More days–Living as an expatriate in Italy–yet more details

OK, so I’m not writing each and every day. I’m learning that not every day has something going on so what’s the point? As I’ve written before, the Devil is in the details and sometimes it’s just details one deals with. Sometimes nothing gets done except some emails, phone calls and internet research. As a result, I will not be writing day by day since it doesn’t make sense if next to nothing except a bunch of dull crap is worked on. Once I get to Italy, I’m quite certain I’ll have more to write for each day.

Today, however, I got things done. I got my Fleetwood Mac tickets for the November Portland show sold!! At $200 per ticket, I was really thinking that I’d never get rid of them. But a friend stepped up and bought them. Hooray!

This underscores one of the things that can easily be overlooked when moving overseas–cancellation of activities. Frankly, I had forgotten about the Fleetwood Mac concert because it’s three months away and I bought the tickets back in April. It was understandable that the concert would slip my mind. I’m glad I remembered it because it allowed me to get it on the market ASAP. I’ve also canceled an author fair in Salem right before I leave.

My car is still unsold. Three friends had shown interest but each fell through. The car is now on Craigslist. I took photos (a requirement) and now hope to find someone to buy it. I’ve calculated that, if it doesn’t sell before I leave, I can have my buddy Barry sell it for me (if he’s willing!) by giving him Power of Attorney. I’ve calculated that I’m saving on rent and health insurance so it will be a wash for awhile if I have to keep making car payments.

And this underscores another issue that cannot be overlooked–selling a car. Perhaps I should have started advertising it sooner, but I didn’t because I got immediate feedback for it. I should have advertised it anyway and let the first person have it. Moot point now. I have to hope that someone will come along. The car is in fantastic, like-new shape so I’m keeping my fingers crossed that it will go.

I am a bit concerned, though. If it turns out that I have to come back to America after a year, I will have no transportation and no job hence no way to buy a car because I won’t have any income. I would be able to pay cash but I really don’t want to deplete my funds. However, it’s important for me not to dwell on that. Instead, I need to be confident that I will NOT come back.

And regarding health insurance, I met with an old high school acquaintance about that very thing. She sells health insurance and is becoming an invaluable resource regarding insurance for Italy. Turns out I can purchase international insurance through Cigna for a year. I can determine what program I want as well as how comprehensive the insurance should be. I’m thankful that last year I took care of a lot of health issues (including dental work). I am quite healthy, dental work is updated and teeth are in good shape. I hope to get the insurance in place before I leave. I don’t want to depart the U.S. without insurance. Plus, I need to cancel the COBRA insurance I have now.

I’ve also been researching my Italian tourist visa and I’m finding some disconcerting information. An Italian tourist visa only allows a person to stay in Italy for three months. Once the three months are up, I must leave. Initially, I thought I had to be gone for anywhere from two days to a week. “No problem”, I thought. I’d just catch a cheap flight to Athens or Vienna.

Well, the first monkey wrench thrown into that plan came when I found out that I could not go to another EU country. The rules stipulate that I leave the EU and to prove that, I would need a stamp showing I entered another country and came back. Most people don’t know that, if you travel between EU nations, passports are not stamped. The EU is one economic unit which is why passports are no longer stamped between the nations comprising the EU. The EU was created to encourage the movement of people and goods. In my case, it makes it more difficult to leave Italy.

Because of this, I will need to travel to either North Africa, Israel, the UK or the Balkans (Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro, Croatia, Albania, Slovenia, Romania, Kosovo, Macedonia and Bulgaria). The latter are close, right across the Adriatic so it wouldn’t cost much to fly there. Probably wouldn’t cost much to stay, either. Yet, I don’t want to pay what is essentially rent, twice. However, this underscores the many details that one must face when moving overseas. I need to cover every base to make sure I’ve got all the information necessary. I don’t want to do anything unnecessary or spend money I don’t need to spend.

And then there’s the reality that I might very well have to leave Italy for one month. My brother in Moscow just told me that I will need to vacate Italy for a month before I can return in order to keep my Italian visa. This will be the second huge monkey wrench. If I flew to some place like Zagreb, London or Bucharest, where would I stay? I suppose I could find something cheap on Airbnb. That would be my first choice. I can say right now, though, that I will NOT go to London because it is very expensive.

The issue of leaving for a month really creates a problem. Searching for work would be more difficult. Where would I put my Vespa? As I said, I would still be paying for rent as well as utilities and internet service. I don’t need to be paying double rent each month, especially since I won’t be working.

This situation also underscores the fact that any problem one finds usually has other issues underneath. One cannot assume that correcting a problem takes care of the whole problem. I’m finding that I cannot assume anything. I have to cover all my bases. It’s frustrating, but it’s necessary because if I don’t cover all my bases, my work will double or triple later.

Another issue that has been addressed has been my meds. I’m now purchasing my meds from Canada through I’m saving half on the cost. My counselor wrote a prescription for Canada and when I get to Italy I can order a year’s supply at once. This will make it much easier to attain my medication. Otherwise, I would have had to order online through Shopko or Walmart, have a friend pick them up and then send them to me adding yet more to the cost.

In moving overseas, this is something that is crucial to remember. How much are your meds? How often do you need them? Can you purchase them overseas? If so, how much are they? Will your insurance cover them? Can you purchase a three month supply? A year’s supply? This is an issue that must be addressed.

So, I guess the lessons learned today are to immediately start working on the details that emerge and never assume that any subject only includes what you see on the surface. And don’t forget, anything that needs to be addressed should be addressed as soon as possible because you don’t know how long things will take and you don’t know what other issues will crop up.



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