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Destinations, Dreams and Dogs - International adventure with a fast-track family (& dogs) of Old World values, adopting the Russian-Italian-American good life on the go…!

The Romance of Residing Abroad

A vacation, or business trip to another country can conjure up visions of residing there for good—the scenery, the food, the quaintness.  Whether a Swiss chalet, or a stone village home, or an island cottage, the allure is great for a picturesque getaway.

Until you move there.  Ask me, I know all about it.

I recall years ago, being a newly-married couple and moving abroad.  We searched and searched for an apartment to rent in a land where there were very few.

Exiting our first available flat, my husband told the landlord in other tongues that we would have to discuss it.  He could see how sold I was.

“The view!” I rhapsodized.  “Plus, it was modern and clean….”

“Yes,” he hedged, “did you notice anything missing?”

“Like what?” I asked.

“A kitchen.  There was no kitchen.”

“Oh, really?”

But the view was great.

The second apartment was a recommendation from someone who heard a lead from someone else.  In a centuries’ old stone structure, we didn’t know the full details until some time into our conversation with the teen son.  He gave us a brief tour of the flat and then explained.

“Listen, I don’t know how to say this, but I will need some peace and quiet….”

“Okaaay…” we nodded.

“I will be taking my matriculation exams for high school soon.  It may not be a good idea for you to live here,” he said.

We blinked, not quite grasping the full import of this revelation.

“And that would mean…?” Benedetto tried to get the scoop.

“Well, with my mother, my sister, and myself living here, and then the two of you in your room, it may be too many people for me to be able to study well.”

We were going to be living there WITH HIS FAMILY?  This was not an apartment to rent, but a room in an apartment to rent!  Talk about cultural misunderstandings.

When comprehension began to dawn, we backtracked faster than you can say shazam.

“Oh, we understand, truly we do,” Benedetto shook the fellow’s hand.  “It’s not every day that you find a serious high school student—good for you!” We hightailed it out of there.

In some homes, there was no heat, despite freezing winter months.  Most had no airconditioning, despite hot- hot- hot summer months.  One had a tinier-than-tiny bathroom without any shower or bathtub.

The place was so small, that the door consisted of a sliding accordion door.  It was then that I spied a hand-held shower attachment connected to the sink’s faucet.

“Where is the shower?” I asked the landlord.

He pointed to the sink, motioning that I could spray all over myself, and the toilet, and the sink at the same time.  Clean yourself, clean the bathroom.  Two for one, all at once.

Uh-uh.  No can do.

But those were the least of our problems.  We had to think of inferior medical care, big bureacracy when it came to everyday living, high taxes, gas prices approaching that of liquid gold, no Dollar Tree, and no Dollar Meals for that matter.

Yet, in retrospect, we had some of our best times while living in this foreign land.  It was the romance of residing abroad once we found a fairly decent flat.  It took some time, and a fair amount of adjustments, but we did it.

Have you ever desired to live in another country?

 

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10 Comments : Leave a Reply

  1. avatar Winnie says:

    When Hubby was in the military I was always hoping to be posted to Europe (likely Germany) however he landed in one of the rare career fields where they only send you away from family for periods of time (temporary duty assignments) and don’t move the family. Luckily he never had one of those assignments. Hindsight 20/20 I wish we’d have done something like Peace Corp before we had kids. Now I’m totally leary of being somewhere not near modern medical care.

    • avatar admin says:

      It’s true, Winnie, not all countries are created the same when it comes to medicine. Many are similar if you can find a basic university teaching hospital. But then there are other places that make you think twice….

  2. avatar Linda says:

    I lived in Ireland for 2 years, it was an adventure, as when I moved there, I didn’t have a job, place to stay, didn’t know anyone. Found a place for the first time, then rented a place with some others and after a year met my husband and moved in with him to the other side of Ireland.
    I know Ireland is a safe country to move to, it’s not like there’s anything too strange there, but it was nice to try out my wings without any help from my parents, didn’t know anyone, so had to make new friends.
    I would actually love to move back to Ireland, but after living 9years in Finland my husband doesn’t really want to move back to Ireland and start all over again…

    • avatar admin says:

      That’s a real concern, isn’t it, Linda? The whole thing about starting over again. But it’s possible at times to make lateral moves, so here’s hoping!

  3. avatar Sarah says:

    I currently am living in England right outside London with my husband and three kids (two are Russian). We have kept our home in the US. We love it here! The kids are attending a fabulous International School where they are learning so much including Russian! We live in a beautiful English home with fabulous wood work and leaded glass in a really cute village only 28 minutes to Waterloo station on the train. It has been great fun to be here during the year of the Jubilee and the Olympics! There is a huge expat community here so makingbfriends has been really easy. We are heading off to Cornwall in the am to spend the Jubilee at the beach with the kids. So you can live abroad and have a wonderful time! I would highly recommend it! I also lived in Madrid and Venezuela and liked them too.

  4. avatar Sarah says:

    It really has been so great. The best is to have our kids in such an international community since we are an international family. My 5 year old is loving taking Russian with the other little Russian kids his age. He is such a proud Russian! The Russian words just pop out of his mouth ….he came home at 14 months and it is amazing what he has retained! Our 2 year old almost three is not interested in speaking Russian so that is fine hopefully in the future she will have an interest.

    • avatar admin says:

      See, that’s the best kind of education, in my opinion. We take our kids all over and often have them “live” for a short period of time in a place–take some classes, play sports with the locals, enjoy the youth group at a local congregation–rather than just visit museums and be a tourist. Have them mix and mingle with everyone, speak different languages, be open to different cultures while honoring your own. You’re living the dream, Sarah!

  5. avatar Jess says:

    I’m an Aussie and have lived in the USA twice and spent a long time travelling in Asia. I always enjoy being abroad and love the adventure. However, I find I do get to a point where I’m ready to return home. My husband is from the USA and he hates change and is unable to enjoy anything about being abroad. I guess it depends on personalities. Nice post though, it is definitely hard at times and not all romantic.

    • avatar admin says:

      It really does depend a lot on personalities, Jess. I usually enjoy being anywhere in the world for a short or long time, but when it comes to actual bureaucracy, permits, visas, whatever, it can be problematic. Without the red tape, we could all simply enjoy!

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