Posts Tagged ‘relocating’

Italy: The Countdown Begins

Thursday, September 17th, 2009

It’s just a few weeks until I move back to my beloved Italy.

In July I booked my ticket for October 5, thinking I had all the time in the world.  Up until just last week, I still thought I had all the time in the world.  And now I have less than three weeks.  Where did all that time go?  I’m not ready!

I’ve never been a big “prepare in advance” type person.  When I moved to Switzerland at the beginning of 2002, I think I packed everything the day before.  When I moved to Italy in 2006, I started packing two days before, but got most of it done the day before (and also spilled wine on my laptop, which brought on quite a bit of stress).  When I decided to live in Argentina I was already there so I didn’t have to prepare.  I did go back to Seattle for a couple of weeks to get more of my things, but that’s about it.  And now, Italy again.  I would love to start my preparations right now, I really would, but I have so much going on with Tango that I won’t be able to think about getting ready until I have just four days left.

The nice thing about having moved abroad several times already is that I don’t have too much stuff.  A lot of folks have houses, furniture, pets and multiple boxes of books to worry about.  Since I already went through something like that the first time around, I have managed to narrow my belongings down to fit into 2 suitcases, 1 laptop case, and 1 overnight bag to hold my umpteen pairs of tango shoes. (Hey, some people have their books, I have my tango shoes. )  So it’s really just a matter of packing it all in an organized way.  And doing so quickly.

I fly into Rome and I actually had the foresight to book a bed for a night in the Eternal City.  (It’s that or risk missing the last train to Perugia and being stuck in Rome with no place to stay.)  Otherwise, that’s the most prepared I get.  I’ve finally learned to accept this about myself, even if it means I’m a hellish nervous wreck to be around on my last day in town.

What’s your packing process when you move somewhere new?

Tina Ferrari is a translator, writer and tango dancer who will soon be based in Italy.  She writes at as well as on her own blog, Tina Tangos. Comments are always welcome!

Why We Move

Thursday, September 3rd, 2009

What is it that attracts us to a place?  What inspires us to take the leap across the ocean to make a new country our home?

Some people move for work, others for the experience of living in a new place with a new culture and language, and yet others for love.  Then there are those of us who just feel “right” in a certain place.  We all have different reasons for being inspired enough by a country to live there.  I’ve moved for plenty of different reasons.  Having lived abroad several times, every motivation was unique, as was every experience.

Heritage. In my case, my love affair with Italy began when I was born.  Born to an Italian-American family, I was exposed to all things Italian from the get-go.  I still remember sitting in my great-grandmother’s kitchen when I was a child, listening her speak to me in Italian mixed with broken English while she fed me.  At the time, I had never guessed that I would live there, but once I started traveling to Italy, it was apparent in my heart that it would be my home.  When I found out I qualified to be an Italian citizen, I was overjoyed and jumped into the long bureaucratic process of becoming Italian.  Moving to Italy means moving back to my roots.

Love for a person. After I finally took the leap and moved to Italy for the first time, I also fell in love – with an Argentine.  Next thing I knew, all I had created for myself in Italy was put on hold so I could follow a man to Buenos Aires.   It was very romantic, this move, but it certainly brought up its own set of challenges.  After about a month and a half in Argentina we were in Seattle again, for various practical reasons.  The relationship didn’t work out but I did fall in love with Buenos Aires and went back to live on my own for a year and a quarter.

Love for a place. Some people get quite attached to places.  Every time I traveled to Italy, the moment I would set foot on Italian soil, I would sigh as though arriving home.  I moved there because I wanted to go home.  It is my home.  Those hills with their ancient olive trees are part of who I am.  I know expats who feel this way about Spain, France, England and many other places.  Sometimes the pace of a city just fits with how you do things.  Maybe you find it easier to adapt to the cultural habits of a certain country more than your own.  Maybe you just like it.

Something different. Eight years ago, a good friend of mine returned from living in Italy for a year.  I was inspired, envious.  I had just made some changes in my life and wanted to do something new, take a new direction.  I needed something different, and a totally new environment sounded just right.  I had already traveled a considerable amount, but had never considered living abroad.  I got tired of feeling jealous of people who “got to do” these things and created an opportunity for myself.  I closed my eyes, put my finger on a map of Europe, and it landed on Switzerland.   I made it happen and spent eight months working as an au-pair and  taking the train to Italy as much as possible.  I became the perpetual expat you see here today.

What inspired you to make the move?

Tina Ferrari is a translator, writer and tango dancer who will soon be based in Italy.  She writes at as well as on her own blog, Tina Tangos. Comments are always welcome!

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