Today we’re lucky enough to share a new instalment of our Guest Blogger Series and this week we’re taking on the topic of expat relationships. So say hello to Chelsea Christensen an American expat who left her home country to pursue a new life in Turin and a whirlwind romance with her Italian boyfriend. Here on Expat Explorer, Chelsea shares a beautiful story of successful expat romance......
The world gets smaller and smaller by the day. One minute I'm living in a quaint American ski town working for the local film festival and the next minute I'm uttering the words, "Yes, I'll move in with you!", to a dark and handsome ski instructor with a thick Italian accent. 3 months later I sold everything I owned and boarded an Alitalia flight bound for Turin, Italy. Love, and the prospect of adventure, will make you do these outrageous things.
Most of us Expats-by-Love only think about getting there and if you're like me, didn't think about what would happen after that. I learned a few lessons the hard way. One being that the key to assimilating into a foreign culture is to make friends. I started a blog to have a creative outlet and to share the funny things about living in Italy. After starting the blog I joined an online Expat community. I had no idea just how invaluable that would become. I have made many friends both online and in person all whom understand what you are going through. Plus you get to share funny stories with them that would otherwise get lost in translation. For example, once while having an argument with my Italian boyfriend, to help prove my point I uttered the phrase, "Put yourself in my shoes". As this was the first time he had ever heard that saying he looked at me blankly for a moment and then said, "Put yourself in my pants!" Needless to say the argument ended at that moment as I couldn't stop laughing.
Becoming an Expat is certainly not for the fainthearted. In college we had a study abroad semester in London and several of the students couldn't handle being that far away from home and would cry themselves to sleep every night. Those students didn't make it to the end of the semester and went home early. I have learned that if you want to have an interlingual romance, to avoid crying yourself to sleep every night you must make sure that the following 3 cliches are part of your personality.
1. You: Roll with the punches
2. You can: Expect the unexpected
3. You believe that: If you can't beat 'em, join 'em
By 'joining them' I don't just mean learning the language. I mean embracing the cultural idiosyncrasies. For example, here in Italy most shops close from noon to 3:30pm. Why you ask? So people can go home for lunch and take a nap. All of my American work ethics tell me that this is just plain laziness. Italians see it as a traditional healthy work day. After a period of adjustment and planning my entire days around getting all of my errands done either before 12 or after 4pm, I can start to see the benefits of an afternoon nap.
Then there are the days when those little culture quirks begin to make me question what am I doing here. Last month I started to think about where I would be if I had said no to that handsome ski instructor. Then I looked out my window and the Naked Bicycle Club of Turin whooshed by my apartment on their annual nude ride threw the city. I smiled and thought - life would be more dull for sure. So glad I said yes.
About the Author
Chelsea Christensen is originally from Park City, Utah and is now living in Turin. She regularly blogs about her exciting new life in Italy and is always interested in hearing from other expats and sharing their experiences. Find out more about Chelsea’s adventures, subscribe to her blog- All roads lead to Pecetto