I don’t usually go in for competitions, especially not ones where me or my writing are being judged, but this week, I’m entering not one, but two blogging competitions. The first one is at Expats Blog, where you’ll find my entry, Top Ten Questions to Ask Yourself Before Moving to Italy, in amongst hundreds of others revealing the good, the bad and the ugly about a huge variety of countries. Of course, you’re only interested in my entry, which tries to help a poor soul who is considering moving to Italy to improve her standard of living…
As well as prizes for the judges’ favourites, the entries with the most Facebook shares or the best comment also win prizes, so please head over to Expats Blog and give me a remote chance of winning something! It’s a tiny bit of a faff because comments have to be more than 10 words long and you have to verify your email address before your comment is counted but it’s worth it to spread some Christmas joy – to me, if no one else 😉 If you’d like to read my entry or make a comment, the competition ends at 9pm (GMT) on Friday 20th December. Remember, the comment should be posted on the Expats Blog, not here!
If you help me win, you could receive all these lovely goodies*
*If you order and pay for them, obviously.
And here is the (non-winning) entry:
Top Ten Questions to Ask Yourself Before Moving to Italy
Things are going well at the moment; my job is secure, I have a nice house and good friends. I sometimes feel, however, that I could do with more excitement and I should make the most of life. Do you think moving to Italy could be the answer?
Bored of Basildon
Dear Bored of Basildon
I understand your restlessness. Before moving to Italy, I thought that life wanted to be seized by the horns and taken on a big night on the town. But after living here for 18 months, I have now come to the conclusion that sometimes life would rather have a quiet evening in with its feet up, enjoying a nice cup of tea and a custard cream whilst watching repeats of ‘The Vicar of Dibley’.
I have compiled a questionnaire to see if moving to Italy would suit you. Answer yes or no to the following Top Ten Questions:
1. Stress: Do you enjoy stressful situations where government officials are barking questions at great speed in an incomprehensible language and you fear arrest may come at any moment?
2. TV: Are you content to watch TV programmes that all follow the same format: Z-list celebrities talk to a cheesy host who fields questions from the audience, whilst a troupe of bikini-clad young ladies prance about in the background?
3. Weather: Can you handle the searing heat in the summer and the lack of frost in the winter? Being able to wear a t-shirt in December? (You’ll be the only one, mind you. The Italians dress in full winter wardrobe mode from 1st October, even if it’s still 25 degrees out.)
4. Cheap Plonk: Can you resist the lure of €2 wine and beer cheaper than apple juice? Would you be tempted to serve prosecco at breakfast to save money?
5. Shopping: Are you happy to wear to wear plastic gloves to choose vegetables at the supermarket, else run the risk of old grannies shouting unfathomable insults at you?
6. Food and Drink: Do you relish frugal activities such as eking out your dwindling supply of teabags by double using each one? Do you have the mathematical skills needed to obsessively count this dwindling supply and draw up a bar chart of how many cups of tea you can have a day before the next visitors arrive from England with fresh supplies? Will your body survive a 200% increase in your daily caffeine intake as you attempt to keep up with your Italian friends’ cappuccino consumption?
7. Driving: Will you be able to cope with driving on a roundabout where, at any one time, up to fourteen cars are entering, crossing, stopping and actually parking on the roundabout?
8. Dog Poop: Can you do the pavement poop dance to avoid the huge piles of dog turds everywhere?
9. Walking: Do you realize that if you start to cross the road on a pedestrian crossing, the cars will actually drive at around you on the crossing whilst shouting and making strange hand gestures?
10. Cultural Differences: Are you able to change the habits of a lifetime and push your way through hordes of people coming the other way through a doorway as no-one will ever let you pass first?
If you have answered ‘yes’ to all these questions, then, congratulations; you are crazy enough to move to Italy. Benvenuto!