Perpetual Expat Daily Life

The most common question our friends back in the U.S. ask is what normal daily life is like. What do people do for fun, what do they eat, where have you traveled? 

They also want to know things like  – How hard is it to settle in? How do you make friends? How hard is it to learn Italian? I tell people to expect distinct phases to your adjustment. The typical phases of the expat adjustment cycle are Preparation, Honeymoon, Culture Shock, and Adaptation. Not everyone goes though them all, and durations will vary person to person. 

The first phase is the Preparation phase and is full of mixed emotions. What will it be like? Can I do this? When will the day finally get here? The Honeymoon phase is when you get here and everything is new and exotic. Everywhere you turn its like a travel brochure. Then, sometime later in the first year people hit the Culture Shock phase. If you don’t speak the language, getting through bureaucratic things can be difficult. You are starting to miss your favorite foods you might be frustrated with how Italians do things sometimes. Assuming you stick it out, you will eventually enter the Adaptation phase. You are now comfortable with the pace of life in your new country and when unexpected things happen, you shrug your shoulders and say “Its Italian.” By this time you may also notice that you are comfortable going into situations without rehearsing them over and over in your head out in the car and then of course, they never follow the script!!.  New arrivals come and you take them under your wing to show them the ropes just like others did for you when you first arrived. 

Photo by Bogdan Todoran on Unsplash

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