and unknown. The off-the-beaten path, the unseen, the hilarious if not trying aspects of life as a long-term foreigner. Horse On The Menu poignantly represents this notion: because it’s what you least expect, because it surprises you every time, because of the cognitive dissonance you experience with each encounter.
And so, I share it with you. In hopes of starting a conversation, in hopes that you get something out of it, too.
If you enjoy reading about my adventures and mis-adventures alike, especially if you find them (nearly) as unforgettable as finding horse meat on a menu, be sure to let me know, or share with your friends on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram (believe me, I hold a fair amount of antipathy for social media, but it’s how blogs and such get spread around, so…can’t beat ’em, join ’em?).
Buon Appetito, ya’ll!
NOTES ON THE BLOG
- Inevitably, Horse On The Menu (HOTM) has similarities and difference to other expat blogs — as an American expat in Italy, things I find baffling and frustrating may overlap with my blogging counterparts. But HOTM differs in that I try to make sense of the big and small experiences here as part of something larger, something we can all relate to. Digging the thrilling / moving / inspiring out of even the tiniest of moments.
- Both entertaining and informing my readers are my main aims, so if you’ve managed to smile, or laugh, or feel even a tiny bit smarter or better or more excited about life because of reading Horse On The Menu, then I’ve achieved my goal.
- I’d like to think that I have more to say than, “Why does Italy have no good peanut butter?”…but you can be the judge of that.
- Information in posts is not to be considered empirical fact (see disclaimer, below). Just because I’ve written it does not mean it’s undisputed or in accordance with journalistically sound methods and ethics. It’s a blog, so: grain.of.salt.
- This blog is a work in progress. Posts, links, and pictures are continually being updated in my attempt to make HOTM a better and better place for you to visit. Suggestions are always welcome, so don’t hold back (even if you want to just say ‘hi’) — drop me a line in the comment bar below, I respond to everyone!
- Unless otherwise noted, I am the sole author of this blog. Opinions or ideas expressed herein are my own and result of my personal perspective and experiences.
- Unless explicitly and clearly stated, I am not compensated for mentioning a particular place (restaurant/hotel/store), entity (tourism board, private company, city/regional government), or producers of any items (brands of food/clothing/travel gear).
- I am not responsible for the actions (or results of actions) taken by readers based on information and/or advice given in this blog.
- Should I accidentally humiliate or insult someone’s person or feelings as a result of this blog’s content, it is unintentional. Should a reader identify any such content as harmful, malicious, insensitive, or unnecessary, I urge you to contact me via email so we can discuss it and address the problem.
- This blog is not a news source (‘un giornale’), as it is not a periodical with prescribed updates. Therefore, it cannot be considered an editorial product under the Italian law n.62, 07/03/2001.
- © Erin Montgomery and ‘Horse On The Menu’, 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this blog material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Blog excerpts, photos and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Erin Montgomery and ‘Horse On The Menu’ with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.