Saturday, June 17, 2006


Some random thoughts:

Regarding the move, I seem to have done things the right way around, albeit by accident: if I had not had the use of the casetta for a few weeks after arrival but had just come out for a week before relocating in order to find somewhere to rent, I would not have had enough time to obtain the necessary documentation and utilities contracts [see “Bureaucratic Trail" post]. You really do need to be on the spot.

I could not have managed any of it without the help and support of kind friends in both countries. My friends here have been unstintingly loyal.

I had expected the nature of some of my friendships here to change – simply because you are not the same person, when you are the “settler”, as you were when you were the “visitor” – and it may yet do so. I do need to work on widening my circle but there is time for that.

Going through Culture Shock has been a humbling experience. You do come out the other side of it and you relearn what you value in both cultures. It is normal to “grieve” a little for what you have left behind.

Do not even think of making a change such as this unless you have at least a get-by level in the language and really I would say you need more than that. [It may be different if you want to go and live in an enclave of Brits somewhere but if you truly want to embrace the new culture the language is the key. It sounds obvious but I must emphasise it.] I have a degree in Italian and am fluent but I have nevertheless had my difficulties.

Do not assume that being an EU citizen will enable you to skirt round the bureaucracy. Check your entitlement to medical care meticulously.

As I sit in the apartment with Simi, perhaps watching BBC World, I reflect that I seem to have achieved the best of both worlds: indoors, I can live on a “little UK” planet when I want to, whilst outside the door I have the vibrancy, bustle, noise and colour of glorious, beautiful Italy. It is still, to me, the “land of lands”.

I do think I have proved that, “To get what you want, you have to give up a little of what you have.” And I really don’t know who originally said that!

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