Mar was a Mexican student traveling around Europe when she fell in love with Italy. She's been having a love-hate relationship with Italy for 13 years. And in the meantime, she's been traveling around the world enjoying good food, good wine and shopping. Mar's expat blog is called The traveling foodie
Here's the interview with Mar...Where are you originally from?
In which country and city are you living now?
How long have you lived in Italy and how long are you planning to stay?
13 years in Italy, 6 of those in Milan. Planning to stay in Milan indefinitely but you never know...
Why did you move to Italy and what do you do?
Moved to Italy to study because I fell in love with the country, the food, the people, I loved the change from chaotic Mexico City to peaceful Marche region; moved to Milan for love but also the need of living in a big city again. I work in Milan as an assistant for an advisory firm.
Did you bring family with you?
No, but I have family in other parts of Europe.
How did you find the transition to living in a foreign country?
At first everything was fun and different, learning the language wasn't hard and I must say living in a small town made it all simpler, it was easy making friends, learning and integrating in their culture, etc.
Was it easy making friends and meeting people; do you mainly socialise with other expats?
Yes, being one of the few foreigners in town I had to make friends with locals and it was fairly easy because they were all curious to know about my "exotic" country. Now in Milan there are more foreigners and we (my husband and I) take part in many international groups' activities.
What are the best things to do in the area; anything to recommend to future expats?
Best thing to do in Milan is have an 'aperitivo' with your friends: a drink in a bar accompanied by a buffet, it's very Milanese. Also, stroll around the parks and the different quarters (Navigli, Chinatown, Isola) it's fun to discover such particular places so different from each other. And, since you're in Italy: eat and drink as much Italian food and wine as you can!
What do you enjoy most about living in Italy?
The food, the wine, the happenings in town, there's always something fun to do, some new art exhibit, a play, a new restaurant, shop, etc
How does the cost of living in Italy compare to home?
It is obviously more expensive than Mexico, being the most expensive city in Italy and the fashion capital, you pay for the appearance more than the quality of what you're getting. But you start finding places that are not that expensive and good and you hang on to them.
What negatives, if any, are there to living in Italy?
The drama of Italian queues! They have developed an art of queueing that is so frustrating to us fans of straight lines and taking turns.
If you could pick one piece of advice to anyone moving to Italy, what would it be?
Be patient. You might have trouble with the language, the people, the bureaucracy, but if you're patient enough, everything will come through and you'll be enjoying the Italian life
What has been the hardest aspect to your expat experience so far?
Probably the challenge of starting everything from scratch, the language, studying, making friends again. But also being apart from the family at home hasn't been easy.
When you finally return home, how do you think you'll cope with repatriation?
I have no plans to move back home now, but you never know. I guess if I came back it would take some time to get used to everything again after so long time abroad.
What are your top 5 expat tips for anyone following in your footsteps?
- Be patient
- Enjoy the chaos
- Enjoy the different cultures, foods, drinks, etc.
- Be open to new friendships, experiences, activities
- Give everything a second chance, first impressions are not always right
It is a space where I share my experiences in Italy but also in my travels, some recipes I like, wines and places I prefer and random thoughts.
How can you be contacted for further advice to future expats coming to your area?
There's contact info on my blog: www.tfoodie.com - See more at: http://www.expatsblog.com/articles/1719/mexican-expat-living-in-italy-interview-with-mar#sthash.JCiVLe3f.dpuf