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For the year I was in Italy, my difficulties were in my weak language skills and being a single female out in the world. It takes a bit of adapting anywhere, even in these contemporary times.

By Lucy Warren

I am thinking about moving to Rome or Milan, but any big city would be perfect for me. You see, I'm a forty-something divorcee nurse who lives in London. I am involved in my local Italian-American club and study my language and culture.

I travelled to Italy to visit my family in 2003 and also visited friends in other parts of Italy. I am really hoping to move to Italy within the next five years. I have decided to make the move because I love the country, the culture, the lifestyle, and always have felt a bit like a fish out of water here. It has pretty much been a dream for years now. I know that I have a life waiting for me in Italy, and that I will be able to contribute in some way to the community that I become a part of.

Since I was adopted to a UK family at birth, I cannot claim my Italian citizenship, so I will be standing in line with a pile of notarised paperwork like everyone else. Indeed, it's a little annoying, and the funny thing is, before I went to Italy in 2004, without knowing a thing about the process, I applied for an extended stay visa and got it without a problem in three weeks. I did take my Italian language teacher with me just in case, but I found I didn't need him except for moral support. I just pray it is that easy when I am ready to go back.

For the year I was in Italy, my difficulties were in my weak language skills and being a single female out in the world. It takes a bit of adapting anywhere, even in these contemporary times. Of course, it takes a bit of time to relax and familiarise yourself with the language and culture. Slowing down is an art. I had to return to the UK because of a family emergency or I would still be there. Now I am starting the process all over again.

This time I plan to start my own business. I am aiming to start my own English food store, namely for expatriates in the country. The process seems to be tough, and Italy is known for suffering with bureaucratic hindrance and red tape. I haven't run my own business before either, having spent my life working as a nurse in the UK, but I'm really looking forward to the challenge.

What I can recommend to you is have all of your paperwork in order, don't bank on things going the way you want it to, and just be prepared to flow with what happens. Most important, which I failed to do, is to communicate with the expatriates. They are an invaluable source of help, which I found out too late. However, I won't be having the same problem the next time around!

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