Whenever I’m homesick for the UK, I think of a photo montage I saw on a friend’s Instagram account that sums up the feelings I get in the first few months of living abroad.
The photograph in question features a party scene at an Italian restaurant, mixed in with shots of retro cars and the Mediterranean sea.
It struck me that it doesn’t matter how badly my UK commute sucks in one way or another, if I left my home and my job, and came back, nothing would change.
The lifestyle I’ve chosen gives me time to plan and travel, I can have a more interesting social life, and I can be somewhere I love.
Living abroad gives me that desire to hang out with friends and hang out at parties.
Every time I hear people complain about the length of their commutes, I see people living without a car and living out their dreams of spending weekends drinking wine or volunteering in a local wildlife reserve.
I really envy those people.
Italy is an incredible country, and if you’re determined to make the most of your time in the countryside, you won’t find better value or better quality of life than it currently offers.
Living in a new country, it can be difficult to shake off your national identity as quickly as you want to, but having a little bit of Italian heritage can make a big difference in making the transition.
Fresh food has always been a constant in my life, and having Italian friends I can trust will always offer guidance when I’m looking for new foods and eating out.
I’ve never met a more gracious Italian visitor, as they often try to encourage me to stay and eat their specialities when I don’t want to leave.
While some of my compatriots know how to speak Italian, I’m learning slowly. There’s no day that goes by where I don’t stumble across a couple of Italians on the tube.
They’ll often say hello to me, say hello to my UK friends, and say they’re happy to have me in their homeland.
In the UK, you can’t say hello to a new person unless you first say hello to them as though you’ve known them for years.
That difference, when combined with my love of food and nature, creates a real feeling of familiarity when I’m introduced to new people.