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If my mother asks, I'm just in Rome on an extended visit!


Each week, my elderly mother double-checks: I'm not moving to Rome, right? I'm merely taking an extended visit, correct?

I reassure her with partial truths. I have rented a studio apartment in Rome for three months, beginning in December. True. I've also told her that I hope to find some work to pay the bills, but my focus will be studying Italian and working on my second novel. Also true. Sort of.

What I don't mention is that I'm preparing to stay in Italy many, many months. Say, 60 months. Or maybe 100 months if all goes well.

It's also true that I've gotten some leads on work in Rome that might allow me to stay much longer. But why trouble her with these details now, in case things don't go well and I come scurrying back to Canada next spring, broke and downcast.

Whatever. I'll jump off that bridge when I get to it.

Meanwhile, I'm practising using Skype so I can call Mom frequently from Rome (whether I can catch her in her room at the senior's home in rural Alberta is another question. She loves it there and is in a social whirl the likes of which I have never seen!)

Skyping to Mom's phone will, hopefully, be less expensive than calling from my Italian cellphone. Just one of the few ways I can find to save money in Rome.


For it’s becoming clear that My Life as an Italian is going to be rather expensive. So it has become all the more important that I find some decent work there. At least things are finally looking up on that front!
I've applied for some writers grants to help with my fiction writing.

It seems there will be some solid opportunities for me to work as a freelance reporter in Rome, which would be a great way to meet more Italians, oil up my rusty reporting skills, and practise my beginner Italian language abilities. God help us all.

Meanwhile, my speechwriting contacts are hinting that I should be able to continue to do “remote” work for them. Remote at this point means my apartment, instead of their offices; but thanks to the Internet, remote should also translate into me writing speeches from Rome. So that's helpful.

And there are a number of UN agencies in Rome that I'm hoping will need the communications skills of a reporter/speechwriter/comms strategist right there on the ground. My new business cards should read “Will write 4 food.”

But for now, the money is pouring out as I pay for business cards; hire movers; and arrange for my belongings to be put into storage next month. And buy a winter coat and new shoes (since I'm too tall to fit Italian sizes so can't buy them there.)

I've switched to a bank account that charges a higher monthly fee, but offers free ATM transactions, saving me the usual $5 charge every time I use a foreign bank machine. I crunched the numbers and the more expensive account actually does mean savings -- or, to be more precise, lower overall expenses.

Soon, I'll have to get a six month supply of prescriptions which is going to cost a small fortune.


And -- a top priority -- my hair stylist will give me the formula for my highlights, to take to Rome so my coiffure can be maintained (though I'm certain that the Aveda salon in Rome is going to be pricey.)

On that last point, PLEASE don't tell my Mom -- the money I spend on my hair, more than anything else, would scandalize her!

Comments (14)


I'm SO HAPPY to read that it's all coming together for you! I expect that when we have that prosecco/cacio e pepe meet up in Rome you'll have to shoehorn me in between work assignments! :D


Thanks, Colleen. And when (not if) we meet in Rome, I'll happily ditch whatever assignments I have for our GTG!

I get goosebumps for you (or chicken skin as they say in Hawaii) thinking of your adventure - FABULOUS! You have the resources to make it work. And if per remotest chance it doesn't? It will be a memory to treasure for the rest of your life. Keep the dream alive. At least you are willing to take the risk that many just dream about! And if you continue to write with a zest of life, love of art and travel and humor, who wouldn't want you as part of their team?

Kathy (Trekcapri):

Hi Sandra, Awesome post. I'm so glad that you'll be able to communicate with your mom on skype. And great news about the solid work opportunities and writing grants coming your way. I had no doubt....It all sounds very exciting. Yay!

Have a wonderful weekend.


M, thanks so much for the encouragement!

Hi Kathy, since my Mom doesn't have a computer or use the Internet, it's important that I can stay in touch by phone. Skype will be SO helpful!

Shhh! We won't breathe a word to your Mom!

It's too bad that she can't somehow have access to a computer so she could see you on Skype. I think actually seeing you would mean a lot to her.

It sounds so very REAL now, doesn't it? It's not just a dream anymore. I am so happy for you!


Nancy, that would be fun, wouldn't it? Maybe I can find someone in my hometown who has a laptop and Skype, and work something out so Mom and I can see each other when I'm in Rome!

No doubt you'll soon learn the secrets to living in Italy on the cheap - lord knows with their economy the regular folks must know this. no doubt a neighbour will take you under their wings and provide assistance.

Then again - I have seen many women of a certain age with rather unfortunate colour and cuts. Perhaps you don't want to go THERE!


Jerry, I know what you mean about crimes against coiffure!
I think my motto in all things will be: keep it simple!

Ellen Liikala:

I am so excited for you.

I promise, I won't breathe a word to your Mom!


Hi Ellen, thanks so much! Hope that all is well with you!


Ooh Sandra, perhaps we can be Skype buddies! This is all sounding so positive! REALLY looking forward to this for you!


Sandra, just saw this now and loved reading it! Mom will never know, will she? Her social whirl will keep her to preoccupied to realize that you are really in Roma. The contacts you are making in Rome sound promising. I absolutely can not wait to start reading your blogging from there.


Thanks Jane! I've got Skype up and running, so that will help. Now, to tackle a new blog look.

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