Home stories 5 Ways To Stop Hating Your Expat Experience

5 Ways To Stop Hating Your Expat Experience

written by M.E. Evans February 2, 2016

When I first moved abroad I was going to school and it was one of the best experiences of my life. That wuickly turned sour once I began dating an Italian man and began working and living in Italy as if it were my homeland.

But it wasn’t my homeland. Which was the entire reason I wanted to be there and yet…

It wasn’t my culture, my friends and family weren’t there, and I felt like an outsider every minute of every day. It didn’t help that my boyfriend’s family were the least welcoming people in the entire world and his friends were skeptical of my American-ness. Seemingly scared that at any minute I’d pull George Bush out of my bra and start attacking people with McNuggets.

I quickly fell into a very dramatic depression and developed a strange form of agoraphobia. It wasn’t fun. And this continued for years.

I finally snapped out of it I realized that part of the reason I felt like I was floating, was because I was acting like the experience was temporary. I didn’t have regular hangout spots where I knew the people working, I didn’t attend expat events, or go to events at all, my entire life had become about day to day fighting my shitty feelings instead of building a life in Italy. Expat depression is very different than regular depression because it’s situational, and very few people seem to understand that it’s a thing.

“But you’re in Italy!” Was the common response I received from friends back home. I was in Italy, a beautiful country that I’d always adored. But I was sad and alone and who gives a shit about cool buildings and great food when you’re sad as fuck? Nobody.

In order to change my situation I had to follow these 5 Steps To Stop Hating My Expat Experience: 

  1. Realize that my depression was situational and I had two choices: Force myself out of it or dump my sexy boyfriend/husband (he was my bf then became my husband, I didn’t have both a bf and a husband…that would be exhausting) and return back to ‘Merica.

  2. Form habits and actually put myself out there to create roots. I started going to the same bar every day for coffee with Oliver and I started to ask the barista questions. Sure, his barista wife thought that I was hitting on him and glared at me at first, but afterwards they started to smile and say, “hey! ME and Oliver!” when I’d enter and as small and weird as it sounds it made me feel more at home.

  3. I started to go to events and make expat friends. This was hard for me because I’m not the most outgoing chic in the world. I’m kind of reserved, I swear like a sailor, and I have a tendency to make inappropriate jokes when I’m uncomfortable. Still, I somehow made friends in spite of myself and the more we got to know each other the less I wanted to stab out my own eyes every morning. Try taking dance classes, cooking classes, go to art shows, make projects and invite others to join in, host dinner and a movie night or game night at your place. Just put it all out there. Your friend making self. Not your lady pillow or you penis park. Keep those to yourself in public.

  4. I had to stop caring what people thought of me. For years I felt really out of place for being foreign to the point of being apologetic for it. And why? I was different but who gives a shit? Once I became totally fine with being the American at all of Francesco’s family and friend hangouts, and I was able to laugh at myself and our differences, I stopped feeling like such a freak.

  5. Write it all down. I’m a writer, but I shy away from writing about my feelings or complaints. However, my therapist a long time ago told me to rant on paper then either burn it and go back and read it a month later when I was having a good day. I remembered his advice and once I started to do it I felt immensely better. Some I burned, some I went back and read later, and I have to tell you that nothing will embarrass you or make you motivated to make changes like reading one of your highly emotional rants a month before. Very effective in terms of forcing yourself to think differently.

You’re not alone, you can do this  . If you try these five steps you’ll be feeling better in no time, friends. Please keep me updated on your journey!

Have you ever experienced expat or travel depression? What did you do to feel better and get out of the rut? Help out our struggling expat brethren by commenting below!

*if you’re having thoughts of suicide or self-harm, please tell friends and family and get help. There’s nothing wrong with reaching out to loved ones or professionals when you need it.

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Olessia February 2, 2016 at 9:35 am

Bravo! 🙂 Though I`m doing most of the steps mentioned I feel as stupid expat female especially when someone on the Florentine streets talks to me in a way “eiiii, ciao bionda” and winks. Shit! After that I have any desire to go out, just to sit home with a glass of Rosso Montalcino. hahahaha )))

Helena February 3, 2016 at 9:03 am

I used to feel like going under ground too when that happened. Now instead I toss my hair (not blonde but brunette 😉) and say “grazie!” It changes the energy and puts you on top instead of feeling subordinate. Take it as a compliment and you will feel better. After all it’s just a comment they blurt out, it doesn’t really mean anything, really.

Lucy Serlenga February 2, 2016 at 9:40 am

Thanks for the post!

I can completely relate to this. I grew up in the UK with an English mother and Italian dad, so I always had those awkward moments when I was a kid of being forced to speak on the phone with Italian relatives I didn’t know very well while my dad would be mouthing Italian shit for me to say so his brothers on the other end of the phone would think it was really cute.

Anyway, a couple of years ago I decided to move to Italy in Turin near my dad’s side of the family to once and for all learn the language fluently, have “an experience” and the plan was to go back to England and get “a real job”.

Almost three years later and I find myself living in the south of Italy, in Avellino, living with my southern Italian partner and having to adjust to what seems like another world from Northern Italy. I guess it’s like if you were to move to Cassino from Florence, just having gotten used to the ways in a foreign city to then moving to another city in the same country, but having to adjust all over again. Turin to Avellino was a massive culture shock for me.

In the bigger cities like Turin, Milan, Rome, Florence etc, it’s not super difficult to find other expats or English mother tongues, I found a few friends through teaching English in private schools and met some amazing people and life friends yayaa. As you can probably imagine, in Campania, there are as many English speakers here as there are kangaroos in Ireland. I’ve now been here in Avellino after a year and things are getting easier – like you said, deciding to leave everything or just get over it and get on with it was the first step to accepting the situation and finding ways to settle in – I now find myself walking down the street and “saluting” the fruit vendors, butcher man, bakery lady, bartenders, florists. I’m basically famous.

Anyway, thanks again for sharing. If you do ever find yourself in Cassino – hollaaa. I don’t think it’s that far from here, and my partner’s sister even visited Cassino to meet a woman about wedding invitations (that’s another thing, the etiquette – the southern Italian etiquette – we should talk) and apparently it’s a really nice place.

Happy evening 🙂


Wynne February 2, 2016 at 10:10 am

As usual, ME, you made me do a spit-take on my computer screen. Thanks for that. And love the self-portrait, single-breasted and all!

While I have not (yet) lived overseas, I spent several months in Europe in 2013 (mostly in Italy), and with three weeks in Florence, I was beginning to become bored of my own company. I looked up events on Couchsurfing, and met up with a group of expats (and locals who wanted to speak English), and joined them for their weekly dinner. That led to a party the following week, and voila – instant friends! I’m still in touch with one from Russia via FB – she’s as eager to live in Italy as I am, so we’ve a common obsession.

These are some great tips here – sometimes all it takes is reaching out. Even if you want to stab your eyes out when you get home. Baby steps.

Corina February 2, 2016 at 10:15 am

OK, here we go. I’m putting this out there because after living almost 2 years with the Italian boyfriend(I’m an American), I’m about to pop my laundry list of shit here in your comments:
1. My bf is a freakin’ social butterfly with at least 50 close friends. This calls for a very full social calendar and rarely 30 mins goes by without a ping on whatsapp.
2. I am constantly questioned why I don’t make friends, or I don’t go out when he’s not here.
3. RE: #1, I am constantly at these functions to make nice and try to know people; however, their English is almost zero and my Italian is A2 at best. They don’t have time to try to have a conversation with someone with language ability of a retarded 5 year old. So they don’t. I understand Italian if I concentrate, but I’m now resorting to focusing on finishing that bottle of wine.
4. Which brings me to too much constant communication with said partner. I get “funny” phrases like ” Oh, text me when you wake up.” every morning. EVERY. WORK MORNING. Then I receive a call a few hours later “why didn’t you call?” This constant communication is driving me bat shit. I mention this but it results in an argument.

These are the things that are depressing me at the moment. The depression, perhaps, is situational but I feel a little like I’m in a cage. I can probably forget expat events without my partner because of his jealously; but maybe I should just go anyway, or take a cooking lesson or something. I joined a gym; which has helped loads.

M.E. Evans February 2, 2016 at 10:38 am

Oh, I’ve been there. Totally get it. Definitely put some distance between you and your bf and go make other expat friends! Let him tantrum out. He’ll tire himself. 😉

Wynne February 2, 2016 at 10:40 am

Sounds like there’s more at issue w/ the BF than typical expat stuff. I hope you work it out, and I agree w/ ME – let him tantrum it out. He’s a grownup (at least chronologically)…he’ll eventually get it.

M.E. Evans February 2, 2016 at 10:46 am

Yeah! You’re a queen. Don’t take that shit from the bf. He’s lucky to have you and should be supporting anything you need. If he doesn’t then he doesn’t deserve you and you need to set up fast boundaries. If you give him a finger he’ll take the whole arm (Italian saying).

jane February 2, 2016 at 2:49 pm

Love to you Corina. That really sounds tough and you deserve better. Even if everything else is shit your relationship should justify your hardships in living Italy. He shouldn’t be making any demands on you and just be delighted that you have moved to be with him. God he’s lucky to have you putting up with all that

Jane February 2, 2016 at 11:26 am

Thank you thank you for your article. It needs to be said and we are not spoilt brats moaning because its not easy to live in the pizzagelatocheapwinewonderland that is Italy. I think to myself what is it about this place? Nothing, its just a place like every other place, just like home ( but hey there’s a lot more going for my hometown than here). I’ve been here for 6 months, i came with no great expectations ( i knew the town well already and knew what to expect), other than i was going to do my best to make it work because the man i love is here and i want to try at least to make a life with him here. I did need a change in my life but even before i arrived i worried could the town i was moving to sustain me ( no cultural life, rarely live music, and not many welcoming bars). Im used to dipping in and out of a vibrant capital city whenever i like having my fill of culture and buzz and then spending an hour or so over a coffee in a nice little cafe with a book or a friend or by myself. I am an independent girl and used to spending time by myself. But the last few months have been brutal, yes there have been plenty of times when ive walked out that door( sometimes had to push myself out) and within a half an hour i’m sitting on a beautiful mountaintop feeling all sparkly and happy, but my overall experience has been of a pervasive sense of nothing.

Im doing my best but god it is bloody hard. We deserve medals girls. I dont think we give ourselves enough credit for what we have done. I dont think half of my friends would have lasted as long as me and thats not to say im wonderful and they are not, but the vast amount of time ive spent alone would drive most utterly crazy. Today i got accepted on to a CELTA course and im hoping with this qualification under my belt i can start to get my life back on track, whatever about still conversing like a 5 year old child in italian, but for me feeling fulfilled, professionally and personally, earning a wage so i dont have to constantly worry about money ( my god a dwindling back account will age you faster than anything! ) and being the independent woman i am used to being will be a blessing. I just have to grit my teeth and dig into my reserves. But in the meantime, anyone who says ‘Oh ITALY you lucky bitch im sooo jealous’ i will punch them 🙂 Going for a pizza now whoop whoop exciting night out!

Wynne February 3, 2016 at 3:10 pm

“…pizzagelatocheapwinewonderland that is Italy.” Hilarious! Interesting to hear of all these expat experiences. I imagine, to your point, that many would wonder, “What on earth could be so bad about it?” But anytime you leave home, esp. your entire COUNTRY, it’s going to be a challenge, no matter HOW wonderful the destination may be. Kudos to all of you for making it work, hardships and all.

Jane February 5, 2016 at 3:44 am

Thanks Wynne that was probably a bit of a rant but really i don’t think you can know in advance how challenging it can be. Its really about accepting the struggle and rebuilding a life based on whats available around you. Im like a sniffer dog in the car or walking around constantly with my eyes peeled looking for hidden activity… art classes, culture, cute shops and cafes. They do tend to hide things here i find and arent that crazy about self promotion so you really have to seek things out. I hate to give the impression of a grumbling, manic depressive expat its not the case at all but its best to be realistic and say it like it is. Your experience depends hugely on where you choose to base yourself…so to anyone moving out make sure you have done a lot of research and visits in advance. and think about the seasons…make sure its a good place to live during the grey days of winter not just in the summer when everything looks beautiful and enticing. Best of luck to everyone.

fannie March 3, 2016 at 10:02 am

Wish I would have seen this a couple years before. My husband and 2 kids lived in a very small town a couple hours from Rome; nearer his family. Won’t get into the family thing-it was difficult. My husband worked while I am over 40 and had a very difficult time to find any employment; even to take the trains from our town to Rome. I was stared at a lot by neighbors and had a very difficult time being accepted to even get bread, etc at the local bakery for my (at the time) limited Italian. Most neighbors and even teachers of the schools addressed only my husband (sometimes hubby working in Rome and teachers calling him from almost an hour train ride away instead of dealing with me-literally within walking distance to the school). I tried to have the same attitude, walked my chihuahua through the mountains in the morning alone, look at the beauty and feel wonderful. Think-don’t care what anyone else thinks; get tough. And an hour later would return to our home and would meet someone that would give me a hard glare, act coldly or just pretend I didn’t exist. And go have a good cry. The depression got amazingly horrible.

My husband of 9 years is so amazing to me. He tried so hard but we finally agreed to move to America; for the kids and for the stress. He left his family, sold our home and spent a grueling year and a half literally in a room in Rome waiting for the green card process to be complete while we were separated all that time (I had to resume domicile in America). I couldn’t love or respect him more for everything he gives and has done; and he did this all against my objections that I wouldn’t ever ask him to do that.

Were we living in Rome I think we really would have been able to take in everything with real pleasure. Whenever we visited, it was really wonderful. Even when I was alone some days; you could hear even some English and anywhere you went they were patient with you as well as very nice. I would always meet someone on the trains from Rome, other countries and even the UK (only once a family from America). I always left feeling like I was the most fortunate person to be able to have a day like that in beautiful Italy. I think I would have felt much more independent as well. My husband did buy a car for me but we lived in a Frazione on the top of a mountain and I just couldn’t get the hang of driving the thing up and down the steep mountains without it stalling. Being screamed at by mobs of Italians was getting a little too common; I didn’t want to repeat that with my driving.

lensan March 24, 2016 at 10:55 am

soo feel you….

bevchen February 2, 2016 at 11:26 am

I don’t have any friends here, but I actually don’t mind. I suppose it’s because I’ve already done the expat thing once so I know it’s possible. I have been to a few expat meetups but haven’t really clicked with anyone yet. I’ve always been terrible at making friends though! Give me another few years and I might get there 😉 My current thinking is that I’ll find friends once I have a child to bond with other mothers over… whenever that might happen.

charlotteemily09 February 2, 2016 at 1:39 pm

Thanks for acknowledging that living far away from home is hard, even if you have all the trappings of a “good life” (relationship, job, housing, etc.).

aprilml February 2, 2016 at 3:39 pm

this is SO very helpful to me, M.E., as i am moving to italy later this year and am already beginning to feel this way (just imagining the situation)! i’ve had many life experiences and have practiced 1, 4, and 5 many times in many different contexts. (and by the way, i’m a counselor and also recommend “writing it all down” to my clients. it’s been a lifesaver for me personally.) i’ll be focusing on 2 and 3 (and of course 4 will continue to pop up as well). while my husband and i were there finalizing the details of our new home last fall, i became close friends with the wonderful woman who owned the bed-and-breakfast where we were staying. i plan to start my new little circle with her and branch out. thank you for your wonderful blog!

John February 2, 2016 at 5:55 pm

Interesting. My Torinese wife has been here in Boston for 8 years. So many things you write about are true, at least according to my observations here – guess I’ll find out first hand soon as we are headed to Bologna in the spring for a number of reasons (e.g., food, teach our son Italian). Strangely, she’s less excited than I am as she never gelled with other Italians and left for London at 22. She’s hopeful that she can meet up with some Brits as she really misses their outlook and sense of humor. I’m glad that you bring out that it is fine to cultivate relationships with other expats. We actually picked Bologna so that we can have a range of friends not available in smaller cities.
I’m also a bit concerned about living among Italians… many of the ones I know here are kind of high maintenance or undependable. For their part, they find me poorly-dressed and taciturn (the word Germanic is thrown around a lot)… a match made in heaven!

apollard February 3, 2016 at 1:58 pm

Hi john, I’m currently having struggles with an unreliable Italian friend, I thought it was just him but is it a cultural thing?

John February 4, 2016 at 2:44 pm

I’ve spent the last 8 years analyzing Italians I know, both here in Boston and in Torino – I was really puzzled for a long time. I don’t want to cast too wide of a net, but yeah I’ve seen my wife struggle with people who commit to helping her out with her Italian classes for expat kids. For instance, we had a guy who said he’d play Santa at the annual Christmas party for 20ish kids. My wife sent him an email two days before the party and he just offhandedly said he wasn’t coming. No warning. No display of remorse. Just, “no, I don’t think I’m coming.” This kind of thing was pretty common – if she got any kind of response at all. Often people would just disappear and not answer email/phone.
I think of it this way, for a wide variety of rational historical reasons, Italians have a learned distrust of those outside of a small circle of family and close friends. There was a famous study in the 50s of Italian farmers called “The Moral Basis of a Backward Society” (I know, pretty harsh). In it, the researcher talks of “amoral familism” in which people’s loyalty to this small group would trump questions of right and wrong. If you fall outside of that group, you likely can’t count on them… unless their performance is public. Then fear of “la brutta figura” will keep them in line. Thus, my wife learned to immediately send out emails saying, “Giovanni X has graciously agreed to be Babbo Natale this year!”. The other exception has been the Italians who have Americanized over many years or, those from the German-speaking parts of Italy… they are often very cooperative/helpful/reliable.
My wife lived for a long time in London before we married. She said it was a long transition for her to see that she could trust people. She’s really worried that she’ll lapse back into her old ways of being when we move to Italy. Even she doesn’t get certain things I do. For instance, once she dressed me down for helping some people on the side of the interstate who were trying to restrain a self-destructive teenager. I was pretty proud of myself for helping strangers in need. She, on the other hand, was furious that I would risk my safety for outsiders.

M.E. Evans February 4, 2016 at 3:30 pm

John, this is so dead on. I’ve explained this concept a million times to friends and family and me and F have similar issues. He’ll actually get annoyed at me for being what we consider “a good person.” Helping strangers, for example, is frowned upon. It’s weird. In a way I’ve stopped doing as much for others as I used to because it’s not worth the argument or his eye rolling. Suuuuuper backwards. You’ve just inspired a whole blog post.

apollard February 5, 2016 at 1:19 pm

Do you have a blog John? Thanks for this. I found it very interesting.

John February 5, 2016 at 4:02 pm

Thanks. No, I don’t have a blog, but a lot of these kinds of discussions make it into my wife’s blog on being an Italian in Boston. http://bostonitalianmom.blogspot.com/
When I first got married, I used to get *really* annoyed with my wife and in-laws over things that I took for granted. At a certain point, I decided that I was being patronizing and that I needed to start with the assumption that they were rational people and if they had such strong preferences, there must be good reasons. They still surprise me, but there are fewer hurt feelings. My wife has also spent a ton of time explaining me to the in-laws. They still think I’m weird, but in a benign way.

Wynne February 3, 2016 at 2:46 pm

I loved Bologna and it would seem a great choice for you, especially being a university town, in which to have a diverse group of friends. I’d be excited, too! Have a wonderful adventure and good luck!

John February 4, 2016 at 2:49 pm

Thanks. We really think it will be the right mix of people, size, history, schools, etc. I’m bracing myself for the inevitable bureaucratic headaches but am excited.

Jess May 31, 2017 at 9:14 am

Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU! I realize that your post is over a year old but here’s my experience.. I’m an American, living in Italy for the past 6 years and it’s been really difficult because of this lack of trust for outsiders. I’m from the South, overly friendly, and a natural giver/helper, the kind of person who will give you the shirt off my back if you need it. In Italy, when you’re kind, open and overly helpful, you get stared at like you’re crazy. Italians have repeatedly said that I smile too much, that I’m too nice and accomodating. To put it in perspective, I literally consider 2 people (Italians) ‘acquantances’, NOT even real friends after living here for 6 years. I often question if there is something wrong with ME if, after spending so much time here, I have no Italian friends, but I’ve come to realize over time that their lack of trust and wishy-washy behavior is truly a part of their culture and doesn’t leave much room for outsiders. It’s nice to know that there are others who have experienced this first hand.

Marie Therese February 3, 2016 at 7:22 am

Thank you so much for this post. I moved to Italy last year to be with my italian boyfriend. I can relate to everything in your post and feel more validated…I’m not going crazy afterall!!

anne-laure February 3, 2016 at 9:43 am

thanks for the post ME. your sharing your experience and your honesty in doing it is very much comforting for others living the same situation. and your humour is very “fresh” -like oxygen that helps you breath more easily-, it feels good !! I’m 39, French and have been living in Italy for 5years and a half, I’m sad and angry very often specially at work -i work for a government funded institute…a second cultural shock, besides the one of living here- , this experience in Italy (I’m also married to an Italian man, like many of you) has made me crazy, and paranoid sometimes. I guess it’s probably still harder for Americans. Good luck to all of us.

Naomi Campagne February 3, 2016 at 9:45 am

I’m not going to join the pity party, but I certainly can relate to it. As a long in the tooth, (that’s code for OLDer yoots), I am choosing at the ripe age of 62 to sell my house, car and all property to move from America and live in Italy.

It wasn’t something I planned, but something I chose to swing back around to as I spent 2 years, 7 months, living and working in eastern Europe and discovered something I probably knew all along. I belong in Europe. Something in me said, you are home and even though I have led a life on the road less traveled from the beginning, changing course to shake myself up and am world weary and jaded beyond hope, I still at this advanced age think there is another chapter for me.

After I made the decision to pack up and go asap, I was surprised how excited and happy I was at the thought of the moving to a country where I do not speak the language (but will learn as much as tired, abused grey matter allows), know that I have seen people at their worst and best, they are everywhere folks, (law enforcement retired) am hobbled some days with arthritis from leaping tall buildings my whole life and will have to count every euro to make it happen, could not be more thrilled about the challenge. You really have to pat yourselves on the expat back people. I’ve done this before and trust me, it does get better and there comes a point in time where you are comfortable. As ME says, it is situational, which brings me to the whole point of my note.

Nothing brings a person out of themselves and depression like having a “mission” in life. And for me personally, (as I can no longer sit in a bar and drink to kill the loneliness or pain), this is finding a volunteer situation in which I am not thinking of me, me, me, but keeping my hands and mind occupied working for and with others who need help or contributing to a situation which needs bettering, i.e. something as simplistic as picking up the trash from your street daily. Sounds simple or stupid, but mindless physical puttering about, is sometimes just what the doctor ordered.

Winston Churchill said, “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.”

The Florentine had an article ‘How to volunteer in Florence’, for students, but it applies to us all.
BTW, didn’t mean to sound all preachy, but been there and done that and can’t wait to continue, this time with some experience under my hat, or is that belt?

PS-love you Ms. Evans. You keep me laughing and reassured that we are not in this alone.

venus February 3, 2016 at 10:34 am

Naomi I love your attitude, My mother was born in Italy and I have visited several times, yes only visited. I too feel like I belong in Europe. I am 56 and would love to just pick up and move. I wish I were as brave as you, But my Spanish/American husband wont fly over water. Maybe if he goes before me who knows. You are an inspiration to others. Have a great life (I know you will). Life is one great adventure ..a grand adventure!

apollard February 3, 2016 at 2:00 pm

Take him by boat!

NeitherHereNorThere February 4, 2016 at 7:35 am

Naomi, me too, also trying to rouse oldish grey matter & learn a new tongue. We can leap a few more (tall buildings) girl, and volunteer to maybe show a few others how it is done.

1luckychic88 February 3, 2016 at 11:43 am

Very helpful and encouraging read 🙂

italianbraveheart February 3, 2016 at 5:00 pm

Hi Mrs Evans,
I’m new to the blog and thought I’d walked into some sort of therapy session for reformed or ‘soon to be reformed’ manic depressives after reading the article and the some of the comments. I was ready to take my turn, stand up and introduce myself ‘Hi, I’m Brendan and I’m depressed…!’ but then I realised shit I’m not really depressed I just had such high expectations that hadn’t been met yet. For God’s sake I’m the Italophile in the family, this was my dream, why are the rest of my family adjusting and having more fun than me?! Luckily I didn’t marry Italian by the sounds of things, so that’s not my problem; I have to deal with my presumption that life here was going to be a fairytale…better, sweeter, slower…and that’s not the case but I’m hoping that if I relax a bit and not expect too much that the Italy I dreamt of will come running across the piazza, grab me by the balls and say ‘Here I am, where have you been!’

BTW thankfully before commenting I read a few other posts and realise that its not a therapy session. Most of the post are humorous, light-hearted, liquor-fuelled, with the odd smattering of foul language…I’m in the right place!!

Wynne February 3, 2016 at 5:27 pm

If you’re reading this blog, you’re definitely in the right place! ME is hysterical, and her posts are thoughtful, honest and spot-on. It seems it’s more difficult than I ever would have imagined, living as an expat, even somewhere as magnificent as Italy. I’m so glad this posting and comment session exists – it’s eye-opening and so very useful!

I hope you enjoy yourself soon. Ciao!

meganbrown26 February 4, 2016 at 2:50 am

Such a great article and so spot on. I could substitute America for New Zealand and Italy for Sweden and written a similar story 🙂 I realised about a month ago I was fighting against putting down any roots or making friends here because I’m in the mindset that I’ll move again in 3 months (I’ve moved to a new town or country every 3 – 6 months for the last 3 years!). But now I’m having to face up to the fact that I need friends, I want to get involved in activities here, I want to love living in Sweden for as long as we stay here (the exotic northern snow and ice laden land at the other end of the world from NZ).

Thanks for a few practical tips (that I do know but needed to be told!)

radelman2007 February 4, 2016 at 6:03 am

Very amusing read, in total. Even an older expat (currently on country #8) can do with these sorts of remindings. Also, it is refreshing how lightheartedly foul language is bandied. Far-far too long it has bored and chilled me out, that what was expressive and fine for me to say in the seventies has garnered such disapproval . . .For going on something like four decades now. Fuck-sake, it is nice to see some color coming back. Go forth, you young, married expat people in Italy. Shake off your situational depression. Swear like sailors and multiply.

M.E. Evans February 4, 2016 at 7:06 am

Hahahaha. I loved this. Thank you.

Wynne February 6, 2016 at 8:03 am

This is awesome.

Kristen February 4, 2016 at 2:33 pm

I love reading about all you experiences and the challenges you have had to overcome. For school, I’m doing a project studding Italy. I have a couple question I’d live to hear your opinion on.
1. What is your favorite part of Italian culture? What inspired you to continue living your life there despite your challenges?
2. What does a typical Friday night look like in Italy?
3. What is the main difference between the way Italian teenagers dress vs. American teenagers?
4. What do teenagers spend there time doing? Any hobbies or sports different from America?

theofficeneurotic February 6, 2016 at 4:14 am

I found your blog by googling “expat depression,” just fyi. When I read this post, a little judgy part of my brain said “oh honey, you at least can pass for Italian. Try being ginger in Japan and then talk to me about standing out.” (Yeah my brain is kind of a dick, that’s why I’m on Xanax.) But it helped me realise that it’s not about how we look in relation to others or what other people are thinking at all; it’s about how we see ourselves when we feel out of place. I like reading the perspective of expats in other places and seeing that a lot of it is the same.

Serra February 9, 2016 at 8:10 am

Right now I need some expat humour, and you’ve delivered – a huge thank you!!
I’m going through a “getting-your-Italian-licence-bureaucratic-nightmare”, so it bought a smile to my face!

Yep, being an expat is definitely situational. I’m a life coach, and I still struggle with keeping positive!

Matthew June 3, 2016 at 5:45 pm

Thank you! I can really relate to you. I’ve lived in different countries but Italy is the first time I experience depression. Maybe it’s because the countries I lived before were all in Asia and I’m originally from Asia. But hopefully after reading this I will find some ways to be able to enjoy my expat experience again. Thank you ❤️


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