What is the name of the city or town that you are reporting on?
Did you receive any cross-cultural training for your move abroad? If yes, was it before or after the move?
I tried as much as possible to educate myself on the culture, and learn the language, before the move.
Expat health insurance to suit your needs. Get affordable healthcare cover that gives you more. AXA - Global Healthcare has supported members globally for over 50 years; including professionals and their families, expatriates worldwide, workers in remote regions, and many others embracing life abroad.
Learn More Get a Quote
If they speak another language in your new country, do you speak the language? If yes, did you learn the language before you moved or while abroad? If no, are you planning to learn the language?
I speak what I call, "Engliano". I study everyday but I seem to take one step forward and two steps back daily.
Were you worried or concerned about culture shock before you moved abroad?
No, I wasn't. I felt that it would be the same as when I visited. It seemed pretty advanced but just older. I wasn't worried one bit.In fact, I welcomed the change and new life.
How significant was the culture shock you experienced when you moved abroad?
Severe! Depression, crying, wanting to go home, rejection of the culture, idealizing my own culture, embracing the culture on some days, rejecting it the next. I'm still bouncing from stage to stage.
Expats often talk about going through the "stages of culture shock." Examples include the honeymoon phase, the irritation-to-anger stage, the rejection of the culture stage, and the cultural adjustment phase. Do you feel like you went through these or any other stages as you settled into the new culture?
Yes, although I feel the adjustment stage feels like a prop plane taking off with turbulence. I hope you understand that one.
What, if any, were some of the changes you noticed in yourself that might have been caused by culture shock? These might include things such as anger, depression, anxiety, increased eating or drinking, frustration, homesickness, etc.
Tan skin and tall as I am multiracial. I will be honest, there is a lot of sex trafficking here and the prostitutes seem to be either from Brazil, Russia, Ukraine, the Dominican Republic or Nigeria. So if you are blond or look like any of the above mentioned, get ready. Everyone seems to think that I am either Brazilian, Dominican or Moroccan, so I got a few pocketbook grabbing, stares, propositions. I might add that once the people realized I was American, they would soften.
As far as being tall is concerned. I think had I been able to find nice clothing in my size, I would have felt better. Anything over a 7 1/2 American size shoe, gets stuffed into a size 40 if you are a woman. Clothes for a tall 6 footer are mostly XXL and even then, sometimes they are too tight across the shoulders( I am a size 2 by the way)
I also couldn't find cosmetics that weren't too dark or too light. Everything was some kind of bronzer that turned two shades darker or gray. It was also a challenge to find hair products for curly hair. I have since adjusted and found loads of things but in the beginning, it was depressing. I was constantly being stared at because I was different, so I always felt that I should look my best and couldn't. Boy that was hard....next!
What are some things you appreciate most about the new culture?
The natural beauty and the history. There is so much history here, beyond the ancient ruins. I like to walk around town and when I see a street named after a person, I learn about it.
I love the old people: they seem to be more accepting, sociable and
What are the most challenging aspects of the new culture?
The language, sex roles, classism and being an outsider. The language is difficult due to the sentence structures and loads of pronouns.
Too much male and female and posturing. It SEEMS as if women are meant to be like a combination of dolls and domestic servants.
Classism - if they think you have money, they are extremely nice. If they think you are average or poor then, you are invisible. To me, it seems as if they everyone is concerned with giving the appearance of having money or wealth. Wealthy people are treated as if they are gold and average are treated like pests.
Being a perpetual outsider - I am the American woman - when properly identified - so I always feel evaluated. People will watch everything you do, and how you do it. They are very curious and for someone from New York, that can be annoying.
Did you "commit" any embarrassing or humorous cultural blunders? If you did and you'd like to share them, please do tell!
Numerous, but I don't care because I am the perpetual outsider - the American. I live my life around diversity, being multiracial. I am different and if I am living here, I not only want to absorb but also share.
Had people not shared in the past, the Jewish community would have kept that awesome coffee to themselves.
Do you have any advice or thoughts about culture shock you would like to share?
Be prepared to open your own business, if you plan on working.
Don't expect to find the same food or products in grocery stores.
Don't expect anything to be translated.
Try to connect with other expats,as you may not be afforded the opportunity to connect with the locals. Sometimes, they can be very standoffish with an air of cultural superiority.
If you are American, expect many to believe that your culture is everything seen in the movies or videos.
If you are a teenager, and person of color, don't be surprised if young hiphop listeners use the N word. Don't get angry,and don't blame them, blame hiphop.
If you are Native American, don't be surprised if you see the words, "Rosso Pelle" or Red skin in school and childrens books.
If you are Jewish, don't be surprised to see swastika graffiti on the walls.
Lastly, don't be frightened by anything I have written in this block. See it and judge for yourself. Just like America, everyone is not the same and every town is different.
Moving to Italia
I've been reading the posts and just joined the site as a member. We expect to move to Italy as soon as our house sells (July?), and have a lot of Qs. Any advice anyone can give is greatly appreciated.
First, some background in order to forego other preliminary questions. Wife is Italian, dual US; I am US only. Married 25+ yrs; registered with comune since 1993. Both 62+ yrs old. Moving for retirement to her hometown of Padova, where family lives. We intend to stay with them until we buy a house (apt, condo, ?), ASAP, no mortgage. Retirement income is limited to SS. Savings are not unlimited. Coming from California.
Now for the questions:
1) We might need a 20-ft container, max. Who is the best shipper at the cheapest price? Destination ports say Livorno (closest), but why not Mestre (which is geographically closer)? Since we don't yet have an address (staying with family until we buy), will the shipping company store the items until we send for them? At what cost?
More importantly, will I have to make wooden crates for our items in order for them to be stored in a company warehouse? Is it easier to buy my own shipping container and pack it for storage and later shipping? Are there any problems with that line of action? (ie- insurance, actually getting someone else to ship MY container? etc?). Seems like it would be easier all around, but what does one do with a used container in Italy?
2) I will need a PdiS. I can get that after arrival, if I understand correctly. Is my understanding correct? It seems like there are time limits (8 days) that may or may not apply to me as the spouse of a citizen. ???
3) My wife is on US Medi-Care, but I am not. Am I entitled to Italian healthcare as the spouse of an Italian citizen? Do I need my own health insurance instead? Current rules say that I must continue to pay for US Obamacare coverage for 9 months after departure from the US, which is stupid since I will not be able to use it at all. Any ideas on that? Also, can my wife, who will probably never return to live in the US, quit her Medi-Care without financial or other penalty? Also, since I may not be covered, can I at least get my US-over-the-counter meds through an Italian pharmacy without any problems? Seems like it should be easy to do, but . . .???
4) Does the restriction on importation of "art" include original items? Both of us are artists, with plenty of proof. Can we bring our own artwork with us without incurring import fees? Seems like we could so do, as ordinary (to us) household items, but Italian rules sometimes define their own path. Some of the art is large; one wants to avoid complications.
5) I have owned the same 70-yr old motorcycle for 37+ years but never had an original bill of sale (from my brother). There is plenty of proof (title, registration, etc). I ride it regularly to this day (proof of current registration and insurance). Can I bring this over without that "original bill of sale"? Is it now an "antique" subject to added fees? Or does the word "antique" only apply to art? Are there any other financial considerations that require attention? Are there any other considerations that are not financial? I don't wish to pay more in fees and other requirements than it is worth, so I am talking about admin fees, import duties, annual registrations, mechanical check-ups and other requirements like that. I can guarantee that it is not up to modern standards because it was made before modern times. We will not be bringing any other motor vehicles. If it is burdensome then it will stay here. But just in case, can I put it into the same shipping container (inside its own crate, of course) with the household goods?
6) We will bring 4x cats. Once we get the required documentation here, are there any barriers on that side? Does each cat require it's own shipping container? (seems like it would be a good idea even if not required, but I don't know that answer). Are there any things I should know about particular airline treatments for animals? (ie- who to avoid?). Any other info on how to bring those furry family members with us? Note: one cat is 19 yrs old; leaving her behind is the equivalent of an immediate death sentence, bringing her with us is only slightly better than that. I would bring her. Suggestions?
7) What to bring? No appliances, TVs, or lamps are coming with us, but what about a copier/scanner that is wired for both US and EU? Modem? Wi-Fi router? I understand there is an import duty on those electronic items. True? What about tools? I have a few electrical tools that are all US (saws, drills, etc). Ignoring the different electrical cycles (60 v. 50), should I buy a voltage transformer and just burn them out on the cycles? Seems cheaper than selling them for pennies here and buying brand new EU tools that may outlast me. Thoughts? What about pneumatic tools? Are the couplings different such as would require adaptors (remember: US threads on US couplings, the solution to which is to bring adaptor hoses with US couplings at one end and EU (metric thread) couplings at the other end). Also, I tend to work at home out of a garage. Is this a problem in Italy? Do Italians do this sort of thing? One wants to be a good neighbor. While this is almost expected here, it may not be so there. Is it even allowable to work out of one's garage, making noise and dust and such? I am not talking about a home-business such as would invite a visit from the Guardia di Finanza, but just making things. Advice?
I think that is all for now, but there is sure to be more. Any info is greatly appreciated, even if only to one part of my many questions. Thanks in advance. Henry.
Post a Reply