Expat Advice: Dream vs. Reality of Expat Life in
What is the name of the city or town that you are reporting on?
Describe how you "dreamed" expat life would be before you moved overseas. Please provide as much detail as possible.
I dreamed of living in Italy for many years, running my own B&B. I dreamed of sitting around a large table with many friends and neighbors, eating wonderful Italian dishes. I dreamed of exploring the countryside, other towns, even other countries nearby. I dreamed of living a simple life, of having my own garden where I grew my own vegetables. I dreamed of learning to cook Italian dishes, learning the Italian language, and settling into a different way of life.
How has your expat experience met the expectations you dreamed about before you moved abroad?
Almost everything I dreamed of came to fruition, with one important exception. I lived on the side of a mountain, overlooking the Le Marche valley all the way to the Adriatic Sea. I sat for hours at friends' dinner tables, talking endlessly. I explored much of the Le Marche region, and some to the south. I sang in the local choir, became part of the town of Cingoli (wonderful people!). I loved, loved, loved living in Italy, even when we had only one room with heat in the house, and cooked off a small heating element, before we renovated the house.
How has your expat experience NOT met the expectations you dreamed about before you moved abroad?
The only problem, and it was a big one, was our visas. We needed work visas to open a B&B, and the consulate in the U.S. told us it would be no problem to convert our visas into work visas. But when we had the renovation completed, we were not allowed to convert the visa. We were told to go back to the U.S. and start the visa process anew. We were not willing to spend another year just doing that, so we sold the property, got a good price and now we are in Mexico, just weeks from opening our B&B. (Love it here, too.) No one asked for my advice, but if they did I would tell them to just let life in a foreign country take you where it should. Let the little things, such as visa problems, or standing in line at government offices for hours, roll off your back. Complain to each other, get it out of your system, then let it go and realize what a wonderful experience you are having. Do not expect the same way of life you had in the U.S., which is supposed to be the point, no? "When in Rome..." certainly applies here. Stay open to how life is in other countries. You have to go to a laundromat? Oh, well. Think of the interesting people you will meet there - I know we did. Cannot find peanut butter in your local store? Try nutella. Stay open.
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