Today marks the beginning of a new life as I pursue living as an expatriate in Italy. If you’ve been following my blog, you know I recently returned from five weeks in Europe with a quick stopover in New York. I decided while I was Moscow visiting my brother that I would accept his generous offer to live in an apartment he owns in Alba Adriatica, Italy a beachside community near our extended family who lives in Villa Pigna, Italy.
I returned from New York last night after a three day whirlwind tour tacked onto the end of my European vacation. Today I woke up very early (for me) and got the ball rolling on this new journey. My goal with my blog is to morph now into the experiences of an expatriate. I’m hoping that anyone who stumbles upon blog this will find it useful if they are contemplating this step or are actually preparing to move overseas.
Obviously, I’m not living as an expatriate yet. I have to get my ducks in a row here in Oregon. But, you know, living as an expatriate also includes the preparations. I am going to discuss even the mundanities of preparing to leave for overseas and, once there, actually living. I’m sure the experiences will be enlightening. And since they will be my experiences, they will be hilarious. Many people want to live overseas, few ever do it. I think most people view such an adventure as an exoticism and I believe there’s an element of truth to that. However, there are also the frustrations of a new culture, language barriers and difficulties in adjusting. These are in addition to the differences between American culture which is based on convenience and cultures which aren’t. Italy is definitely one of the latter.
So, today I set up an appointment with my surgeon to discuss the results of my prostate surgery last Halloween. We were scheduled to meet late this year so he could chart my recuperation after a year. Since I plan on being in Italy by October 1, I need to see him sooner so we can see where my recovery is and take appropriate steps if there’s problems. If it results in a postponement of Italy, so be it. I don’t want to be over there with major health problems if they can be handled here.
In a bit I’m meeting with my IT guy to discuss the website for my book, This is My Lemonade–An Adoption Story. I will try to get as much accomplished as possible before I leave because once I’m gone, everything will be done over the internet with email, text and Skype. I feel anything that might be better off discussed in person should be done now.
I’ve agreed to participate in a book signing at a community festival in the small arts community of Silverton, Oregon, which also happens to be my birthplace. I was offered the opportunity and took it because I have a bunch of books to unload and I don’t want them sitting in storage. I’m definitely not taking them.
I also visited my mini storage to pull out all the winter clothes that were stored there. Believe it or not, southern Italy can get quite cold and windy during the winter, especially on the Adriatic Coast. I will need my coats and long-sleeved shirts as well as every piece of luggage I’ve got. I’m sure I will be making other trips back as I uncover other needs.
I’ve decided against bringing personal items like mementos or assorted other memorabilia. I figure there’s no reason bringing things that aren’t crucial. If things work out and I’m able to stay long term, then I will gradually bring items important to me each time I return to Oregon.
I will also be stocking up on things that I couldn’t find in Italy–Blistex lip cream, Aloe Vera, gel, bleach stick stain remover and my medication for bipolar disorder. I’ve still got to talk to my counselor about my prescription so I can get a year’s worth before I leave.
I’ve still got a number of things to pursue. Among them, and this list will change:
Speak with my general practitioner
Speak with my dentist and get any work done
Talk with my health insurance provider–will they cover me long term in Italy? Since I’m on COBRA, I will need to find another provider in February of 2015 and might need to do that now.
Check on alternative health insurance
Advertise my car, possibly give my buddy Barry power of attorney if the car isn’t sold before I leave so he can sign on my behalf if it sells afterward
Sell my car
Speak to my insurance agent for my car
Get receipts, tax records and assorted other documents together.
Speak to my bank about my debit cards and my credit card. Can I use them indefinitely over there? Do I need to call them if I take a weekend in Athens or Barcelona? What about service charges?
Get my international driver’s license. I need to get it as close to my departure date as possible otherwise it will expire.
Call all business contacts I have in America to check on potential work opportunities in Le Marche, the region where I’ll be living
Speak with Verizon Wireless regarding my cell phone options
Whew! That’s it for now. Tomorrow is another day. Later today I will be seeing my massage therapist for a much-needed massage from weeks of sleeping in uncomfortable beds with another person, walking, standing and sitting in uncomfortable airline seats.
Keep tuned in for each step of the way!