I am frequently asked about moving to Italy. Many find the blog because they are dreaming of making just such a move themselves. A few thoughtful souls also want to know about the downsides up front, which I think is smart. No place is perfect, and there are some frustrations and quirks you'll experience living here. Most are little things, little quirks that are different; others are more serious. I thought I'd expound on a couple of them, starting with the biggest one.
So Far Away
Remember the old Dire Straights' tune? The plunky refrain repeating "You're so far away from me..." That's one of the biggest hurdles to living in a foreign land, the distance from loved ones. Not being able to see family and friends regularly can be upsetting. Especially at a time like this.
My uncle is suffering from cancer. Not a "normal" cancer that can be attacked aggressively with chemotherapy or that can be removed with surgery, but a very rare type known as GIST (Gastro-Intestinal Stromal Tumors). He is currently in the hospital with pneumonia and other problems and nearly died this week. My mom is with him and keeping on top of things, keeping him company, and keeping us informed. But it's hard to not be able to "be there now".
This uncle is my mom's younger brother, and he has always been like a brother to me, too. He's one who has always been there, always a stable force in my life, and I hate to see him suffering without being able to offer tangible comfort or a visit and a laugh. Because his condition is currently so serious, phone calls are minimized to let him rest. With tubes up his nose and oxygen pumping, he can't really talk well, anyway. Naturally, I'm worried and upset. So far away, so far I just can't see, as the song goes.
One of the decisions we made when we moved was that we'd always be available to go home at a moment's notice whenever necessary. Our families are too important to us to trifle around, and we'll spend the bucks and move heaven and earth to get there if we need to. If I have to catch a flight, I'll do it without quabbling. This is something that should be considered if you're thinking about moving overseas.
We were fortunate to have already been in the US when my grandmother died, but these are contemplations that merit thorough thought. It really is the biggest drawback.
More light-hearted aspects about life here will follow. What do you consider drawbacks to living in a foreign land?