How it all began…

Hey Future Expats,

As soon as someone finds out where I live, I am met with ‘WOW, living in Italy must be amazing!’ I cannot disagree with them. It is amazing and I love the life I have here. It was definitely a great decision for me to make as living abroad has been good for my health, my well-being and I have also become more independent…although not financially.

I have a lot of friends back in Scotland who regularly tell me that they are jealous of my life. I don’t mean that to sound big-headed, and their reason behind that comment is very simple… they see the sun in my pictures. For someone from Scotland, waking up to the sunshine is not a regular occurrence and so my life looks permanently like I am on holiday. I do get to travel a lot too, which is the bonus of living on the continent.

4 years ago, I decided to run away from my life and job in Scotland. I was drawn by the pizza, pasta and gelato to the wonderful Tuscan countryside. I spent 3 wonderful years in Siena and then made a little move further north to Lake Como… no, I sadly have not met George Clooney…yet!

Although I am really happy here and I love Italy, I do think it is important that people understand that living abroad isn’t always this romanticised view of what you see on holiday or in the movies. It can be really hard and you can end up feeling lost. I work with a lot of people from all over the world and we love to exchange our different stories, opinions and experiences. Living in Italy is wonderful for lots and lots of reasons, but parts of it have definitely been a culture shock for many of my colleagues.

I didn’t know much about Siena before I arrived there. In all honesty, I knew nothing except my Mamma and Aunt had visited on one of their many trips and they had nothing but extremely positive things to say about it… this was a big deal as they LOVE to prepare me for the worst.

I tried to find information about what Siena was like and I did find a couple of blogs and websites, but they weren’t exactly what I was looking for.  I wanted more information about the nitty gritty side of living in Italy, not just pretty pictures of landscapes and information on places to eat. I have come to Italy on holiday every year since I was a baby, so I knew it was beautiful, I knew it was delicious, I did not know how bad the bureaucracy would be.

Moving to Italy in 2014 was a total gamble. Luckily for me, it paid off and I really believe it is ‘La Dolce Vita’. However, I know for some of my friends, the gamble was too big and Italy quickly became a nightmare place for them to be stuck. In this Blog I want to share the realities of my experiences of life in Italy (and probably the experiences of some of my friends) as well as giving fun tourist tips on places to see and things to do. Through the Podcast, I want to add to this and share the experiences of local, expat and tourists visiting or living in different locations. I will share advice on day to day living as well as must do things for your perfect stay in a variety of locations.

20 of the main things I have learned through living here are:

  1. The driving is as ridiculous as people make out… rules quickly become guidelines…
  2. The phrases ‘because it is Italy’ or ‘so Italian’ will begin to answer many questions with no further explanation required…
  3. It is nearly impossible to initially not put on weight…
  4. It really is crazy beautiful in so many different ways…
  5. The brighter the drink, the yummier it is…
  6. Hairdressers like to cut and dye…
  7. There are excellent dogs…
  8. Tourist trap gelaterias lure you in with their massive piles of ice cream…
  9. Mosquitoes are bastards…
  10. Italians are like Marmite…
  11. You better have a simple and quick signature… filing cabinet companies still make a lot of money in Italy…
  12. Don’t try to get sarcastic to make a point… you will achieve nothing but your own rage issues…
  13. Transportation always adds to an adventure…
  14. Italian stallions… very well dressed but very intense…
  15. Hand gestures and regularly used Italian phrases will become part of your vocabulary, no matter who you are talking to or what language you were initially speaking in…
  16. Italians are super proud of the area they are from, but also get swept up by other great nations (especially Scotland and Ireland)…
  17. Aperitivo is the most important meal of the day…
  18. Try not to need anything done on Mondays or after midday…
  19. If you want to see your doctor, he will only be available on the 3rd Tuesday of the month and only if there is a full moon… unless you have a fever…
  20. Trying to recreate home away from home can be tricky…

Each of these areas is going to become a bigger blog post with different stories, anecdotes and hopefully helpful pieces of information.

 

If you have any questions, ask away. If you live somewhere in Italy and have a different perspective PLEASE let me know. If you live in any other country and want to share your experiences, please send me a comment or message and let me know too. I want this blog and podcast to become a wonderful place for want-to-be Italian expats or travellers to come and find out more.

Love,  Lexie xxx

Let’s explore!

 

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