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Moving to Italy: Embracing Expat Mindset Shifts

If you're considering a move to Italy, you are on the brink of a transformative experience. The prospect of embracing a new culture, language, and way of life can be both exciting and daunting.

Even if you think you KNOW Italy (from a traveler's perspective), let me just say: you do not. Living in a new country, Italy or otherwise, requires

understanding and adopting the right expat mindset shifts.

Navigating Expat Mindset Shifts as a Newbie

Moving to a new country requires shifting your expectations and how you see the world so that you can live happily and integrate completely.

It's one thing to learn the language. It's another thing to accept that, for example, as a woman, men will sometimes not take you seriously, particularly in the south.

The other day, I was with my son, Max (who's here for the summer!). We'd taken his new guitar to get restringed at a local music shop. The shop owner had gotten the instructions for what we wanted wrong. Fra was the one who'd explained what we wanted, and when I went back without him and told the owner he'd done it wrong, he wanted to call Fra to discuss.

I firmly let him know that I was handling this situation and politely told him what we needed. No man required!

Let Go of Your Old Life

When you live in one country with certain ways of doing things for decades upon decades, it's only natural to continue operating under those expectations.

But as an expat in Italy, continuing to try to live life as you have back in your home country will only cause you grief. That includes the little things.

For me, the hardest thing to let go of is my dependence on Amazon! In the U.S., Amazon was often the cheapest option for a product I needed. Here, I forget that there are the cinese shops that more often than not have what I need.

The other day I ordered pet pee pads on Amazon for €18...and then saw them at the store for €2! Lesson learned!

Be Open to Where Life Takes You

One of the most fun parts about living in Italy is that sometimes I have no idea where the day will take me. My inner control freak hates this, but I have some fantastic experiences because I say yes to everything.

The other day, I woke up early, drove to Davoli, and helped Fra's family gather flowers for Corpus Domini, a religious procession. I had no idea how the day was going to go, but it ended up being filled with laughter and community. I saw firsthand the passion these people have for their religious beliefs.

Find New Paths to Happiness

What made you happy in the U.S. (or wherever you hail from) might not make you happy anymore. Or it might not be possible.

For me, going out to eat a couple of times a week was a favorite pastime. Here...less so. The options for restaurants are

So I've found a new love of cooking. At home, I can make the food I can't find in restaurants, like Indian or Thai or Mexican.

You might discover a new hobby like visiting archeological ruins. Dancing the tarantella. Teaching people English. And I bet it might be something you never considered doing before you moved!

I cannot express to you how important these mindset shifts will be in helping you settle into your new life in Italy. You truly must let go of the person you used to be and make room for the Italian version of you!

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