Interview with Jodi in Perugia
Date of Interview? Jan. 7, 2005
Let us know a little about yourself?
30 years old English teacher, living with boyfriend 5 years in Perugia.
Why did you decide to move to Italy?
3-month Italian course turned into over 6 years now once I met my boyfriend!
What type of process did you go through to be able to move here?
Initially my boyfriend's father sponsored me (this law doesn't exist anymore). Now I have a 2-year renewable work visa (permesso di soggiorno as a freelance worker). When we get married I hope to obtain dual citizenship and put the whole visa mess behind me already!
What problems did you run into during the initial process and how were you able to fix them?
What problems DIDN'T I run into during the initial process!?! It took a lot of leg work from my boyfriend and his dad since they, being Italian, obviously understand the rules a lot more than I do.
How long have you been here?
6 years and 4 months.
What type of adjustment problems have you had?
Lots of them, probably 2 problems for every positive aspect of living here! Language barriers, small town life (including provincial mentalities, lack of international services and food, etc.), bureaucracy, getting my driver's license, understanding the in-laws, the Italian lack of celebration for big events (birthdays, New Year's, Christmas -- in the U.S. we tend to over exaggerate with capitalist sentiment, but here is the other side of the coin entirely)...etc. etc.
What do you wish someone had told you before you made the leap ?
How difficult it would be to be away from my family.
What inside secret could you pass on to others looking to move over?
It's ok if you don't love everything about living here, but try not to become fixated on the bad. Remember, it's no one's choice but yours to be here.
Do you have any disappointments, things you thought would happen but haven't for whatever reasons ?
It's difficult that many people only relate to me as "the American girl" and so it's hard to make real, lasting friendships with many Italians - though I think that's because I am in Perugia, a small city. I have some good expat friends that I've held on strong to, though.
What has changed about you since you have been here ?
EVERYTHING. My newfound patience and self-confidence being the two most noteworthy (and welcomed!) changes.
Do you think that you will stay forever?
Forever is a long way away.
Can you think of anything that you would like seen added to this site?
I am personally looking for information on how to go about the bureaucratic business of marriage to an Italian in Italy. A nice, straightforward LIST to follow.