"I certainly think speaking the language allows one to fully understand the culture although there are quite a few people in Rome who have never learned Italian and they are able to live day to day without too many issues although many of them have support of embassies or international organizations that help them with the local bureaucracy. When I arrived I spoke "Pizza and cappuccino" (KPM, Jan 2013)
What is your name, age and how long have you lived in Rome?
My name is Kiersten Pilar Miller, 39 years old I arrived in Rome in 2004 for a film job and ended up staying.
Whereabouts do you live and what is the area like?
I live in Rome near the colosseo by Piazza Vittorio. As a New Yorker I love the international element of the area and the Piazza Vittorio market is full of international goodies.
Why did you decide to move there?
It was a bit of an accident to land in this neighborhood but when I was searching for my first apartment here all of the real estate brokers thought I was crazy for asking for a place near a metro stop. "Who uses the metro?", I do!
What nationality are you and your partner?
I am American and my ex is Roman.
How many children do you have, what are their names and when were they born?
My daughter Millie is 5 1/2, she was born here in Rome.
Do you work and if so what do you do?
After Millie was born I could not find any decent or useful mommy gear so I created The Milk Bar concept and online stores for pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers www.TheMilkBar.it
What was your experience of having a baby in Rome?
I could go on about this for quite a while…… At The Milk Bar I try to help all of our moms with the information I have uncovered over the past 4 1/2 years so that they can profit from my "If I only knew then what I know now"…..
How well integrated would you say you and your daughter are?
My daughter is completely at home both in Rome and the States (well, pretty much anywhere she goes!). I feel I am no longer truly American but definitely not an Italian. I would say I am a woman without a country.
What language do you speak to your daughter?
Do you think it essential to speak Italian where you live? How good was your knowledge of Italian before you moved to Rome?
I certainly think speaking the language allows one to fully understand the culture although there are quite a few people in Rome who have never learned Italian and they are able to live day to day without too many issues although many of them have support of embassies or international organizations that help them with the local bureaucracy.
When I arrived I spoke "Pizza and cappuccino"
Do you rent or own a property and how did you find the renting/buying process?
I rent. When I was looking for an apartment for my daughter and I it was a bit of a nightmare. Many insisted on escrow accounts, others would not rent to me as I was a "residenta" di Roma and not a "full strainera" on a three year contract who they knew would soon leave. Others only rented to people with "contratti inderterminati" and as I am an entrepreneur they refused.
How welcoming have the locals been towards you and your family?
How would you describe a typical local?
What is your impression of childcare and education where you live?
The state day care situation is rather dire as there are not enough spaces for the families that need them. The schools are facing constant budget cuts and we have to bring toilet paper to the school, the children draw on recycled paper brought in by parents from their offices.
What school does your daughter go to?
My daughter goes to Di Donato in Piazza Vittorio, I love the school, for all of its short comings, as it really held together by an amazing group of invested parents. It is very diverse culturally which is a rarity here in Rome. For the Christmas concert the class sang songs in seven different languages, each taught by a parent of the class who had gone into the class to teach the children the songs.
Why did you choose this school and are you happy with your choice?
We chose the school for the above mentioned reasons and I am very happy with that decision. In my opinion what they learn from teachers is only part of their education the other parts come from the community in which they learn.
Are there any services, activities for kids, day-trips for kids, family-friendly restaurants or kids’ shops you’d like to recommend?
The great thing about Rome is that all restaurants are child friendly in that they will cook what ever your child asks for and offer to bring it out before the rest of the dishes are ready. I am not saying they all necessarily have high chairs though….. And of course for moms and new borns The Milk Bar!
What do you think are the main advantages and disadvantages of being a parent from the International Community living in the region?
In Rome there are many of us so it is great having others to share our cultural confusions with. The hard part is learning how the "system" works here as there is never a yes or no answer to ANYTHING!
Is there anything you think would improve children´s lives where you live?
If people started cleaning up after their dogs it would be a great start!
What advice would you give for anyone having a baby or thinking of relocating to Rome with children?
For thinking of having a baby here, do not assume that the rules and procedures are the same here as your home country, many things are very different. If your sister had a birth in a beautiful birthing center surrounded by soft lights in a birthing pool, let go of that idea here in Rome…...
What couldn´t you live without in Rome?
What could you live without in Rome?!