Interview with Leighanna in the US
Date of Interview: September 19, 2007
Area of Italy you will live in?
I am considering Umbria and Le Marche, but any small village would be wonderful for me. I am a country girl.
Let us know a little about yourself?
I am a divorced, 40 something female, nurse, live in Florida. I am active in my local Italian-American club and study my language and culture.
Why have you decided to move to Italy?
I traveled to Italy to visit my family in 2004 and also visited with friends in other parts of Italy. I hope to move to Italy within the next five years. I have decided to move to Italy because I love the country, the culture, the lifestyle...always have felt like a fish out of water here. It has been a dream for many years. I am divorced now and although I am in my forties, I now that I have a life waiting for me in Italy...I also know that I will be able to contribute in some way to the community that I become a part of.
If you haven't gotten here yet, what steps are you in the process of ?
Since I was adopted to a U.S. family at birth, I cannot claim my Italian citizenship. (truly, every route has been explored and challenged on that issue) So, I will be standing in line with stacks of notarized paperwork with everyone else...a little frustrating. Although, funny thing...before I went to Italy in 2004, without knowing a thing about the process... I applied for an extended stay visa and got it, (for a year), with no problem, in three weeks. I did take my Italian language tutor with me just in case, but she was not needed..except moral support. I hope it is that easy again when I am ready to go back. I am taking language and cultural courses and watching alot of Fellini films!
What type of adjustment problems have you had?
I don't live in Italy now, but for the year I was there my difficulties were in my weak language skills and being a single female out in the world...a little adjustment anywhere, even in these modern times. Of course, it takes a bit of time to relax and live in the language and culture. Slowing down is an art. I had to return to the states because of a family emergency...or I would still be there. Now I am starting over in the process.
What inside secret could you pass on to others looking to move over?
Have all of your paperwork in order, don't plan on everything going the way you want it to, be ready to go with the flow. Most importantly...(I did not do this)...communicate with the expats here...they are in Italy and have or are paying the dues and can help a great deal.
What has changed about you since you have been here ?
My long visit was with full intention of staying...so my state of mind while there was open...what changed about me was that something I had fantasized became, although briefly, a reality. This sky-rockets the determination to "go home"...to Italy.
Do you think that you will stay forever?
When I get there...I will stay forever and probably be buried in my family's cemetary in Calabria. My family there are very gracious and accepting. They don't recognize illegitimacy or that I was given to adoption by my teenage parents...nice. Unfortunately, they are unable to help with the legal process here.
Can you think of anything that you would like seen added to this site?
How about an area for people who are in the planning stages of moving to Italy to share experiences? And, how about a link to Craigslist...it is so madly popular in the states and very much now all over the world for resources.
And, though there seems to be a discomfort in discussing some issues in every forum...truly I would like to meet the love of my life in Italy, get married and forget about the red tape. There are people I know who live in Italy illegally and have for years...not contributing, but taking and not paying taxes or making any effort at all...I am against this, but I know why they do it...if they are a non-EU citizen, not retired, married to an Italian or financially independent or securely placed in a job by their corporation...forget about the dream becoming a legal reality. I am happy that I will go the right route and having paid my dues to earn the privilege of living the dream.