5 questions expats in Italy hate being asked


Without trying to be like a teenage emo kid listening to a spotify indie music playlist, I thought I would write a more personal post for a change. When I started this little baby of a blog of mine, I was very unsure about how much personal info I wanted to share. I thought about keeping it strictly events/news and the like but everyone once in a while I like sharing a bit more since after all there are so many of us in the same boat in Italy and it can be comforting to read other’s {real} experiences. Since I have been in Florence full-time since 2007, you can imagine the sorts of questions that get thrown at you that can make you slightly uncomfortable, which is why I am sharing these 5 ‘fun’ ones with you today. Keep in mind this is 100% my opinion, and please comment and add what you don’t like being asked, I’m curious!

Obviously I know that the people asking these questions mean no wrong but I am huge believer in the wonderful – tact. As my favorite Urban Dictionary quotes states: Tact is a quality respect, because being an asshole and acting negatively towards others is 100 times easier than making a positive contribution.

1. When are you going home?

 I touched on what my idea of’ home was in a previous post, this question can be tricky to answer the longer you live here. Why? Maybe you feel like you have no home and the question brings about a feeling of loss or something you no longer have – or in my case perhaps you have two! It can be hard for people to understand that concept who haven’t done the same long-term transition. Most people associate home with where they were born and raised. I remember when I first started working in Italy, my American colleague would yell at me when I referred to America as ‘home’. “You live in Italy now Georgette, THIS is your home!”. At that moment everything was still scary and new and unsure so I have now decided that ‘home’ is wherever the hell I feel like it should be.

2. Did you move because of love?

I get that this question comes from good intentions. People read a book about a girl meeting a seductive man with an accent, falls in love,  and then gets whisked away to another country for a life of bliss and picking fruit in the countryside. 5 years later you see her book on to entice others to do the same. Well, quite frankly life can be a little more complicated than that. Without getting too personal, my own life has undergone quite a few serious changes this year and the ‘how did you end up in Italy’ question has gotten a tad bit more complicated to answer. Maybe you did come for love and it didn’t work out? Or maybe you did, it did work out but you don’t want to seem like that girl who leaves everything behind for a man {or woman}? The point here being that recounting these details to people you don’t really know can be a little awkward.

3. How much money do you need to make in order to live in Italy? 

This is one of those questions that I rarely answer because it is impossible too! I mean honestly, everyone spends their money differently. Some people like to go out a lot, some are homebodies, some travel, some don’t. I think you get the picture! Italy is by no means an easy country to make a living and support yourself, I cannot stress that enough. Besides being an expensive country to live, good jobs are hard to find. I started off as a nanny and worked {and still} a variety of jobs to support myself and it’s still a struggle. Much different than someone who comes via a work transfer from another country.  I wrote a post about what not to expect when moving to Italy for more tips on this subject.

4. Can you help me get a work visa? 

The work visa – the word itself makes me cringe. The somewhat-fabled document that allows you to work {and perhaps live somehow} in Italy. I think I know one other person that actually has this type of visa while every other immigrant I know is married to an Italian or is a lucky bastard with dual citizenship. I love to help people, that’s why I started this blog, but when it comes to the nitty, gritty details of the work visa – you need to either pay someone to help you collect your documents or better yet hire an immigration lawyer. You can read about my own permesso di soggiorno experience here.

5. Don’t you miss your family back home? 

The answer to that question is yes! I do miss my family and thank you for reminding me of that fact. Ok, ok it’s not  that bad of a question but everyone who lives abroad but is close to their family has an internal battle with themselves about living so far away. As your parents get older, your friends and cousins and brothers and sisters start having kids, it is only natural that you don’t want to miss out. Which is why a lot of people don’t make that permanent move abroad and fair enough! When I go home, my family and close friends get 100% of my attention and via skype, whatsapp and technology in general, I try to keep in touch as much as possible. Someone once told me with a look of incredulity after hearing I had been here for so long {by choice} and commented that they could never live so far away from ‘home’ to which I answered ‘great! you don’t have too!’ ciao! 

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