Interview with Barb (and Art) in Umbria
Date of Interview: August 29, 2006
Area of Italy you live or will live in ?
Let us know a little about yourself?
Married, both retired from the US Postal Service. Adult children and grandchildren in the states.
Why did you decide/have you decided to move to Italy?
Unexplainable...we first visited when my son was stationed here, and within 3 years, we were living here! The draw was just something intangible. but the food, scenery, history, and ease of travel (within Italy and throughout Europe) were certainly factors
What type of process did you go through to be able to move here?
We asked questions, and more questions, and MORE questions! Most of the information was gained thru the SlowTalk message board, directly or thru contacts made there. (This was before Expats in Italy existed)
What problems did you run into during the initial process and how were you able to fix them ?
The biggest problem we had was with the real estate purchase. We used an English company, and they were not at all knowledgeable about requirements for Americans. Eventually, with the help of our proxy and the listing agency, we were able to complete the purchase. Another problem we had was with MY codice fiscale. Not realizing the implications, I filled out the online form exactly as directed, which resulted in my codice fiscale being issued in my MAIDEN name, not my married name. In order to close on our house my codice fiscale had to match my passport, requiring a change. The Detroit consulate was insistent that my codice fiscale could not be changed, and it eventually took an Italian immigration lawyer (and €200) to tell the Italian consulate that the law does allow for the codice fiscale to be issued with the name I use in my native country.
How long have you been here?
Three years in September 2006
What type of adjustment problems have you had?
Most things cost more in Italy. Shopping is a challenge...stores are all over the place, and we end up driving more than we shop! The afternoon closings were bothersome while we were shopping a lot when we first arrived. Learning how the different systems work...that we must renew our car registration in January...no one sends you a notice! Learning that we must pay our ICI taxes and garbage tax at the correct times.
What do you wish someone had told you before you made the leap ?
Learn the language! Really learn it...not just a few words/phrases! We also wish someone with a crystal ball had warned us about the impending decline of the US dollar. Remember, exchange rates can change, for the better OR for the worse. If you're going to be living only on a US based pension, this could be important!
What inside secret could you pass on to others looking to move over ?
Make friends with an "insider"...someone who knows Italians and the Italian system, but still someone who will understand your American (or whatever) perspective. We have our own 'guardian angel' here who is is not only fluent but who also works in the real estate business, so she's able to help with info on utilities, where to buy things for the house, etc.
Do you have any disappointments, things you thought would happen but haven't for whatever reasons ?
Other than the decline fo the dollar, resulting in less euro each month, no.
What has changed about you since you have been here ?
Of course we don't have to get up and go to work anymore, but really, I don't think either of has changed much. I'm still the worrier and planner, altho I do try to relax more. I was always worried about what Art would do when he retired since he didn't have any hobbies, but somehow the days just seem to flow, one into the other.
Do you think that you will stay forever?
At this moment, yes, but we don't really think in terms of "forever" anymore. Because our move to Italy was so completely unexpected, we're now much more open to the possibility that one day we'll move again.