expat countdown meme

Italian flag looking its best! by Eugenio Palisi on FlickrMy fellow American in Calabria, Cherrye of My Bella Vita, did this meme a looooong time ago, but I’m just getting around to it.

She got it from Expat Travels: From Switzerland to Canada (where I saw it as well) who got it from The CanadianSwiss Blog…and as I’ve been promising Diane of Martinis for Two that I’d talk a bit more about my expat feelings, I figured now was as good a time as any to do this one.

* Name 5 things you love in your new country:

  • Knowing that a neighbor always has something I need–parsley, lemons, tomatoes, gossip (yes, even things I don’t need!).
  • The sea, the sea, the beautiful Ionian Sea and the mountains, the mountains, the gorgeous mountains–all from my balcony!
  • Fresh, organic food that is readily available and relatively inexpensive.
  • Clean, fresh air.
  • Not having to worry about health insurance.

* Name 4 things that you miss from your native country:

* Name 3 things that annoy you a bit (or much) in your new country:

* Name 2 things that surprise you (or have surprised you in the beginning) in your new country:

  • How difficult it has been to get to know Italian women as friends.
  • The entire Italian education system, including how long it takes many to get through university.

* Name 1 thing that you would terribly miss in your new country, if you had to leave it.

  • Well, P of course, but also the Italian language. I’m not sure I could do without it anymore. I came here knowing nothing, but now I’m addicted.

Fellow expats, do play along!

But hey, even if you’ve moved from one place to another within the same country, I’d be interested to read your answers to this meme–sometimes moving within a country can feel just as foreign as hopping the pond.


[tags]expats, italy, expats in italy, memes[/tags]

21 Beans of Wisdom to “expat countdown meme”
  1. 02.12.2008

    Thanks for sharing. Always good to *know* you better!!! PS…do you know that I just saw my first *Nutella* commercial on TV last night !! I feel like that World Nutella Day…must have had a huge impact πŸ˜‰

    My Melange’s last blog post..Blimey Limey Olive Oil

    That’s so funny about the Nutella commercial! They’ve upped their TV presence here as well lately.

  2. I enjoyed reading this meme (esp. your first five).

    Sorry about being a grouch yesterday. I was dealing with movers and having a melt down, which made me think about all the goals I had on my list of things to do before 40. My self pity moment has passed…for now. πŸ™‚

    nyc/caribbean ragazza’s last blog post..Ciao! Welcome to Italian bureaucracy.

    Glad you enjoyed, and there’s *no* need to apologize! We all have self-pity parties sometimes; we wouldn’t be human without them, I don’t think. And anyway, that wasn’t how your comment came across to me. Hope the movers have done their job and gotten out of your way πŸ˜‰

  3. 02.12.2008

    Oh, that was fun! I have a love/hate relationship with memes. I rarely do them, but I love reading them on other people’s blogs and getting to know them better!

    kacey’s last blog post..Things that Make Me Smile

    I know what you mean Kacey, believe me πŸ™‚

  4. 02.12.2008

    Very interesting meme, but I don’t understand about the food. You mean if you want Chinese or Ethiopian or Greek food you wouldn’t be able to find it anywhere????

    Anali’s last blog post..john.he.is

    Unfortunately, that’s exactly what I mean Anali πŸ™ Of course this is partly because I live in the boondocks of Italy way down south; in bigger cities further north, you’d be able to find different ethnic food.

  5. Rosa (something...)

    I agree about getting to know italian women as friends, as I find in Positano, my friends are those who go there on holiday like me. In Luxembourg however the Italians are also expats so getting together is no problem as the Mums from the Italian section at school stick together. It may be different if you meet them in another context.

    I bring my own ethnic food with me when I go to Positano!

    Thanks for your comment Rosa; I think you’re right about the context. I’ve made friends with students (my age and older), for instance, as they’re particularly interested in meeting new people. And I do my best to get ethnic foods shipped in πŸ˜‰

  6. 02.12.2008

    What a great meme! Since my last “country” move was over 20 years ago (yikes!), I don’t think I could do it, but it sure was fun to read!

    The lack of ethnic food thing? That would kill me.

    Karina’s last blog post..Some business to attend to – A Valentine’s Day Giveaway!

    Karina, wouldn’t it be extra-interesting since it’s been *so* long ago…you’ll probably remember things you thought you forgot πŸ˜‰ Believe me, it’s not easy without Chinese take-out/delivery. Not at all.

  7. 02.12.2008

    How lucky you are to have such a beautiful view from your balcony! But I’m sure you must be homesick at times. But just think, your friends and family have such a great place to visit! I’d be booking a trip every year!!(ha ha)

    Marie’s last blog post..FAGIOLI !!!

    Ciao Marie, sure homesickness is natural, although at this point (about 5 years later), it’s mostly for family and friends than anything else. Hopefully some will visit soon πŸ™‚

  8. 02.12.2008

    I may do this, since moving from NYC to rural CO is a pretty big change… πŸ™‚

    I read your Italian words to be careful with post and giggled over penne. It is hard to get used to making sure you pronounce all those letters perfectly. Thankfully, I had my husband’s previous experience in Italian to help me when I started taking it.

    But yes, I’d love to move there and learn Italian. Though I’m not sure about a Prime Minister who will pick his nose and eat it, especially when he knows he is surrounded by people. Ew. I’m sure you’ve seen that video? It’s on YouTube.

    Mae’s last blog post..A poem I wrote…

    Yes I think your move definitely qualifies for this meme! And let’s hope that the nose-picker won’t be the Prime Minister again. I’m hoping anyway.

  9. 02.12.2008

    Hey Michelle, this is a great meme…I will make a note to join in really soon πŸ™‚ Also, I really liked your 40 before 40 list. My b-day is next week so I may follow suit!

    erin’s last blog post..10 things :: that happened last week

    Yeah Erin! Can’t wait to read your lists πŸ™‚

  10. Mary

    Yes, you did mention Berlusconi, but you can mention him again. He’s definitely annoying, to put it nicely. Like the meme though. One of these days, I’ll have to do a version. πŸ™‚

    Mary’s last blog post..Round and around we go….

    Glad you enjoyed Mary…seriously, who *likes* Berlusconi?!

  11. vanessa

    haven’t commented for a while but i’m back with my list:

    5 things I love about Italy:
    – The long, hot summers with gentle sun that doesn’t burn my skin
    – aqua frizzante
    – watching random ‘life events’ happening in the street. eg arguments about parking etc (as long as I am not involved it is v entertaining!)
    – family always on hand to help when you have problems
    – it’s in europe so v close and easy to visit other european countries

    4 things I miss from my home country
    – decent public services (swimming pools, libraries, parks, schools, doctors etc) and almost total lack of bureaucracy
    – the people. So helpful and friendly. Everyone’s can-do attitude in stark contrast to Sicily. Actually this is the MAIN thing I miss!
    – a range of foreign foods (hear you loud and clear on that one, bleeding espresso!)
    – my friends and family

    3 things that annoy me in my new country
    – everything so very complicated and takes longer
    – the way people drive or more specifically the way they stop and double park all over the show, creating huge traffic jams
    – being stared at and/ or being ripped off in shops etc. Happens ALL the time.

    2 things that surprise me about my new country
    – contrast between the facts that people are so totally anal about the inside of their houses (every one i’ve been to looks like something from a home and garden magazine) yet so totally unconcerned about anything outside their walls ie all the trash and graffiti etc
    – that people are SO stuck in their ways and there is only one way to do everything. Although if there is a ‘law’ on said thing, there will be a million ways around it….

    1 thing I would miss terribly if i left my new country
    – my husband and my adopted stray cats!

    These are so good Vanessa. I almost got into one of those arguments this morning when someone thought *I* was throwing water off the balcony (was my neighbor). Phew! Dodged a bullet there! Also I know I’ve written about that weird dichotomy of clean house/litterbug. *So* weird. And also, I agree about being stuck in their ways…my MIL won’t even go to a different supermarket even though I’ve shown her the prices and selection are better. Mah.

  12. 02.12.2008

    What a great post, Michelle. It’s interesting to see the things you love about each experience.

    Grazie Nikki πŸ™‚ Thanks for commeting!

  13. 02.12.2008

    Great list, Michelle! πŸ™‚


    Christina Arbini’s last blog post..How To Catch A Firefly

    Thanks! I could definitely add to it (on all levels), but I must follow the meme rules!

  14. 02.12.2008

    All very interesting EXCEPT ABOUT DUKE. Please! You realize I just moved from Raleigh and although I live in Germany now my blood is still Carolina Blue.

    And don’t mention the last game, ok?

    Diane Mandy’s last blog post..View from the kitchen window

    Well no one is perfect Diane πŸ˜‰

  15. 02.13.2008

    Berlusconi bugs me and I don’t even live in Italy. Who the heck supports him? The Milan FC soccer team fans? OH, but I can hardly talk has Bush has been elected here twice. Thank God he can’t be elected for a third time or we would be bombing Iran right about now.

    Homebody at Heart’s last blog post..A Perfect San Francisco Day

    Homebody, unfortunately from the choices in this coming election, there’s still a chance for bombing….

  16. Gil

    It is really sad that fascist Berlusconi even stands a chance of getting back in power.

    Just amazing, isn’t it?

  17. 02.13.2008

    You know what? My stupid google reader is doing it again. It’s not picking up on your posts. I wonder why?

    And nice to get a glimpse of your passions about your chosen country!

    jen of a2eatwrite’s last blog post..What’s Cooking Wednesday: Jen’s Chocolate Custard

    I don’t know what the deal is Jen–your Google Reader just hates me! Boo.

  18. Joanne

    ooooh, this I should really do, but not tonight. Things have changed sooo much in Italy since I came here (1993). The ethnic food thing is getting better, especially here in Milan. There is even a wider selection of ethnic restaurants and most supermarkets carry some stuff now. Mostly though I’ve had to learn to improvise! More on that soon! Happy V day, hope you and P have a lovely day.

    Joanne’s last blog post..The Best Pasta Sauce in the World

    I hope you will do this meme and also that you’ll share some of your workaround secrets….

  19. 02.14.2008

    Yes, the jeans. I’ve bought many since returning home. And Italian women never became easier for me even after 15 years.
    And Berlusconi! Ah, but over here across the pond we’re still stuck with George W. for a bit more…
    Reading your comments were like reading my own.

    jennifer’s last blog post..there once was a girl

    Jennifer, I don’t know how you did it without the Internet–not just for the ease of communication with family and friends but also for the “there, theres” of fellow women in your position. Especially when you’re a tad anti-social like both of us are, it’s easy to think it’s us, isn’t it? I’m so happy to hear it’s at least a little not only me πŸ˜‰

  20. Bipolarlawyercook

    What is that with the jeans? Does the EU mandate that there be only two sizes, wicked tight and wicked, inappropriately tight?

    Bipolarlawyercook’s last blog post..Overwrought hypochondriac feeble whiny deathwatch, day 3

    Hey you don’t happen to be in Parliament do you?

Michelle KaminskyMichelle Kaminsky is an American attorney-turned-freelance writer who lived in her family's ancestral village in Calabria, Italy for 15 years. This blog is now archived. 

Calabria Guidebook

Calabria travel guide by Michelle Fabio



Homemade apple butter
Green beans, potatoes, and pancetta
Glazed Apple Oatmeal Cinnamon Muffins
Pasta with snails alla calabrese
Onion, Oregano, and Thyme Focaccia
Oatmeal Banana Craisin Muffins
Prosciutto wrapped watermelon with bel paese cheese
Fried eggs with red onion and cheese
Calabrian sausage and fava beans
Ricotta Pound Cake