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x-pat factor: Natalie-an American in Rome

November 21, 2011
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Another post in the series, that you all seem to love and read-another expatriate, living, breathing and enjoying la dolce vita in Rome! I found her blog, An American in Rome, very amusing and useful-I would recommend it to anyone thinking about moving to Italy, for study or work. To put it in her own words : armed with a camera and a lot of patience, her blog is about the process and shock of moving to Italy! Just the person I wanted to interview! 


*Who? My name is Natalie and this is the last year that I can claim to be in my mid-20s. I’ve lived in Rome since September 2010 and am still working on that whole speaking-Italian thing.  I was born and raised in California and this was my first international move.  My professional experience is in online media, so I knew I wanted to document my adventure on the internets. 

*Why Italy? I moved for the food.  I do love to cook, and to eat, but a lot of people don’t know that Rome plays a very important role in food and agriculture all over the world.  Rome is home to three United Nations agencies that deal with food aid and agricultural development.

I have always regretted not taking the time to do study abroad as an undergraduate, so I was really interested in finding an international university to do an advanced degree. When it was time to get my masters, I knew that I wanted to study food security (i.e. ensuring that the world is ‘secure’ in its food supply).  I found a program at a Roman university and it seemed like the perfect mix of study subjects and location. 

*What is the best thing about living in Italy? The pace of life.  The culture here is one of taking time for the things and people you love in life.  There is no shame is four weeks of vacation a year.  No one raises an eyebrow if you order a glass of wine with your two hour lunch.  You spend time with family and friends.

*And what is the worst thing? The pace of life.  Everyone here is always on their four weeks of vacation or 3 hour lunch beaks.  That leaves very few hours of the day for accepting gas bill payments or delivering packages.

Which reminds me, the post office.  By far and away the worst thing about Italy is the post office.  Everything important that you need to take care of takes place at the post office.  Paying bills, processing immigration papers, waiting in line behind pension recipients- post office.

The one thing it seems that post office doesn’t do? Send or deliver mail.  Post packages to your friends in Italy at your own risk. I’d say the delivery rate hovers around 60%.

*What advice would you give to someone considering moving to Italy and starting a new life there? Give yourself plenty of time.  Anything is possible, so you CAN move to Italy. You just need to be very patient. 

Moving to Italy is the most difficult thing I have ever done.  Gathering all the necessary paperwork, the notarizations, the documents from the state of California, bank statements, insurance issues.  The bureaucratic check boxes are endless.  Then you get to Italy and go through the whole process again with Italian authorities.

It’s possible but not a speedy process. Take a breath and practice your Italian.  Knowing the language will make everything easier.

***In case you missed our last x-pat post-here it is!

9 Comments leave one →
  1. November 21, 2011 21:14

    Thank you for including me in the series!

    • Maja permalink
      November 22, 2011 15:21

      My pleasure-and I think the readers have spoken as well-never had more hits for one single post 😉

  2. November 22, 2011 05:56

    Thanks for the great post…its interesting learning how others choose to become expats. Also, its interesting to read how everyone is always on “vacation”..might explain why the country has so much financial trouble..

  3. November 22, 2011 19:20

    Our postal delivery rate is no worse than it was in the UK, around 95% of items arriving and many at great speed, but then we do not live in Roma.

  4. November 24, 2011 13:53

    I am with you on the post office. My least favorite part is how I pay twice for things, once when I order them online to go to my sister’s house in CA, then again when the post office holds it hostage until I pay 20% of what they deem the value to be…..which is always higher than the actual value. And, of course this is always about 6 weeks after my package is sent priority!

  5. November 28, 2011 21:59

    Great post 🙂

  6. Federica permalink
    December 22, 2011 14:46

    I just discovered this blog, and it’s really interesting 🙂
    As an Italian, when I go abroad I often have to deal with people stereotypes, or with the “berlusconi, spaghetti, mafia” thing. So I’m happy so see someone thinking differently!
    About the post office, I absolutely agree with you. When you have to go there, avoid the first days of the month (unless you want to wait forever) and just pray that Poste Italiane won’t mess with your package! 🙂

    • Maja permalink
      December 25, 2011 12:40

      I’ve come adross a lot of stereotypes myself during my studies, just talking to people who knew nothing about Italy and Italians whatsoever, but had their own ideas and oppinions about them, so I decided this blog is a good way of “spreading the love” even if you’ve never been to Italy. I hope more Italians will become included in the process, as well as more expats living there and help with mythbusting!


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