From Texas to Rome: Texana in Italia

Published 2013-08-26 11:49:30

Texana in Italia poggerino Ciao! I’m Whitney, a native of Texas (Fort Worth!) and now I live in Rome, Italy.

1. Why did you move abroad?  
I moved abroad for many reasons, but the most important ones were that my Italian boyfriend of three years was returning home to Rome, and I had always wanted to live in a large city in Europe.

2. How do you make a living?  

For the most part, I don’t.  When I made the decision to move abroad I applied to the American University of Rome and sold my car and many of my belongings in order to make it for the first semester and/or year.  My boyfriend and now husband takes care of rent, bills and major expenses while I study. That’s the really convenient part; however I’m used to working and miss it terribly. I do however supplement our income by tutoring young Italian students or adults in English from time to time. I’m looking for work though, but having an excellent control of the Italian language is very helpful. I worked in the museum industry in my native Texas and would love to return to work someday in this capacity or in tourism.

3. How often do you communicate with home and how?
I contact most friends and family via email or Skype, but I telephone my mother weekly.  We usually have a Monday phone call to catch up.  Sometimes we do this on Skype because it’s great to see each other’s face, but Skype does not always cooperate, so it’s back to the telephone.

4. What's your favorite thing about being an expat in Italy?
Being an expat in Italy is definitely challenging, but I love testing my own boundaries and trying to conquer my own fears and misguided opinions by actually immersing myself in another culture. When you’re an expat you see more than tourists ever will and some of this can be disenchanting, but in the end it makes you realize that no place is perfect, but some places may be more perfect for you, your beliefs or lifestyle.  It also makes you confront different aspects of yourself.  There are things that I thought I would miss from my country that I don’t and things that I did not seem to care for from my home that seem much more important to me now.  It’s all relative to where one is in life and their experiences.

5. What’s the worst thing about being an expat in Italy?
The worst thing is that no matter how open you try to be to other beliefs and habits, your own upbringing, education and culture does color your perception of things, it’s inescapable, but being aware of this fact is the most helpful way to overcome stereotyping and intolerance.

6. What do you miss most?
That’s hard to narrow down, but driving my car on long, clear roads with big skies.  Driving in Rome is anything but relaxing, but back in Texas it was therapeutic and almost meditative.  I spent a lot of time on open highways; it’s wasteful but a fact of life in certain U.S. locations.  In order to move around one must have a car in most situations and you become accustomed to quiet time in a car. I do most of my thinking, even creative thinking when driving. I truly miss that outlet and personal time and space.

7. What did you do to meet people and integrate in your new home?  
Attending university is a great way to make friends, especially friends that are experiencing some of the same obstacles and difficulties that you are.  International organizations, meet-up groups and language courses/exchanges are also indispensable tools for making friends and alliances.

8. What custom/ habits do you find most strange about your adopted culture?
The language or dialect of Romans is quite colorful and back home we have many zany expressions, but I had never encountered so many words that refer to genitalia to make emphatic exclamations. This I find very strange and cannot help but remark how inappropriate it seems at times. I’ll refrain from using the terms I hear often here!

9. What is a myth about your adopted country?
That all Italians are bubbling, open and warm.  This personality exists like anywhere, but it is not a fact or characteristic of all Italians.

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 cost of living in Rome, in the center specifically, is much higher than Fort Worth, Texas. It has made a difference in the amount of spare change my husband and I have to do certain things or has made us make choices about how many dinners we have “out on the town” or how much space we think we need to live comfortably. Oh and the gas prices! A huge consideration in Italy.

11. What advice would you give other expats?
Definitely don’t let fear prevent you from giving life abroad a chance, let any fears or apprehensions you have serve as a catalyst and inspiration to try new things.  Conquer them, but plan, plan, and plan, and steel your nerves for bumps and setbacks.  They will happen, there will be many bad and frustrating experiences, but if you persevere you will also experience much satisfaction and reward.  Rome can be so infuriating, but it has so many hidden wonders to offer that are just waiting to be discovered. Oh and learn the native language, this provides much needed confidence and prevents many hiccups.

12. When and why did you start your blog?
I started my blog in November of 2008 in preparation of my move to Rome.  It was a way for me to express my feelings and emotions about the journey and initially I wanted to only share it with family and friends, just a method to keep them informed about all the events in a neat and Texana in Italia Monteceliohopefully entertaining way.  After 4 years of logging so many experiences and emotional miles, I decided that it would perhaps be beneficial and instructive to other ex-pats and tourists or lovers of Italy.  I never thought that it would become such a refuge though.  I’ve poured a great amount of my life into the blog and I cannot believe how much time has flown by while living in the eternal city.

Blog LinkWhitney's blog, Texana in Italia

 Guide for expatriates in Rome, Italy

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Author: texkourgan
Part of the adventure since 2008. Drink, Travel, Write

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