Ramblings: Children, the secret to expat life

I think back on the last two years, I congratulate myself on being a ‘successful expat‘ here in Italy. I’m here, I’m still here and I’m staying here. I don’t want to leave.

Then I stop to consider why the biggest threat to expat life, particularly in a smaller town hasn’t yet struck me. I’m talking about loneliness. Sometimes expat life can get lonely, and the thing calling you home, your friends and family – that’s hard to replicate abroad. That sense of home, belonging and comfort.

So why aren’t I searching for that now. Two years later…

The answer is simple. It’s having your child/ren with you. Not only do you not have to miss your family, but – and here’s the real killer secret – kids get you a free ticket into a town, into a community.

There really is no better way to make friends than to bring your kid to a new town, and even better once they’re integrated into the schooling system. You’ll have access to a huge supportive friends network. The younger the kids the better too – there’s no better way to bond than to endeavour on an education journey for the first time – and at the same time – with the locals.

And this will come as no surprise, in Italy having kids is definitely the secret to making friends. Italians adore children, adore it even more if you’re raising your children as Italian too.

And, again what better way to teach your children Italian than to send them to school in Italy. Speaking of school, the new year is just heading back this week. The little ones – for us on the Riviera – next week.

And school – I’m talking about the equivalent of kindergarten or nursery school – is more reasonably priced than any kindergarten or daycare facility in Australia. And the one we are going to is semi-private too.

The monthly cost for La Scuola Materna for us is 180 euros – in Australia we were paying close to this for a single day!!

Why am I talking about schooling and costs… because I feel like the dream of the digital nomad/expat life is often considered over once you have had children.

But I’m telling you the secret to expat life is children – here it is even more enjoyable and economical than similar options we had in Australia.

So go on, be an expat. Bring your kids and be a long-term, don’t miss your home kind of expat!

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Ramblings: There’s no work/life balance, it’s just life

Once you’ve found your ‘La dolce vita’ – and no, it may not just be in Italy for everyone.

It’s now been almost two years of living in the remarkable little corner of the world that we stumbled on – by accident of course. It’s changed me, changed my path, changed my drivers and changed my rhythm.

Now when I travel, I dream of coming home – here to Santa Margherita. It’s a surreal place, Ligurian mountains nestled in the bay of Tigullio. You’ve got the Med on one side and a massive national park on the other. We’re a stone’s throw from the lustre of Portofino and the Instagramable Cinque Terre – although to be honest the whole Ligurian coast is Instagramable.

But it’s not these qualities that have resonated with my soul, it is the way of life. The Italian cultural embrace that we have found in this little niche paradise. Yes locals may tell you it’s a small town, with a small town mindset. But I am either oblivious to this, or as an outsider am unaffected.

I thought I was a city-girl, loved to be lost in the crowd. Anonymous.

Ramblings: Is a new series, where I will share my random musings from living my remarkable digital nomadic lifestyle on the Italian Riviera.

Continue reading “Ramblings: There’s no work/life balance, it’s just life”

Cleaning up Italy’s garbage

As a foreigner Italy’s garbage disposal procedure can be annoying, confronting and at times down-right stinky.

When confronted with the idea of having to walk my household garbage down the street to the nearest garbage bins I was immediately taken a back. The thought of parading my garbage across the piazza for all to see and assess was a little overwhelming. That was my feeling several years ago anyway, when I first moved to Florence. Continue reading “Cleaning up Italy’s garbage”

A soggiorno in a Sicilian satellite city

Italy is known for its northern wonders, perhaps more so than its southern wonders. The tourists flock to the northern attractions and often miss the south entirely. And even then, those that venture south only happen by the star attractions missing much of the south.

It is true that the south – and I’m talking the very south, Sicily – can be more difficult to tackle as a tourist than her northern counterparts. But your efforts will be repaid in a rich cultural experience. Continue reading “A soggiorno in a Sicilian satellite city”