My best attempt at looking like an expat that you’d want to trust, did it work?
With ‘rientro’ (Italian for re-entering the world of work after vacation) at my doorstep, I feel very motivated to be consistent on Girl in Florence with topics that I’ve been meaning to touch on for some time. I typically blog about travel/food/where to go and what to eat in Florence / events/ life in Italy/ interviews with locals. I want to touch more on frequent questions I get from you guys, my valued readership. By answering the questions here, and by keeping the questions anonymous, everyone benefits by being able to read what I would answer right here on the blog.
The series will be called “Ask an Expat” and in order to see your question be answered on the blog, just email me here.
A few blog posts I recommend reading first are:
- 10 mistakes that Expats in Italy make
- Living in Italy: What is it really like?
- Permesso di Soggiorno in Italy, my experience
- What not to expect when moving to Italy
- Things I didn’t do Before coming to Italy
The first question is one that I get quite often, even since I started Girl in Florence is one that I can relate to, even if my situation has changed a lot since I first came to Italy
Dear Girl in Florence, I met an Italian guy and fell in love, though I don’t speak the language (yet) and am looking for a job, I really want to live here. I am slightly freaking out but thank you in advance for helping me out
This questions always hits at the heart a bit because I understand 100% how scary it can be when you feel on the verge of something exciting and honestly, quite disastrous at the same time. You can’t look up your account on Pinterest or read an article on Buzzfeed without some sort of hard-hitting quotes like “In the end, it’s not going to matter how many breaths you took, but how many moments took your breath away”. Take charge of your life, do something drastic, you only live once!
All true, and I myself love reading them, but at the same time, what you won’t find in these quotes, is any real advice on how to actually take charge of your life. Ironically there are quotes for that too, usually under the lines of “everything worth anything in life is hard” — insert preferred quote here, you get my drift. As for meeting an Italian boy, well that’s completely understandable, if you are young and having fun, they are everywhere, smiling at you with skinny jeans and nice hair. Italian men are charming, good-looking and also happen to age well, just check out this fun ad by Dolce & Gabbana featuring Italiani making hand gestures.
Real love is going with you to the questura for your permesso renewal
It’s safe to say no matter what nationality is your partner, for example my boyfriend Nico is French, you may run into some intercultural issues. It’s always better to fall in love when you are stable in your situation, with work, with life, with the language, with friends and most of all – with the place you legally can live. If you combine trying to see if a new relationship will blossom with a ton of ‘how do we make this work‘ issues early on you will find yourself often frustrated, crying at a moments notice and wondering if you made the right decision.
Obviously it’s so hard to tell people what I think they should do, that’s something only the person themselves can decide. I think if Italy is your dream and you are willing to work hard, accept that you can’t change the country and have to adapt yourself, you are on the right track. I would say make sure that being here is what you want, and not just your heart or some fantasy of what life might be like in Italy. Think about what it is you could see yourself doing in five years time and try to meet people who are at that level where you want to live. Keep in mind that any relationship, friendship or something more – takes time to cultivate. You can’t meet people wanting too much from them.
What I would tell this girl is to get comfortable with the language, enroll in some private classes and try a few language exchanges. Meet some local friends, attend events with groups like Yelp, which has a perfect blend of international and local people looking to branch out. Pick a cafe that is local to you and practice conversation with one of the baristas. Italians are so nice when you are learning, really I have had mostly good experiences here. I know it seems hard and it’s so much easier to hide when problems arise, but that’s why espresso was invented.
As for work, sit down and think about what you can realistically do, if you studied at a culinary school reach out to them and ask if they can help you with references. If you can get a job remotely, working for an international company doing any sort of internet-based work, you are already winning. And if you think that all of it seems too much, that perhaps Italy is better off being a place you adore and visit every year, that’s perfectly ok too, I wouldn’t blame you.
I hope you enjoy this new series, I really like chatting with those who read this blog so please do leave a comment and let me know if you share the poster’s situation. What would YOU offer as advice? Also to see your question featured (I will make it anonymous) email me here.