I am Gillian Longworth McGuire on twitter and instagram as @gmcguireinrome and I live in Rome, Italy.
1. Why did you move abroad?
My first expat experience was when I moved to Niamey, Niger in 1991 to work for an American NGO. After spending 6 years in the sahelien desert, where I met my husband, we had a child (who is now 16) , moved to Harare, Zimbabwe in 1998 and finally here to Rome in 2006.
2. How do you make a living?
I have a several different things that keep me busy.
First, I am a writer. I have authored an App, Rome for Expats, with all of my picks for where to find things like bagels, an english speaking dentist and the best hamburgers in Rome. I have a blog www.gillianslists.com, where I talk about where I eat and where I go in Rome and beyond. I also help others with content for their blogs.
I am also a Social Media consultant, which is a fancy sounding title for helping people best harness social media for their business or online presence. I curate information for several local business, tour operators and villa owners.
The last hat I wear is helping new arrivals adjust to their new home in Rome.
3. How often do you communicate with home and how?
Through Facebook, every day. I Skype with friends and family a few times a month.
4. What's your favorite thing about being an expat in Rome?
The pace. It is paradoxically slow and chaotic at the same time. The light. the bright clear blue skies in winter and soft warm orange cast in summer. The clank of coffee cups and ciao’s and my local coffee bar.
5. What’s the worst thing about being an expat in Rome?
There is not much to complain about here. Bureaucracy can be tedious. I recently had to change some information with my internet company. It required sending a fax!
6. What do you miss most?
From Tennessee I miss BBQ and sweet tea and the sounds of cicadas. From Southern Africa I miss hot summer Christmases, biltong and Sunday braiis. From Washington DC, I miss political buzz, Mexican food, salty oat cookies and a long wander around Kramerbooks
7. What did you do to meet people and integrate in your new home?
I joined lots of expat clubs and went to every cocktail, coffee, meet-up that was offered.
8. What custom/ habits do you find most strange about your adopted culture?
The abject fear of airconditioning on a 40 degree day.
9. What is a myth about your adopted country?
The myth of La Dolce Vita. That life in Italy is laid back and relaxed.
I find there are a lot of rules that Italians follow. When to eat, what to eat, what to wear, when to wear it. They notice if you are not following them too.
10. Is the cost of living higher or lower than the last country you lived in and how has that made a difference in your life?
The economy in Zimbabwe was in free fall for many of the years we lived there, so the cost of living in dramatically different in Rome. The biggest difference in our life is much less international travel. But that’s OK because there is so much to see and do in Italy that in nearly eight years we have hardly noticed.
11. What advice would you give other expats?
Slow down, embrace chaos, learn Italian.
12. When and why did you start your blog?
Since college days friends have asked for my recommendations of things to do/eat/see. After living in Rome for two years, in 2008 I decided to do something constructive with all of the information I had collected and so started blogging. In 2012 I compiled another set of information that I had been researching and sharing privately and created my App Rome For Expats.
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