I address you for the last time from the pages of Easy Milano in our final edition. The journey has been long and at times quite challenging — especially at the beginning. I recall 2002 was a particularly difficult year for Aaron and I. We had finished the enthusiasm that comes with the novelty and we were living in the shadow of 9/11. Afraid to stand out, Americans and Brits kept a low profile. We had gathered some consensus from “early adopters”, but most of the English speakers living in northern Italy still lived in isolated micro-communities.
Surprisingly enough, even though the desire to stay under the radar was strong, the Community started to gather and increase in size. Back then business was slower than we would have liked. Our trips out to Arese and Monza to meet “expat settlements” outside the city were time-consuming, but our readership was progressively growing.
A few years later, in 2006, the Community was officially ready to come out of seclusion and show off its true colors. On the fourth of July, dozens of Americans accompanied by their spouses and Italian friends showed up for what was going to later become J4Milan, one of the largest community celebrations in Milan.
A lot has changed since then and mostly for the better. We have become an important and influential community with tens of thousands of members; some of whom will travel from Torino, Varese, Como, Vicenza and Bologna to participate in community events. Others in Rome, Naples, Sicily and in less numerous communities throughout Italy would read us from afar by occasionally downloading an issue.
So what now? What is the future of Easy Milano and what will become of the Community that we have all contributed to thread together? It’s up to you; the thousands of readers, the clubs, the diplomatic missions, the “lifers” and veteran expats. As I had mentioned in a prior issue, Aaron and I have been speaking with the publisher of the local free press, Where Milan; an editorial format publication with listings and reviews in English, which we have been following for years now.
We have made some promising steps forward and have persuaded Where Milan to dedicate some space in their magazine for the International Community. They have offered to make some adjustments to host on their pages some of the typical content found in Easy Milano. In addition, they have even agreed to add new distribution points to make it more accessible and Easy for residents to pick up a copy. Of course, it’s not going to be the same, but that is not necessarily a bad thing. Aaron and I will move on to focus on other aspects of the Community. He will be focusing on business and commercial relations between the UK and Italy; I will be focusing on promoting international education. Meanwhile, Andrea Jarach and his team at Where Milan will be keeping their doors open and the ink rolling on the paper for everyone to read. Dry the tears off the emoticons you posted on Easy Milano’s Facebook page because the torch may not go out after all!
Let me conclude by thanking everyone who has supported Easy Milano throughout the years: our readers, our staff, our distribution partners, the local institutions, the businesses that have funded our publication and our events, the international chambers of commerce and the diplomatic institutions that have often treated Easy Milano as an extension of their offices. Thank you to each and every one of you for making the past 18 years a truly unforgettable experience!
Editor in Chief