Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Reality of an Expat

You come to Italy as tourist and fall in love with the narrow streets, lined with ancient buildings full of rich texture and color you think that the clothes hanging from balconies are cute and add to the depth of the visual impact. You love the country side with it's rolling hills, vineyards and century old farm houses. And there is the sun with it's amber hue and the museums which hold 80% of the worlds art, the stores with the lastest fashions, the old churches and the opera.
Then you decide to leave your nice home in the subburbs of the US with it's wide yard, 3 car garage, big stores, lots of parking, great restaurants from all over the world and move to Italy. Where you find the reality of a country half run by the mafia and the other half by old and only self serving politicians. You see that the reason poeople hang their clothes on the balconies or out the window is that their apartments are tiny and they can't afford the energy for a clothes dryer like the one you left back home. On the streets and in the shops you find people just trying to survive in the rat race of a city overcrowded and polluted. You find people rude and crowding in lines, clerks in stores barely surving on an income that forces them to live with their parents are unhappy and unfriendly. You moved to the big cities because that's where you find more people like yourself and that's where you were most impressed by the famous tourist attractions. But living their you suffer from the reality of a city overcrowded and full of those Italians you thought were so friendly in the tourist places but turn out to be just normal people trying to survive. Cars are parked on sidewalks due to the lack of parking and the inability to create it in cities built back when people only walked or rode horses. You find people suffering from lack of work and low wages pitted against a high cost of living. You say I made the decision to move here so I'm going to adapt and make it work but after months or even years of trying you just have to admit that you can't do it.
Well that is the reality of Italy for many, maybe even most expats but not all. It really depends on your situation, where you live and what income and family you have. I'm happy to be living in a realitively small town in a nice home. I don't have any major complaints. Most people here stay in line and the other day as is typical I stood in a line with just three items with people ahead of me having tons of stuff to buy, they asked me if I wanted to move ahead.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


Seems like fall is coming early this year. School here just started on Monday, and this morning it was 6 degrees C. That's pretty chilly.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Saturday, September 13, 2008


Camping outside of an organized campground. It's not that wild but
that is what the English call it. Here are some of the spots we
camped at during our trip though Italy, Switzerland, France and back
through Germany. Sometimes it mostly a big parking lot others along
side a river. In Germany we couldn't find a spot we spent the night
in the parking lot of a church. One night in Italy we asked the owner
of a small bar if we could stay the night in his parking lot, he said
why not. The kids get out there scotters and have fun wherevere they

Monday, September 8, 2008


Random pictures without comment.

Summer is ending

We have had a long Summer vacation with the kids being out of school over 3 months. A week from today they start back to school. The kids haven't been bored, they seem to always find something to do and we have kept them busy with our trips in the camper a bit of day camp and some swimming lessons. I suppose they are ready to start back. It will be good to have them busy again with school, but I hate being tied to the clock. I'm a bit spoiled having my office in my home means we don't usaully have to stick to a schedule, but with school we do. The alarm will start going off again next Monday.

The big dilema now is what extra programs to put them in. Julia has been studying dance the last few years but she is not that excited about it. She will also try volley ball this year and I will insist they both do skiing lessons. After this year they will both be good enough in skiing to just take the occasional lesson unless they want to get more serious about it. Giaovanni, we are not sure what to do with him, swimming maybe and what else we are not sure.