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.”
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.
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.
“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?
—————-Tags: cultural misunderstandings, how not to find a flat abroad, how to live in a foreign country, living abroad, the idea of living in another country, travel blog