A Piccolo Italy Update

Ciao! When I last left you we were in the terminal stages  of preparing for our family move to Italy. Well… we made it! All four of us are now in Bologna, where it is currently raining heavily.

To be honest, not that much has happened yet, but I didn’t want to leave you hanging too long, so here is an update on how our move has gone so far.

The Journey

plane selfie!

I’ve gotten a lot of questions from friends and family about how the trip went. It was mostly fine. We had to do some extreme editing at the end of our packing to fit everything (and buy another suitcase), but we managed to fit our entire life into 5 checked bags and one carry on.

I was worried about how Marcella would take such a long journey, but she is a truly excellent traveler. She survived a ten hour flight with minimal fussing, and was happy and chatting during our layover in Munich (which was around 1 am Seattle time). She has actually adjusted to the new time zone faster than anyone else in the family.

The only hitch in our trip was Leo. We paid Condor  for him to fly in the cargo hold from Seattle all the way to Bologna, however, when we arrived in Munich we were told he didn’t actually have a ticket for the second half of the trip. A lot of scrambling around ensued, with some serious sweating and finally us shelling out another 200 Euros to ensure he got on the second, 1 hour plane ride to Italy. What a headache.

He didn’t seem to mind though.

But he made it and we are all here!

Our New Home

We’re all set up in a lovely AirBNB that will be our home for at least the month of November. It’s a good spot, but it doesn’t quite feel like home you know?

The first week here was rough. Jetlag, a teething toddler (molars wtf), stomach bugs and more weighed us down. We are all recovered now though and slowly adjusting to the pace of life in Italy.

We go for walks around the city until our feet hurt, eat lots of tortellini and struggle with the few words of Italian we actually know. We have learnt a lot already: that our stroller is TOO BIG, how to get pizza delivered to our door and that Italian nonnas love to lecture you that your baby is too cold (apparently Italians break out their puffy winter jackets once the temperature drops to 65).

massive hunks of parmesan at the supermarket

We’ve got cell phone plans (so cheap), bus passes and social security numbers. My first week here I visited immigration and I have an appointment in December to formally apply for my residency visa. The process is not the most straightforward but hopefully that will go smoothly.

What Happens Now

We’ve been here two weeks now and we’re starting to find our feet but there is a lot we need to do to get settled.

Biggest, most important thing on that list is finding an apartment. The rental market here is uneven and supply is spotty. The rules for renting are unfamiliar and byzantine (standard lease length is 4 years? What?), and agents take forever to return your calls (if they ever bother to at all), but we are slowly figuring it out and are starting to view some apartments. I’m hopeful, but not positive, that we can find a permanent space by the end of the year. I think that will make Bologna feel a lot more like home.

We’re starting to brainstorm some travel we would like to do in 2018, and scheduling some visits from friends and family. We’re meeting new people and discovering the city’s best parks and gelato shops. I think we’re going to arrange private Italian lessons. All of this is exciting, but the apartment is really the missing puzzle piece still.

So that’s where we are!

For now we are just getting our bearings and trying to settle in. And drinking a LOT of caffeine.

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11 thoughts on “A Piccolo Italy Update”

  1. It’s hard settling into somewhere new! Even when you love the place. For me, in our first few months in New Zealand life felt both weirdly empty, and also like a giant to-do list. Just takes time. Sounds like you’re getting there though!

  2. What an exciitng time for you guys! Don’t let the nonnas get to you – the Spanish abuelas are the same, and I just play dumb.

    We got an awesome foldable stroller for travel. It’s not ideal for naps, but it’s been great for our quick pops to the street for groceries or taking the train to see grandma: http://gbchildusa.com/products/pockit/

  3. Yes, the lease contracts are all 4 years. It’s standard, but it doesn’t mean you’re really locked in to four years. You just have to give six months notice or find a tenant to replace you if you want to move out sooner than in six months. Also, you’ll find you have weird fees when you finally do move in. They do things like charge a paint fee. Insist that they use a Muffaway paint.

    Here’s a language lesson. Muffa is mold and mold is a HUGE problem in Italian homes. As you’re learning with the rain, it’s very damp and mold breeds in the dampness.

    And the lectures about your baby being cold will probably continue in all your years living there. I even got lectured regularly about “catching the death” because I didn’t bust out my parka just because the calendar said it was October 15. Meanwhile, I was about to suffer heat stroke because it doesn’t matter what the temperature is outside – they turn on the heat and dress according to the calendar date.

  4. I’m so happy that you guys are starting to settle in! And you already have an appointment for your residency?!!! Awesome! Mind isn’t until the very end of January. We really struggled with apartments as well, but I’m sure something will pop up — and FYI you can get out of the lease before 4 yeas as long as you tell them at least 6 mo. ahead of time (at least that is the terms of our 4 year contract). Worth checking into!

  5. I’m in such awe of you and your family for moving to Italy. I live in the UK and even moving from London to Italy seems terrifying! So glad you all got there safe and hope you get a permanent place soon. Good luck!

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