Starting a new blog in 2024? About Italy? What are you doing here Josh?
Listen, I know it’s weird but I’ve spent the last year learning more about the Italian side of my family, learning Italian, and learning how to better cook Italian food. Italy takes up a large portion of my day to day thinking, so I thought I’d start writing about it in some form.
So here we go, a blog. Maybe someday I’ll do videos on YouTube too—especially for any cooking or other topics that could work well as video. I really want to just start something talking regularly about Italy.
Why am I so interested in Italy 🇮🇹?
Well first, I’m 20ish% Italian (according to DNA tests and family history) and while I knew it growing up, I didn’t really experience the Italian-American style childhood. In fact, I mostly learned to cook and love pasta through the non-Italian side of my family.
Early in 2023 I came across articles about having your dual citizenship recognized by Italy and started digging in—more on that later. As I researched family records and learned about different areas of Italy I’d want to live in, I realized a few things. I’m really interested in the culture of Italy—from the food to history to cars and design. I even want to dress better when I learn about things in Italy.
It’s so much that I just want to talk about it all the time. But here’s the thing, I’m becoming that guy that would just talk about his favorite thing all the time. So here we are. A blog in 2024 so I can have a place to tell stories about things I learn and/or do. If you are into that sort of thing, I hope you enjoy it!
So what should you expect here?
As I mentioned above I’ve started the process of being recognized as an Italian citizen. There are many ways to go through this jure sanguinis process and my path is pretty straight-forward—but I’m constantly amazed and challenged by the process and I want to write down what it’s like for future me and hopefully for anyone else going through this process. I also have learned a lot about my family through this, including seeing photos of my great-grandparents for the first time.
It’s a very complicated project to take on that involves collecting documents for your entire family line, getting them officially notarized (or apostilled—a word I didn’t know until I started this) and translated. Then finally going to an Italian consulate with all that paperwork to be recognized.
The process to me is really interesting and while I’ve found a lot of resources online, I still find myself having to track down things on my own. I want to write about that more and share what it’s like. A lot of times I’ll watch videos that kind of just oversimplify it and guide you to paying a service. However, I think the DIY version approach is doable and I want to share how I’m approaching it. Spoilers: I have fun with Google Spreadsheets.
The dual citizenship regcognition is kind of retroactive since birth, so I have no requirement to learn Italian as part of this. However, I do actually want to live in the country some day and learning the language is important to me. Also I’m a bit of a language learning nerd. I’ve learned a little bit of everything from Spanish 🇪🇸 to Ukrainian 🇺🇦 to Japanese 🇯🇵.
I like talking about language learning too, so I imagine I’d share some interesting stories and strategies I’ve found learning Italian. Maybe I’ll talk about how I think Duolingo is like fast-food learning—it helps but may not be the best, kind of like how McDonald’s is food but may not be the best for you 🤣. I also really like reading books now in Italian and have a whole backlog of books to read. I really want to read similar materials that people growing up in Italy would have read so I can better understand cultural idioms and jokes better.
Eventually I also want to write this blog in Italian. Not ready to do that yet but at some point I’ll provide both Italian and English versions of posts.
I’ve alwalys loved cooking Italian food, but now I’m learning I really only knew how to cook Italian-American food. It’s great, but learing the original versions of some these dishes has been a great experience. I’ve learned how to really cook things like carbonara or Pasta alla Norma, but also as we are a mostly vegetarian household I’m always looking for ways to make these meals work for us. I also occasionally get lazy and want to find ways to make really good dishes really easily. So maybe I’ll share why I never buy premade marinara sauce now.
Also I’ve started making bread (with and without my sourdough starter) and recently made my first focaccia!
Other Italian Stuff
I also love learning about history, different regions of Italy (have to figure out where I’d want to live in the future!), and maybe even Italian watches—the photo on this post is of my Italian Unimatic U2 Classic.
Anyway, I have not yet been to Italy unfortunately, so this is currently a fully remote experience of Italian culture, but if you find anything interesting, incorrect, or you just want to nerd out about this stuff, you can find me as ‘jnjosh’ on most of the social platforms or you can find me at jnjosh.social.