I am very grateful to welcome Linda of The Beehive Hotel as the next guest taking part in my expat series. The Beehive is a hotel/ hostel in Rome owned by Linda and her husband Steve.
What I love about living in Italy
What do I love about living in Italy? I love living in Europe in general. I am happy to be living an international life and that our children are growing up as third culture kids. When we lived in the US, I felt we had no idea what was going on in the rest of the world and the big joke were the 30 second world reports on the evening news. I’ve realized now just how closed off we were. I had always considered myself an open-minded person, but it was moving to Italy that made me realize how limited my scope had been and that there is a much bigger world out there.
We’ve lived in Italy for 14 years with a short sabbatical in Bali, Indonesia for a couple of years. Italy is home for us though. We have felt more at home here than we ever did in the US. That said, there are certainly things we don’t like about living here, no place is perfect.
Some of the things I do like:
I like the fact that we were able to create a business here by the seat of our pants. We knew little Italian and had no substantial finances, no help from family or friends, but we did have a fire and a drive to succeed and credit cards – and thankfully, it worked.
I like that our children were born here and are bilingual. Our daughters, who are now 12, 10 and 6, walk to school and go to activities and friends’ homes on their own. They have a fearlessness and independence that I truly believe would not have been possible if they had been born and if we were still in Los Angeles.
I like that it’s easy to remove ourselves from media and other negative influences. We don’t watch television and it’s not a big deal here that we don’t.
I like the anonymity. I loved living in Bali, but it was very obvious we were not from Bali and after a while, it got tiresome to always be singled out that way. While here it’s obvious when I open my mouth to speak that I am foreign, I am also not given much grief for doing things that are “non-Italian”. I can order that milky coffee drink in the afternoon, I don’t have to engage in small talk if I don’t want to while waiting for the school run and my children do not have to use an umbrella when it’s barely raining. Simply because we’re “stranieri” (foreigners), we can play by our own and not by embedded Italian cultural rules. That said, I have experienced the dreaded “colpo “d’aria” – just saying!
I like our pedestrian life, but I also like the ease of traveling to other towns that have their own vast history and culture. We can get in our car and within 20-30 minutes we can be in another gorgeous and interesting area and have a great lunch.
I like the fact that we eat real food. We don’t have any frankenfoods in our pantry or refrigerator. Our children know that parmigiano cheese doesn’t come pre-shredded and in a can and that mashed potatoes don’t come from a box. And the only things in our freezer are ice cubes.
It’s been wonderful and challenging to live in Italy. I take each day as it comes and enjoy our time here and now, but we are always up for a new adventure. Who knows what the future will hold or where we will be.
Please stay in touch with me and The Beehive on Facebook and Twitter!