Expatriate

on Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Expatriate - noun - A person who lives outside their native country.


Today is a sad day at Ann's School of English.  Today is one of my students' last day of English lessons before he moves to London in the beginning of October.  He's been a great student and a nice student.  I will surely miss him.  It has been a real pleasure and honor to be his English Teacher.  

He's not the first student of mine to fly the Italian nest for greener pastures abroad.  In fact he's the third, all have flown north to the United Kingdom.  One student is studying to be a chiropractor in Wales and another is living and studying graphics in London.  I occasionally hear from my ex-student living in London, she's enjoying her new life there and has no plans on returning to Italy to live.  

It takes guts to up and move to a foreign country.  Especially if it is MANY miles/kilometers away.  In my opinion, the longer a person lives in a foreign country, the more you learn, in addition to the obvious new culture and language.  You see things in a different light, you start to think also in a different way, even about your native country.  

If you are thinking of or have recently moved abroad, here are some suggestions:
- If you have visited a country and think "OH it would be SO awesome to live here", think again.  Remember that visiting and living somewhere are two totally different things.  
- Do NOT compare anything between your home country and your new country.  You'll drive yourself crazy and only leads to homesickness and the-grass-is-always-greener-on-the-other-side syndrome.  
- Be flexible.  Things in your new country are done differently in respect to your native land.  Get used to it.  In the end you'll learn how to do things in a different way.
- Learn the language, NOW.  You will become independent and also integrate.  
- Immediately meet LOCAL people, not only fellow expats.  Having locals as contacts can prove to be useful now and even down the road.  Connections are ALWAYS a good thing.
- If you're having a bad day and you're really missing things back "home", start a list of things that you like and are grateful for in your new country.  Try to do this on a daily basis.  You'll start to see that things maybe aren't so bad after all in your new country.
- Enjoy your new country.  Get out, see the sites, visit and participate in local festivals and events.  This will help you integrate, meet new people and enjoy your new chosen home.

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Our Apartment in Italy

on Friday, September 19, 2008






In a previous post I've mentioned that apartments here come literally unfurnished. Dug through some old photos and found some of our apartment before we moved in. These photos are mainly of our kitchen, one of the bathroom and also the living room. As you can see, there is absolutely nothing furnished, except the bathroom sink, toilet, bidet and bathtub. That's it. No light fixtures, no plumbing in the kitchen, not even any kitchen counters. Then, once you've moved in and are comfy, if something goes wrong, say for example your bathroom sink springs a leak, you're the lucky person that gets to pay for the repair.

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Cost of living in Italy

on Friday, September 12, 2008

What is the cost of living like in Italy you ask? Like in other places around the world, it is going to vary depending on what part of the country you live in. We live northwest of Milan 20 miles so of course it is going to be a bit cheaper compared to living IN Milan. Also take into consideration that the wages here in Italy may or may not be what you are used to. An average blue-collar may bring home anywhere from 800 to a little over one thousand euros a month. Our monthly expenses break down as follows, being a rough estimate:

400 Rent
100 Condo expenses
50 Phone & internet connection
45 Electricity
45 Gas (stove, oven and hot water heater (boiler) etc.)
375 Groceries

1015 Grand total in euros ($1,421.05 USD)

Of course this does not include as you can see any "extra" entertainment, going out to the restaurant etc. When I go to the grocery store I go to the discount chain stores like Eurospin and Lidl and avoid the big chain stores like Esselunga & GS, unless I need something exotic or ethnic. If I shopped at the big chain stores, our grocery bill would be a heck of a lot higher for about the same amount of food.

In general I have heard, no personal experience though, that in northern Italy the cost-of-living is more expensive compared to the south but then the wages are lower.

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The Secret

on Friday, September 05, 2008

Have you read the book or seen the movie, The Secret by Rhonda Byrne? I have seen the movie, read the book a couple of times at least and try to listen to all or part of the audio book on a daily basis. The basis of The Secret, the Law of Attraction. What do you know of the Law of Attraction? Do you believe in the Law of Attraction?

Have heard some mixed reviews from people. Have had some students, after reading an article about The Secret where rather hesitant and not interested. But after listening to the audio book, they had at least one good thing to say about The Secret. All of my students said and agreed with the point of thinking more positively. Thinking positively on a constant basis isn't always easy. I admit, especially the last few years I thought more negative thoughts than positive. Changing one's way of thinking isn't so easy nor does it happen overnight. But with persistence a person can achieve anything.

Yes I do believe in the Law of Attraction, that also what we think we create. Why is it that when we continually think negative thoughts that negative things happen in our lives? Think about it. Why is it when you continually complain about something that more things come into your life to complain about?

Another key point in The Secret, besides having a positive attitude, is being grateful. It is suggested to write down every day what you are thankful for right now. When you wake up in the morning, be thankful. What are you grateful for RIGHT NOW?

I do have a Vision Board on my desk. I have photos of my perfect house in Canada, the Canadian Flag, a photo of millions of dollars and also a Superenalotto lottery ticket. What is on your vision board?

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