Posts Tagged ‘expat’

Marrying a Foreigner, Part II: Logistics and Practicality

Tuesday, September 7th, 2010

By: Cherrye Moore

Earlier this week I noted some tips and hints for adjusting to life when you are married to a foreigner, and many of my expat friends weighed in with their own experiences. While adjusting to your new life and learning to merge your cultures is always a good thing, getting to that point might not be easy.

No, I’m not talking about falling in love and the inevitable, if only temporary, long-distance relationship, I’m talking about the practical side of marrying someone from another country.

While the rules and regulations vary widely depending on each person’s nationality, where you get married and where you decide to live, the following sites should get you started. Note: I am an American woman married to an Italian man, therefore, most of the following examples are based on my experiences with these countries.

Marrying a Foreigner

1. Websites

Official (and well-researched unofficial) websites are a prime source of information for people wishing to marry an Italian. Here are few sites you might find helpful.

UK in Italy

US Department of State Naples: Marriage of a US Citizen

Travel.State.Gov: Marriage in Italy

ItaliaAmerica.org: Italian Dual Citizenship

ImmiGroup.com: Marrying and Sponsoring an Italian

2. Forums

While official websites are a great source of logistical information, forums are usually visited by people who’ve been there and offer a great combination of practical know-how and useful tips. Some helpful forums and topics include:

Expat Forum: Marrying an Italian

Expat Forum: Marrying an American

Immigration Boards.com: Marrying an Italian

Expats in Italy: Getting Married Forum

Expats in Italy: Atto Notorio

3. Blogs

While many bloggers visit forums and talk about their experiences marrying a foreigner there, they also write blog posts and articles on their sites. Some particularly helpful expats I’ve come across include:

Ms. Adventures in Italy (My personal go-to expat when I was marrying my own Italian in 2007.)

From Australia to Italy (My Calabria-based counterpart who is chronicling  her marriage to an Italian.)

ReallyRome (A Really great resource on, among other things, marrying an Italian.)

Moving2Italy2 (Extensive resource on moving to Italy, with a section on marrying an Italian.)

It is important to note that each case is unique and there is no one size fits all when it comes to marrying someone from another country. Additionally, laws can change from year to year and Italian consulates, at least in the US, seem to have varying procedures, as well. It is always important to contact your local embassy or consulate before proceeding and get a detailed list of what you need to do before the Big Day. As in most cases when dealing with bureaucratic situations, it is a good idea to allow yourself plenty of time and an even better opportunity for you to practice your patience.

In bocca al lupo!

Do you know any other useful sites, forums or blogs for people wanting to marry a foreigner? If so, please leave them in the comments!

Cherrye Moore is an American freelance writer and Calabria tour consultant living in southern Italy. You can read more about living and traveling in Calabria at her site, My Bella Vita or visit her in person at her B&B in Catanzaro, Italy.

Photo: Life 123

Don’t Miss the Cow Parade

Tuesday, September 7th, 2010

By Chantal Panozzo

The Alpabzug in Urnaesch

The Alpabzug in Urnaesch/Photo: Chantal Panozzo

Big bells. Flower headdresses. Men in yellow knickers. What’s not to love? One of my favorite parts of fall in Switzerland is an event known as the Alpabzug. What exactly is that? It’s a big festival that involves dressing up cows and sending them down from the mountains for the winter. There are several of these cow parades going on in Switzerland in September:

Descent of the Alpine cattle in Brigels/Breil

September 11, 2010

Descent of the Alpine sheep in Leukerbad

September 12, 2010

Sichlete Descent of the Alpine Cattle in Bern

September 13, 2010

Descent of the Alpine cattle in Flims (this is a beautiful area of Switzerland and the cows here wear flowers headdresses)

September 18, 2010

Descent of the Alpine cattle and farmer’s market in Urnaesch (this is the traditional cow march with yodeling, alpine cheese, and Appenzeller fashions—i.e. yellow knickers. See One Big Yodel for more information. However, the cows here do not wear flowers, they wear big bells.)

September 18, 2010

Alpine Festival with descent of the Alpine cattle in Charmey

September 25, 2010

Procession of the Alpine cattle in Weggis

September 25, 2010

Procession of the Cows in Crans-Montana

September 25, 2010

Descent of cows from mountain pasture Moiry

September 25, 2010

Don’t forget to bring your camera. And don’t just stand there, why not follow the procession yourself? I did this last year and ended up back at a farmer’s home near Urnaesch where the family yodeled together, like it was just something normal you do. And for them, it was. It was definitely something to see.

What’s your favorite cow parade in Switzerland?

Chantal Panozzo is a writer in Switzerland who has written for a variety of publications on two continents. She’s the author of One Big Yodel, a blog about life in Switzerland and moving abroad, and also discusses living abroad as a freelancer at Writer Abroad.

Ways to Keep in Touch When Living Abroad

Tuesday, August 31st, 2010

By Chantal Panozzo

Flying home isnt always a solution

Flying home isn't always a solution

One of the hardest parts about living abroad is being far from friends and family. Mothers moan that they’ll never see their grandkids (never mind if they don’t even have grandkids). Fathers say that your mother misses you (after all, they would never admit missing you themselves). And you can barely keep up with all your family members, not to mention maintain your old friendships. So what’s an expat to do? Here are ways of keeping in touch that have worked for me.

One: Keep a blog

Many expats (i.e. moi) start blogs because they can no longer keep up with their email. A blog can be a great way to let friends and family know what you are up to. And if you don’t want the rest of the world to know it as well, it’s easy to password-protect your blog so only your intended audience reads it. To set up a blog, visit blogger.com or wordpress.com.

Two: Make time to talk

I try to call my family regularly. While we don’t set up actual times and dates, we usually talk about the same time each week. Often, local phone companies don’t offer competitive rates to foreign countries, but other methods, such as using calling cards or Skype, can make calling an affordable option for staying in touch. For calling cards, you’re already on the right site, For Skype, visit skype.com.

Three: Join a networking site

This goes without saying, since millions of people are already on Facebook. But if you want to know what your friends and family are up to and vice versa, Facebook can be a powerful tool. Just don’t expect it to take the place of personal visits, calls, and emails. Sometimes I find that being friends with someone on Facebook means I’ll actually forgo the personal updates for something much more generic.

Another way to stay in touch is to create your own custom social network by using Ning. www.facebook.com or www.ning.com.

How do you stay in touch while living abroad?

Chantal Panozzo is a writer in Switzerland who has written for a variety of publications on two continents. She’s the author of One Big Yodel, a blog about life in Switzerland and moving abroad, and also discusses living abroad as a freelancer at Writer Abroad.

More Great Expat Reads

Wednesday, August 25th, 2010

moonlight-1by Chantal Panozzo

As a writer abroad, I like to read books written by other expats because I find they usually share a unique perspective on the world. I’m a big fan of memoir, but lately there have also been some good works of fiction written by Americans abroad, particularly by expats living in Paris. An inspiring location? Perhaps.

A few months back, I wrote Great Books to Read as an Expat but if you’re like me and devour about a book a week thanks to plentiful train rides, you’ve already read them all. So here are a few more you might want to consider adding to your collection.

Moonlight in Odessa by Janet Skeslien Charles. Charles’ funny debut novel is set in the Eastern European country of Ukraine and explores the wonderful world of mail-order brides. The main character, Daria, is particularly endearing, especially when she goes to live in the United States as a mail-order bride herself. Daria defines the U.S. as crazy place where the people are rich but dress like they’re poor—a statement only an expat author could probably allow her character to come up with. Bonus—the book comes out in paperback in the United States on September 1.

Kitchen Chinese by Ann Mah. What happens when an American girl (who happens to have Chinese heritage) goes to live in China to find herself? She can’t. She has trouble fitting in—perhaps because she looks Chinese but isn’t. Kitchen Chinese is an interesting debut novel that explores both identity and culture, from a writer who has experienced the complexities of both.

Kabul Beauty School by Deborah Rodriguez. When an American woman goes to Afghanistan to open a beauty school, she is quickly in demand from both Westerners looking for a perm and also from local Afghan women, who want to learn how to open their own beauty salons, one of the few businesses acceptable for women to run in this middle-eastern nation. The book explores love, friendship, freedom, and what they could possibly have in common with a good haircut.

Have you read any great books lately?

Chantal Panozzo is a writer in Switzerland who has written for a variety of publications on two continents. She’s the author of One Big Yodel, a blog about life in Switzerland and moving abroad, and also discusses living abroad as a freelancer at Writer Abroad.

Learning to Love Less

Tuesday, August 17th, 2010

By: Cherrye Moore

I was visiting good friends last summer in Texas-we were sitting at one of our favorite Mexican cantinas, sipping on frozen lime margaritas, talking about the good ‘ole days and catching up on the last few years.

“I just love Italy,” one of my peppy ex-Sorority sisters gushed. “I could soooo see myself living there.”

I smiled as she gazed dreamily out the window, no doubt imagining herself strolling to the weekly market each Monday, sipping on stout Italian wine in the evenings, spending her days-riding on a Gondola or dining outside the Colosseum. She exhaled, “It’s just such a beautiful country.”

Not wanting to burst her idealized bubble of the life I’m leading, I politely agreed-because it is true, Italy is a beautiful country-and kept quiet. But secretly I wondered … could she really live here?

As my southern Italian counterpart pointed out last week, you can’t uproot your life back home and replant that baby here in Italy. It is a whole new country world and while we love it here, we’ve definitely learned to live without some of the luxuries of our American lifestyles.

Here are three things I’ve learned to love less here in Calabria.expat life-starbucks

1. Variety

You often hear people say, “Italians love food,” when in fact, what they mean is, “Italians love Italian food.” Especially here in Calabria, diversity, restaurant variety-heck, even a foreign food shelf-are had to come by. I’ve learned to live with this by importing my must-haves, like Velveeta cheese and Starbuck’s vanilla syrup, kicking up my personal non-Italian food recipe list and creating variety in the Italian food we eat and love.

2. Instant Access

One of the hardest things for me to get used to-if one could say I’ve gotten used to it-is learning to live without the instant access we are accustomed to in the US. There are no 24-hour pharmacies-actually, even finding an open pharmacy on Saturday or Sunday is a challenge, customer service calls regularly go un-answered-even during “working” hours and paperwork can take years to get approved.

Still, I believe I can learn something from these would-be frustrating experiences-and that, my friends, is patience. Italy has taught me patience in a way I never could have learned in the United States … and for that, I’m thankful.

expat life-gadgets

3. The Latest Greatest

No doubt if I lived in the US, I’d be on the i(insert latest gadget here) bandwagon. Being in southern Italy, far from the peer pressure that comes with having an office job and well-paid friends, I’m sheltered, in a way, from needing to have the latest, greatest gadget. Many expats in Italy have other priorities and luckily, keeping up with Rossis, isn’t one of them.

Tina and I have weighed in-now it is your turn. What have you learned to live without in your expat adventures?

Cherrye Moore is an American freelance writer and Calabria tour consultant living in southern Italy. You can read more about living and traveling in Calabria at her site, My Bella Vita or visit her in person at her B&B in Catanzaro, Italy.

Photos: CarbonNYC and Ivyfield via Flickr

Three Things Kids Love About Southern Italy

Wednesday, July 28th, 2010

By: Cherrye Moore

I’ve written a bit, both here at ACC and at my website, My Bella Vita about my summer adventures with my nine year old nephew and my friend’s 14 year old son. While I expected them to fall in love with the “hot Italian chics”-their words, not mine, a few of their favorite things about southern Italy took me by surprise.

Here are the top three things (these) kids loved about southern Italy.

1. Calzonesexpat in italy-calzones

Maybe it should have been obvious, but I was seriously shocked by how much my nephew loved fried calzones.

Just last night, he asked for a repeat dinner-of the previous night’s calzones-gobbled the goods before we drove the one kilometer home, and asked us to go back for seconds.

Luckily for us here in Catanzaro, there is a great little pizzeria that sells these babies, fresh from the grease, for just €1.00 each, so he can have an “all you can eat” without breaking the bank.

2. Castlesexpat in italy-castles

It is important to know that southern Italy’s castles are not like the fairy tale castles of England, Germany or France.

Oh no, these castles have suffered invasions, attacks, earthquakes and years of abandonment, so oftentimes you are left with a shell of the castle’s former glory.

So, I was surprised by how much the boys enjoyed them. The castle they most enjoyed (seen above) is Murat Castle, located just off of the main piazza in Pizzo, Calabria. I’m not sure if it is the castle’s imposing presence on the Tyrrhenian, the mock soldiers inside or the idea of tough men fighting tougher wars, but they loved it.

3. Beachesexpat in italy-beaches

Ok, so I really kinda figured the boys would love the beaches, but I was still surprised at just. how. much.

Seriously, they couldn’t get enough of the creamy tan sand, frothy waves and blue-green waters of Calabria’s coastline.

In fact, they couldn’t settle on just one beach and instead urged me to take them on day trips so they could check out the beaches in other cities around the area. Their favorite-if not for the warm Tyrrhenian waters, then for the topless sunbather-was the beach (pictured above) just beneath the Murat Castle in Pizzo.

Cherrye Moore is an American freelance writer and Calabria tour consultant living in southern Italy. You can read more about her adventures in Calabria at her site, My Bella Vita or visit her in person at her B&B in Catanzaro.

Photos: iskcon.net, Cherrye at My Bella Vita

The Hostess with the Mostess: Three tips for entertaining kids at your expat home

Tuesday, July 13th, 2010

By: Cherrye Moore

I just wrapped up a five-week trip to my native Texas and as always, I returned to bella Calabria with a load of American goodies, but this time I had a couple of new additions to my pack … two real-life all-American adolescent boys!

Expat Life with Kids

Yep … that’s right.

I came back with not one, but two tag-alongs-my nine-year-old nephew, Cole and my friend’s 14-year-old son, Jake. The idea was born more than a year ago, when Jake’s mom asked if he could visit us for part of a summer to “work at our B&B and practice Italian.”

Now, to be perfectly fair, I believe his mother did, indeed, plan for him to help at the B&B and pick up new Italian phrases, however, even then, I knew “work at our B&B and practice Italian” was 14-year-old kid talk for “go to the beach and check out hot Italian chicks.”

And that he has done.

Happily.

Still, it took us about a week to find our groove and settle into a routine. For other expats who are considering hosting their friends’ children in their adopted countries, here are three tips to help you ease into a routine.

1. Establish Realistic Expectations

My husband and I own a B&B and I’m a full-time freelance writer and travel consultant-so we are a busy work-from-home couple. Other expats have time-consuming jobs or even work more than one job. Many American kids might not be used to this and won’t fully understand the demands of your expat job.

Talk honestly about the amount of free time you’ll have to entertain them BEFORE they come, so you will all be on the same page about day trips, excursions and free time.

2. Set Boundaries

For the most part, homes in southern Italy, and throughout Europe, are much smaller than homes we are accustomed to in the states. Tell the kids who are visiting you if any part of the property is off-limits-such as don’t go the B&B without shoes on!-and be sure they know your house rules, such as “rinse off at the beach before you come home,” or “help yourself to as much gelato as you can handle from the freezer.”

3. Get a Schedule

Depending on how much time your tiny tenants will be with you, you might be tempted to postpone certain events or trips with the thought “there’s plenty of time.”

Time, my friend, has a way of getting away.

Print a calendar of the time you’ll have with the kids and schedule important events in advance. This will also help you look at the days, weeks or months and plan when you can work or take care of important personal errands that can’t wait. It will help you feel less stress about taking time off to be with them and will give them something fun to anticipate.

Have you hosted friends’ or family’s children at your expat home? What other suggestions would you add to help get everyone prepared for an awesome summer vacation the kids will never forget?

Cherrye Moore is an American freelance writer and Calabria travel consultant living in Catanzaro, Italy. She writes about expat life on Affordable Calling Cards and about traveling in Calabria on her site, My Bella Vita. You can also visit her at her bed and breakfast in Catanzaro, Il Cedro B&B … and by all means, ignore any and all children you see shoe-less.

Three Things I’d Take with Me if I Left Italy

Tuesday, June 22nd, 2010

By: Cherrye Moore

I’ve written a lot over the last few weeks about the things expats miss about home. As an expat in Italy, I always stock up on my American supplies … Velveeta, Ziploc bags, Big Red gum. But I’d know I’d miss Italy if I wasn’t here.

In fact, just last week I wrote about the things my husband and I would miss most about the bel paese if we left. But we’d also stock up.

Here are the top things we’d pack in our bags and take back with us if we lived in the US instead of Italy.

Divella Pasta

Yes, yes, yes … they sell pasta in America, but once you’ve tasted the real deal, and by that I don’t mean homemade pasta, but the dry pasta they sell in Italy, you wouldn’t settle for less, either.

Lately, we have been addicted to Divella pasta, a Pugliese brand pasta that keeps its al dente texture and tastes great with a variety of sauces.

We’d most definitely pack a bag full of assorted shapes and sizes to use in the US and to share with our American friends.

Aiello Coffee

We test-drove every Italian coffee imaginable when we opened our B&B, from Lavazza to Illy to Catanzaro’s own Guglielmo, but the winner was Cosenza-made (Calabrese) Aiello.

There is just something about that bright red bag and strong, robust flavor that keeps us coming back for more … and more … and more … .

And we’d definitely pack it up and take it with us if we ever left.

Kinder Surprise Eggs

While I could certainly live without the Kinder Sorpresa eggs that leave crying kids all over Italian supermarkets, my nine year old nephew couldn’t, so we’d have to pack a few boxes to hold him over until our next trip to Italy.

In fact, it is the one thing he requests each time we visit.

Hey, expats, what would you take back with you to the US if you no longer lived in your adopted country?

Cherrye Moore is a freelance writer and travel consultant living in Calabria, Italy. She can organize a group Calabria tour or help you plan a custom itinerary for your family from her website, My Bella Vita.

Photo: Continental Food UK, Wikipedia Commons and Sweets 2 UK

Top Three Things I’d Miss if I Left Italy

Tuesday, June 15th, 2010

By: Cherrye Moore

Last week I wrote about the things I always carry with me from the US when I return to Italy. But truth be told, there are some pretty great things I’d miss from Italy, if we lived in the US. In fact, my husband and I talk about this pretty often, especially at times like this when I’m stocking up on American deodorant and taco sauce.

Here are the top things we’d miss about Italy if we moved to the US.

Things an Expat in Italy Most LovesPizza
I love American pizza, really, I do, but no matter what marketing ploy Pizza Hut might employ, Italian-style pizza they’ll never be.

Meat, Cheese, Fruit and Veggies
Yes, this is a big category, but we would really miss the meat, cheese, fresh fruit and veggies we have here in southern Italy. (In all honesty, the “meat” part was added by my husband, because he can’t imagine a life without soppressata, homemade sausage or any of the delicious cold cuts he grew up with.)

Gelato
Lest you think we are overly healthy, we’d also miss the homemade gelato we have here in Calabria. Ice cream is one thing, gelato is another and while I do love me some Blue Bell, I’d really miss Marrons Glaces here in Catanzaro.

Passeggiata
There is no Italian habit I love more than the evening passeggiata and even though I know we could do this if we lived outside Italy, I’m not sure we would. And really, part of the fun of the passeggiata is bumping into your neighbors and friends and if they’re not outside for their evening stroll, would it really be the same?

Come back next week to see the top things we’d pack and carry with us, customs-permitting, if we lived outside of Italy.

Are you an expat in Italy? What would you miss if you had to leave?

Cherrye Moore is a freelance writer and travel consultant living in Calabria, Italy. She can organize a group Calabria tour or help you plan a custom itinerary for your family from her website, My Bella Vita.

Photo: Cherrye Moore, My Bella Vita

Top Things I Won’t Leave Home Without

Tuesday, June 8th, 2010

By: Cherrye Moore

We are in the second week of June and this expat is happily at home with her Texas-based friends and family. There is nothing like going home, seeing familiar faces, frequenting familiar haunts and yes, I’ll admit it, sometimes equally as important … eating familiar food.

I have to say, though, I come home twice a year-each summer and again at Christmas-and each time I stock up on my American goodies.

When I first moved to Italy four years ago, I’d buy my Gold Toe socks, fill up during the Bath and Body Works semi-annual sales and even buy my makeup and remover.

But luckily, things have changed.

I am no longer am addicted to Gold Toe socks and Sephora’s recent addition to our shopping center has helped with the makeup, lotions and shower gel dilemnas.

Still, there are a few things I still import.

Things an Expat in Italy Brings from HomeMedicine
I recently realized you can indeed buy Ibuprofen in Italy, but yowsers is that stuff expensive. Instead of forking over €12 for 12 pills, I run by Walmart and stock up. In addition to Advil, I always carry Tylenol, Tylenol PM, DayQuil and NyQuil and vitamins, for both my husband and myself. We also bring American-strength deodorant.

Books
Even though I have had good experiences with Amazon UK and am addicted to reading through the Kindle App on my iPod Touch, I still like to buy a few books from the US. Usually I buy work-related books to help with my freelance writing career, but I’ve also been known to stalk the sales counter at our local B&N. Old habits die hard.

Food, Food, Food
You can take the girl away from the Mexican border, but you can’t keep the Mexican cravings away. I always buy Velveeta cheese, taco Seasoning, Jambalaya mix, canned soup for cooking, Big Red gum and a few boxes of Ziploc bags … you know, to store all of my leftovers.

Are you an expat? If so, what do you buy from home?

Cherrye Moore is a freelance writer and travel consultant living in Calabria, Italy. She can organize a group Calabria tour or help you plan a custom itinerary for your family from her website, My Bella Vita.

Photo: Cherrye Moore, My Bella Vita

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