The Beginning

on Friday, May 13, 2005

I've been asked by some of my friends stateside about some of the differences between Italy and the U.S., and by people here in Italy why am I here. So I've decided to combine the two. This is a work in progress. Sit back, relax, and enjoy.

December 2000 - January 2001. After spending ten days in Yokohama Japan visiting my best friend, I vowed I would not go on another international trip, at least not for another year or so. Well, a few months after visiting Japan, it was about time to start planning on another trip, had already been to Las Vegas, and of course Japan. Wanted to do another international trip, figured why not Europe next. I started planning, the first week in October 2001 to visit the northern part of Italy. Yes, alone. I had posted in a newsgroup on Yahoo, including the dates and what cities I was planning on visiting. Three weeks before my trip, my now husband emailed me, offering to show me around, let me crash at his place. At the time he was living with his parents. We emailed back and fourth, he seemed like a nice guy, so I figured why not.

The week went well. My now husband was (and still is) a true gentleman. He showed me around Milan, Verona, Venice and some small towns along the way. We stayed at a cool castle/mansion for a couple of nights outside of Venice, called the Castello di Roncade in a town called Roncade ( in Italian and English). Cool place, owner very nice.
As simple as it may sound, I knew he was "the one" when my shoes came untied a couple of times while in Venice, he INSISTED on tying them for me.

Three weeks after I arrived home back in the States, he proposed and six months later, on April 28, 2002 we were married in my hometown of Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Two weeks after our wedding, I was arrived in Busto Arsizio, Italy and have been here ever since.

Differences between U.S. and Italy:
Have to pay the monthly bills at the post office with either cash or debit card called Bancomat.
The Italian postal system also offers banking services.
At the grocery store: you sack your own groceries, pay for the sacks and also pay a depost for the cart.
Parking - next question please!
Houses are made of cement. Since Italy is such a small country, especially compared to the U.S., they build up and not out, so the main dwellings are apartments and condominiums.
The Italian Health System is public, so everyone is covered and services are of little or no cost. The downside of the system is that it is very disorganized, having to go 5 different places for one thing.
Gas is EXPENSIVE here in Italy, and throughout much of Europe from what I've heard. Currently, as of today, gas is at 1.19 euros for one liter, so about $5.93 a GALLON. So don't complain to me about gas prices in the States. I just put 20 euros worth of gas in my car today, a little over a quarter of a tank of gas.
Housing ix expensive here, especially if you go in the bigger cities like Milan or Rome. Here in Busto Arsizio, I think the prices for a decent one bedroom, start at about $150,000 for an apartment that isn't very big.
Apartments here come totaly unfurnished, except for the toilet, bidet and bathtub. Otherwise you have to provide EVERYTHING, including the water heater, fridge, cupboards and counters for the kitchen.
Many people live with their parents until they get married. Either for financial reasons or for other motives. Of course there are the world famous "Mammoni", or mama's boys.

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Carol said...

Hey, Can you find me a "nice man" to show me around if I visit?

Ann said...

Of course!!! My hubby has a few single friends.....

Anonymous said...


I would like to talk to you sometime if you are free. I am in need of some information regarding Italy and some other things. I would like to have you email me as soon as you can please.

if there is anyone else that lives in italy, please contact me.

jeters love jesus at aol com

no spaces of course

Expat Traveler said...

How interesting! My start of moving to Europe occurred at almost exactly the same time. I left my January 2002, but started planning much sooner than that... (Oct 1, 2001)..

I wanted to stay so badly in Switzerland but I didn't have a passport or permit.. So I moved to Canada. :) I'm finally living in a city which I really enjoy.. It's much different than Vancouver.

Ann said...

Expat Traveler, where are you originally from?