Interview with Graeme in Tuscany
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Date of Interview: January 20, 2007
Area of Italy you live in?
Let us know a little about yourself?
Married to Robyn. Two dogs make up the family. They came from Australia, too. Nominally retired, but deluding myself about same. I wrote for television - with the occasional film - in Australia for 30 years and finished up bored out of my brain. In luring my wife to Italy, I promised her I'd write a book. I'm still promising. She has stopped asking. On the basis that I have a conscience, I'll probably start something. Soon. Or sooner or later.
Why did you decide to move to Italy?
I hate Australia. It's an isolated, immature, naive, deeply conservative, racist - and, worst of all, smug - society. Many many visits to Italy over the years had me intrigued by the country - its ways and means, its layers, its extraordinary history - ancient and recent - not to mention its culture and its people. The food wasn't bad, either, and cooking is one of my passions. Of course Italy is flawed - majorly so in a number of ways - but it's a mature society, it's not smug, it knows its place in the world, its life priorities are entirely admirable, and it does things its own way. Sometimes frustratingly, sure, but there are more than enough items on the other side of the ledger to more than make up for the frustrations.
What type of process did you go through to be able to move here?
We applied for and obtained Elective Residency visas through the Italian consulate in Sydney. Typically, the consulate was less than helpful from the outset - or at least the Signora to whom I spoke wasn't terribly interested in helping. So I set about finding what we needed for the visa - using, mainly, this excellent site - and was able to deliver to the consulate probably more than we needed. The young man who fielded our documents was, I think, mildly stunned by the detail I provided. Though I knew we were perfectly prepared, it was nerve-wracking all the same.
What problems did you run into during the initial process and how were you able to fix them ?
No problems. After I mined this site for information.
How long have you been here?
Arrived May 30, 2005
What type of adjustment problems have you had?
None. Apart from anything else, I wake up every morning and thank goodness I no longer live in Australia.
What do you wish someone had told you before you made the leap?
Nothing. Sorry I can't be more helpful.
What inside secret could you pass on to others looking to move over?
If your Italian isn't flash, life is made much easier if you have access to a local who, obviously apart from speaking the language, is familiar with the means and methods. Particularly in the area of the bureaucracy. We were very lucky in that the local lady who managed the house we rented when we first arrived - we've since bought - quickly became a friend. She guided us through the first, puzzling, bureaucratic steps, and continues, now, to help us out when something doesn't make sense. And, as many will already know, that happenstance isn't rare.
Do you have any disappointments, things you thought would happen but haven't for whatever reasons ?
None at all.
What has changed about you since you have been here ?
I'm less impatient than I was. Italy can be an immensely frustrating place and I've accepted that. Railing sometimes gets you somewhere, sometimes not. It's a matter of learning when to rail and when to accept.
Do you think that you will stay forever?
I'd like to. My wife, at this point, is less certain, but she loves it here, too.
Can you think of any other questions that should be added to this questionnaire?
Not really. It covers the appropriate bases.
Can you think of anything that you would like seen added to this site?
Ditto the above.