Luisa in Wonder Limburg. Interview with Luisa Prearo, from Padova living in Limburg, official ambassador of Italian wines and founder of Vinumundi.
Ciao, my name is Luisa, I am Italian but I feel Limburger by adoption and also by marriage!
My life as an expat started many years ago, when I was 18. I went to US Massachusetts to study and since then I have been traveling a lot. I moved to The Netherlands in 2008 for family reasons. During my staying I decided to apply for a Master at Maastricht University, and this got me settled in Limburg.
Then, 6 years ago, I met Marco, a Dutch living in Belgium. Marco and I married 4 year ago and together we live in the small village of Voeren in Belgium, but still Limburg.
Since I moved here, many things have happened and many have changed. I remember that when I first arrived in the Netherlands, I was impressed by the “square-mind set” of the people and how this was reflecting on their lives (the planning, the agenda…). What I was mostly impressed by was the individual way of living and the amount of time these people were dedicating to hobby-activities. For me, the funny opening hours of the shops, the crazy schedule for eating (I mean, I come from a Mediterranean country…how can you ask me to have dinner at 17.30??) and the massive amount of bicycles on the roads, on their fietspads, these for me were all new things I needed to adjust to….and eventually I did, quite well I must say J
Agenda and burgundis life-style
A funny difference between my land and The Netherlands is the agenda, the famous Dutch agenda. In Italy there is a lot of room in a person life to spontaneously decide to meet with a friend or to go visit family or for even a small last-minute week-end away. In the Dutch culture this is not contemplated…but I am noticing the same behaviour in Belgium. Here you need to plan way in advance your week-end activities, your visits to family and even coffee with friends. I have learned the custom and got along with it.
On the other side, though, I love the cordiality of the people in Limburg, their open mind to internationals and their burgundies life-style.
And then there is nature in Limburg, it’s amazing here! I love taking long walks in the fields or in the woods on the hills. Especially where I live now, it is an amazing location and destination for holidays for many from both Belgium and The Netherlands.
Promotion of Italian language and culture
In Italy I have studied Literature and Philosophy with a specialization in Art History, therefore I always considered myself lucky to have had a job in the art business. Indeed, at home, I used to work for an NGO-cultural foundation in Padova, organizing art exhibitions and cultural events.
I also had many years of experience as a substitute teacher and I really loved it. This experience and skills, gave the opportunity to start working as a teacher of Italian language and culture here in the Netherlands, where I spent many years teaching Italian to kids and adults. I had a contract with the Italian Consulate and for years I have promoted and held courses of Italian here in the region.
Italian wine ambassador in the Netherlands
Being a woman of the south, I of course love cooking, good food and good wine. On top of that, the life-style in Limburg suited me so much that I decided to start my own company. So, five years ago, my passion for eno-gastronomy lead me to finish my sommelier studies, get a professional certification and start importing wine from Italy. This is how my Vinumundi was born. I now actively work with many producers from Italy, I carefully select products that are deeply related to their regions and traditions, and that can be a great representative of specific Italian terroirs. I put a lot of passion in what I do and this passion has been recognized by one of the most important sommelier organization in Italy and they have awarded me with the title of Italian wine ambassador in the Netherlands.
I love my job, the fact that I can relate with many people and establishments here in Limburg and share the famous Italian eno-gastronomy culture together.
Maastricht-my favourite place in Limburg
If I have to pick a favourite place in Limburg, it would be Maastricht. I love it for its pleasant and laying-back atmosphere, the internationals point of view and its (and its people) love for food and good life.
In Italy, I didn’t have a favourite place, or at least, I don’t remember it. I have been abroad for so long that I came to the point that everything of Italy is beautiful to me. I miss though the squares in Padova, at sunset, when groups of young and less young, gather together after work for a sprits and a chat.
An European citizen
As off today, I consider myself an European citizen. I cannot say if I love more Belgium or The Netherlands, I lived in one and living now in the other, I have seen and felt the similarities and differences of these two countries and compared them to the countries of the south. I can say I feel home where I am now because of what I have accomplished here: my studies, my family, my company and carrier. I can say in Limburg I found my dimension, a mix of southern and Nordic way of being that really suits me.
To all my fellow expats or expat-to-be, I would strongly recommend moving to Limburg. It is a lovely and lively region where to live in, grow a family and start a business. On top of that, Maastricht with the Expat centre really helps to settle down and find your own dimension here.
If you will ever need a piece of advice for a good wine or a meal, don’t hesitate to contact me!
Text and Photos: Communications-Unlimited.nl
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Michelle (Australia): ”We are really fortunate to have a strong community here in Limburg”
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Nurlaila (Indonesia): ‘’Never stop dreaming; finding your passion isn’t just about career and money. It’s about finding your authentic self.’’
Sara (Iran): ‘’From Tehran to Eijsden’’
Agnieszka (Poland): ‘’It is here where after a long search I have found myself’’
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Sonia (India): ‘’I was tremendously excited on starting this new episode in my life’’