Anyone out there!?Hi, I have been around this site for a while, but moved to Italy since november and to be truthful, I am isolated and finding it a little hard.

tess Image
12/27/2009 - 17:56


 Please don't feel alone, I am sure you will make lots of friends soon. What brought you to Italy.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

  Thank u!  my situation is that I am alone with our 13yr old, as my husbands still working in the UK. The plan was never for me to be alone here, but we bought in italy and couldnt sell the Uk house during the recession, and the 18 mnths were running out as we'd purchased the house as a first home and needed to quickly make it habitable and lodge residency. Therefore we had to accept alot less for our uk house, and now my husbands forced to stay on there and repay the debt we now have as there wasn't enough money... The house here is not really habitable by any sane person's standards to be honest. No doors inside, leaking roof, no plastering or pointing, part of upstairs missing etc...  and the whole things heated by a dwindling supply of wood that I cant seem to keep up with. I dont speak italian, but I have enrolled onto a course and desperately want and need to. My daughter's at school locally and making friends, but my God its a long day for me. No neighbours and nobody even speaks a little english, so I keep trying to keep up. Some days I honestly feel despair. Theres no reception as we are between 2 mountain ranges, and no phone. No TV and the cellphone only works if I climb the terraces which are incredibly steep and not a good idea for a middle aged woman at night! So, I drive out, like now, and my daughter and I take our laptops and dongles and try to get signals. Also not great at night, but we are so cut off and its the holidays so no school for a while. Sorry for the long post but this is therapy. x

Tess, you are obviously going through a difficult time and are feeleing all the side effects of what hasn't gone right for you. But you don't say what part of Italy you are in - just that you are between two mountain ranges... Give us a few hints which mountain ranges and it's a pound to a penny that there will be someone who lives 'in' or at least 'near' to where you are.  I know there are several groups here who, over time, have become good friends - but there are also many others who are willing to help with advice and  guidance to expatriates.

Tess, where are you located?  It's my experience that Italians are extremely friendly and will help you with shopping, language, socializing, etc., if they know they are welcome.  I have cousins in several parts of Italy who would be happy to contact you and help you feel comfortable.  Let us know what town/province you are in!  And I am sorry about the circumstances of the UK house ... we are going through the same sort of thing in the U.S., as you know.

   Hello Tess   Have just read your email. where about in Italy are you? My wife  Rose & I feel so sorry for your plight hope this does not set you off. Any consolation its v/cold, snowing and road salt is runing out. Our house is in Cassino Lazio and there its closer to 20 deg. How can we help? I visit the house and work on it but do not speak hardly any Italian but in desperation I use any trick in the book to get what I want. Can I ask a question or two? good. can you get a tv & a cheap dvd player then get some films delivered even through the internet & sent to you.Just to hear english spoken can help. I think you need some material to cover the walls to help warm the place up & to brighton up the place. Ikea sell blankets & material cheap. Sorry am I going on too much? The Italians can seem rather conservative like some brits even suspicious but from my experience as soon as they know what you are about ( and you are a woman with a child) I think you will be fine. Take a piece of wood (linea) & maybe a picture of depleted supplies on your camera/phone & on a piece of paper write dove (where) & the e for euro to say how much I always have a pen & paper then I can draw or write have a go. I have even rang my wife  & then let her talk to the stranger, I then wait for the smile or even chuckle from my new mate. I will stop now & let you digest & hopefully come back. All the best David 

I have just checked on "Member List" to see when tess last logged on and find it's when she made her second posting.  If, as some people think, this is a wind-up, then tess is taking no joy from it, as she hasn't seen any of the comments, helpful or otherwise.  Is it so crazy to drive out at night to try and make contact?  Perhaps, but when you are desperate, action has a way of lifting the spirit. I wish you a happier New Year tes, if you come back to us.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

 Hi Tess,  Whereabouts are you .......  If near me you are more than welcome to come for chin-wag..... (I am wife of the black dog).  Angie......

Hi, Tess. I'm Pat, one of the writers and, as you see, I'm here! I'm sorry you feel isolated, especially at this time of year. You WILL make contacts and feel better so please don't worry! I don't know what sort of community you are living in or whether you are working here so it's hard to give advice.  Maybe people don't know who you are or where you are from? Do people greet you when they see you and do you greet them? Let us know a bit more so that we can help.  Please don't despair!

In reply to by Patz

 Hi Pat, As you are one of the writers, I am so glad you have noticed this thread, maybe you can help Tess find some contacts. As you say it is hard to be alone at this time of year, especially with the forum being so quiet, folk away and busy etc. Let's hope the New Year brings Tess lots of new friends.

Sorry to hear of your situation Tess- it could have  happened to many of us, we too are planning to relocate and our house is barely habitable ... but there will be other English speakers in the area somewhere.I feel confident that things will improve as the spring weather comes in.In the meantime plan how you want the house and garden to look -keep your dream alive! ciao Billy&Martine (just off to catch our flight to Rome at 6am.)

 Hi Tess; it's sad to read that you feel isolated, and if you can get on to Skype or similar it would be nice to have a chat. You feeling of isolation is difficult to deal with, as communication is one of the main ways out of that. Maybe by creating and documenting some small projects you will also have some attainable targets to work towards; personally I think a few small goals to achieve would be better than one distant target, and would bring you satisfaction quicker. Example; Get hold of some Post It notes, if not, paper and sellotape. Find out the Italian words for as many items in your house as you can (fridge, washer, window etc) Place these labels on the items, and make a rule between yourselves that you can only use the Italian word. Occasionally, for a bit of fun; mix then up, and then challenge your daughter to put them right as soon as she can. Try to extend the range of words as you see fit. Create role play; tell your daughter that she's your teacher and you are the pupil. Go to the (imaginary) Post Office; Bank, fruit and veg shop or similar. Start with just nouns. Apple, pear, potato etc. Start to create lists to go 'shopping' with. Zone your property. In certain areas you and your daughter must do certain things; i.e. zone A - only speak in Italian. Zone B - only sing to each other. Zone C - only mime, Zone D - in your english dialect, Zone E - always sit on the floor to speak etc. I'm just running these ideas off the top of my head, but the limit can be only your imagination. Andrew

 I know how you feel and I'm sure others do to. After living her for a year now we've still got buckets in the roof and plastic sheeting for doors inside, but slowly does it.  Stick it out, be brave, it will be worth it.  This time next year you will look back and think how much better things are compared to now, it's good for the soul. Take things one day at a time, perhaps just have one small goal per day, its great to achieve something however small.  You will always find kind people here who will help you out, just ask, even if you think it sounds stupid, there's always someone here to help.  Good luck, keep going.  Ed

  "So, I drive out, like now, and my daughter and I take our laptops and dongles and try to get signals. Also not great at night, but we are so cut off and its the holidays so no school for a while. Sorry for the long post but this is therapy." You drive out in the middle of the night between two mountain ranges with your laptops, dongles and your 13 year old daughter to type up a post on a forum as a form of therapy?  I don't think so.

 I must say I too was a little worried about the night drives, surely dongle reception is equally available in the hours of daylight. Tess, I think you should invite a couple of your daughters school pals over for a visit, don't worry about the state of the house, it would give you a chance to meet the mums and who knows maybe one of them has a father who is a plasterer.

 Hi again, Tess. Well, it looks like you have some good friends here already and there is some excellent advice in these replies.  I didn't know what a dongle was and just looked it up!  As the others have said, do take care if you're driving out at night.  As Andrew has said, communication is the answer. So my advice is to try to solve that problem first. I 'm not techy enough to be able to tell you how but I'm sure others will have some suggestions. You are not alone: Even being fluent in the language, I felt lonely when I first came and it was one of the reasons I started blogging.  We all find our own answers to that problem and I'm sure yours will come to you. You may not realise it but you have already taken the most important step in enrolling on a language course.  Once you start learning you will need to be brave and start greeting the people you see. Italians won't mind if you make mistakes!  All you need is one friend in the area where you are and everything will look very different, believe me.  So you may want to tell us a little more without compromising your security and maybe someone in the Community lives near. You WILL get through this! I'll keep in touch and am thinking of you, Pat

As a couple of others have said communication is essential and regardless of your financial situation, it must be a priority….. By the nature of you posting here, without it you risk much, much more. I guess some would say I was a “techie” , but these vary by degree and nature and this area is not mine, but at a cost (and anyone on here feel free to correct me and chip in ) I think you probably can get access and even if this is at a great cost I would suggest in the short term it would be worth it…. Wireless access I would guess you would need some expensive equipment and someone with the savvy to install it, but it would be a longer term solution. Satellite access I know little about, but do know it will be more expensive than other options. However perhaps the latter, again as a short term measure is better than having to give everything up…Ideally at least a land line would give you some sort of communication, but I'm guessing this is either not possible ot will take time? Bearing in mind the time of year it can only get better from here on in…. We’ve had the shortest day and although there may be a lot more winter to come it is over the cusp… Good advice previously was to concentrate on small projects and aims… perhaps insulation in this context would be a good idea? Many , many things can be used to insulate areas of your home and I’ve found burning wood is something of an art in itself… Build it up from small to large logs, if you don’t get the balance right you either get it all burning too quickly with a lot of heat then little or none. If it burns very slowly then you get little out of it in the way of warmth. You need just the right balance and the only way to get it is to observe how your fire/stove works. I’m sure if you post details of your practical problems as you come across them you will get lots of help on here. Write up the post in an editor (Word or whatever) beforehand and cut and paste then into posts (make separate posts on different subjects). Having help with these I’m sure will make things at least seem a lot better… I come on here to learn for our pending move to Italy and rarely post these days, but your post, as I’m sure it has with many others here, made me feel a need to at least try to help. You are a brave person doing what you are doing and to get this far is a great achievement and I hope things get a lot easier in 2010.... Best of luck....SteveG

see opening post. Give it  time Tess. It has only been a month or so and whilst probably seeming like a lifetime already, things will get easier I'm sure. As a further suggestion to help with your Italian and to get the locals to know you are there, go to the local shops each day to buy your provisions and avoid supermarkets. I have found shopkeepers almost always are interested in talking to customers and even more so when their curiosity is raised by a foreigner that's moved into the small local community. Also if other people are in the shop (be it the bakery, butchers or whatever) they will no doubt listen intently and stare at you (which if that happened in the UK would be seen as rude, but not in this situaton). Treat this as an invitation to engage - smile, say hello (in Italian of course) and take it from there. Best of luck PS. Jenta, I see that you are cynical about Tess's situation, which you are quite entitled to be of course, although most of us have replied on a compassionate basis having assumed her story to be totally genuine. Why wouldn't it be I ask?    

 "Jenta, I see that you are cynical about Tess's situation, which you are quite entitled to be of course, although most of us have replied on a compassionate basis having assumed her story to be totally genuine. Why wouldn't it be I ask?" I would not say I am cynical, perhaps a tad more wary than others here, but no, not cynical.  I'll attempt to explain why I do not quite believe the story so far. Assuming the area Tess lives in is Pieve Fosciana (and why shouldn't it be, as this is something Tess herself placed as a tag), then I would hardly call it an isolated area and, even if living in the general vicinity (also accepting she may live some way outside the town), Tess would still find it very easy to drive into what has for more than the past 100+ years had a very stable demographic evolution of around 2,500 inhabitants.  To be fair, I have noted that Tess does not say she IS isolated, but only that she FEELS isolated and of course there is a difference, but Pieve Fosciana is a community with up to date communications, bars, restaurants, schools, clubs, churches, shops, etc, and there will be many people in the area who will speak, or be, English, so do you get my drift? What I find difficult to believe is that a mother would drive out so very late at night with her 13 year old daughter (with laptops and dongles) to post for the first time on the forum (after being a member here since the inception of this new format) not once, but twice within a couple of hours (the last post being made at 1.35 am and now almost 48 hours ago) and then not return since that time after making such a heart felt plea for contact.  Why so late at night?  Lollita also seemed to think the late night post was strange as she says "surely dongle reception is equally available in the hours of daylight." I also find the story strange because I can not imagine placing the cost of a couple of laptops and their monthly dongle charges as a priority over "no doors inside, leaking roof, no plastering or pointing, part of upstairs missing etc...  and the whole things heated by a dwindling supply of wood that I cant seem to keep up with." If Tess returns I'll follow with interest what she may say and I hope not to be shot down in flames here for having beliefs and priorities that may be different from others.   I do admire the helpful posts made by those who have have replied on a more compassionate basis and I hope everyones kindness is well placed.

 Hi Tess.  I hope that the New Year will bring a change for the better and that your husband will soon be able to join you and your daughter.  I am sure things will not seem so bad then.  In the meantime try to keep positive - a smile and Buon giorno when you meet people in the local shops can work wonders.

Although a newcomer to the forum, I feel compelled to reply to your message, Tess. I urge you not to venture out at night in the manner you describe. Other than the fact you may attract unwelcome attention, there are the dangers presented by other road users to be borne in mind. As other members have pointed out, communication will help to solve many of your problems. Extend the hand of friendship; I have always found it to be a universal language.

 When we first arrived in this area (Ascoli Piceno) we got hold of a map of the area with good detail (often free from Tourist Info). We then set about discovering which days the local markets were held. These are often a true reflection of local Italian life (maybe less the Oriental stall holders - with all due respect) and wandering around the markets often helps you to integrate, maybe not in the sense of language, but at least helping to get to know your area. The bolder stall holders; wanting to sell; will often recognise that you're not Italian, and will call out to you in their 'school' English. Good for an exchange of smiles if nothing else. This 'ice breaker' is also useful when you realise that the market is generally a 'moving feast' with the same stall holders appearing at different local markets. Seeing the same stall holder at a different market often encourages that smile again. Using our map we also began to check off villages that we had visited, and have become very aware that we don't have to travel far to find some hill top jewel that makes you feel like you're stepping back in time. We also became rather bold in our approach to recognising the non-Italians in our local supermarket. If you wander near those that you suspect of being English (sometimes we do stand out in a crowd) you can then 'earwig' and work out the language of their conversations etc. I usually open with the line "it's like Tesco's isn't it"...) to break the ice. I've also however had some very blank looks from Germans and Danes etc. Generally the English shoppers have a neat list and carry a pen/pencil to cross out their purchases.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

 I think the big giveaway for the French is the striped T shirt, beret, string of onions around the neck, plus an increase in bicycles in the car park, and general odour of Galloise. The Italians however instantly recognisable due to the constant air of frustration that they have to queue along with the lesser mortals, when they should have priority because they have to get home and prepare everything for their families, however; when they actually aline with the cashout operator, the rest of the world disolves into oblivion, and they don't actually pack their purchases; instead just let them pile up whilst discussing the festive season with the operator, and also because unlike us mere humans they have parked their car in the disabled space or actually on the pavement entrance to the supermarket. Why? Because they have.  No problems here however as the armed security guards are too busy collecting the plastic baskets, and couldn't go outside anyway, as due to the extreme cold (here 15 degrees) by the time they have wrapped up warm enough (as mother insists) the shopping centre will be closed. They may however brave the winter chill to move the sign so that the kind coloured lads can get a better selling opportunity for their pirate CDs whilst actually leaning on the sign that warns people not to buy from them. Jenta; obviously all this 'tongue in cheek', we wouldn't live anywhere else, and actually are never so stressed as to become irritated by the above mentioned issues. We instead find them very amusing, after all; as we say; if it wasn't like this, it wouldn't be Italy. Buon Anno

 Hi Tess I'm very sorry to hear about your situation and know it must be difficult. I presume you live around Castelnuovo? We are near Bagni Di Lucca about half an hour away. If you fancy a chat and a coffee give me a PM and we  can arrange to meet up some time either in Bagni or Castelnuovo. We have been here about 2 years now and I know winter time is the worst and can be depressing, but when Spring comes you will love it. If there is anything we can help you with, language or general help wise, let us know; my wife is Italian and we would be happy to help you out.   Ciao a presto Gromit. 

  I just hope that Tess is genuine, as I take a very dim view of people who take others offers of help in vain....

 I've found a bar and a garage near us with good internet access and free! No need to drive up a mountain and I can even buy a lottery ticket/beer bag of crisps! This is in very rural Abruzzo.So look in the nearest village . I spent 3 months on my own in Italy last year so I can sympathise with Tess. Facing leaking rooves, storm damage and smoking fires can be bearable if there's 2 of you but on your own with a 13 year old teenager its slightly different.        

  Have to say I thought this all rather strange.  Think Jenta is right.  Often people post these extraordinary problems but then they are never heard from again!  Personally I don't reply any more but wait and see how it develops.

Me thinks it's time to stop with the replies....the lady is obviously no longer there! Was she ever? Tess...if you are there put these folk out of there misery and b@@'@dy well answer. They want to help they really do. A.Friend

 Having read this thread it was placed for a reason. Whether the original post was true is open to speculation. But it is a good thread for everyone that is alone and find themselves in a foreign country due to uncircumnavigated circumstances or otherwise. So truth or story - the responses will help someone - whether logged in or not. For me I bought a house a few years ago, I am on my own with my house. Just a point on the dongle side - maybe Tess you could try different SIM cards TIM, Wind etc as different providers have different coverage.  Maybe use this as your conversation with the locals to find out what Telephone coverage works best in your local area. Maybe the night issue is because the comms are quieter at night, easier to log on. Again, speak to the locals.  

 Nice sentiments TTC, but the area that Tess allegedly lives in has good coverage from TIM,Wind & Vodafone; I know that area well. Unfortunately some people get a 'thrill' out of being stupid and that has the knock on effect of making other, more genuine requests, for help, treated with skepticism by people who do really care......

Like Tess and her husband we haven't sold our house in the UK and have a house in Picinisco, near Cassino, Lazio.  So rather than me being in Italy on my own and my husband work in the UK, we have decided that we will wait until we sell up and then both of us move over together.  Meanwhile we visit as often as we can.   I hope Tess gets settled in Italy. Maralyn

 Followed the' Tess' thread and did think some replies were not nice.  Hope I dont feel like she did....quite alone and lost, sure we have all felt like that in the past or may do in the future.... Anyway, good luck to you Tess / Almond Ex pat site has looked afer you better than this one.....always get a few bad apples...sorry...

Dear Julie,  what happened to you and Tess is just great! I'm really sad that she felt uncomfortable here. Maybe I should have looked after this thread before she decided to give up with this community.  But I'm really happy about your friendship and yes, you said it right, you are all in the same boat and you all should help each other.  Hope Tess will return and share her experience of Italy with us.

Well... I really don't know where to start, I just feel sick to the stomach on reading many of your replies regarding the situation of Tess aka Almond who reached out for help back in December.  I read Tess's CRY FOR HELP on the British expats forum (Italy section) in January, where a large number of much more sympathetic,  understanding and NON-judgemental (eh Jenta?) readers offered help and sympathy. I live only half an hour's drive from Tess, so I gave her my mobile number and we have met up many times over the past month, enjoyed meals together and we will continue to be good friends. I have a teenage daughter who is only too happy to advise Tess's daughter on schools, friends etc. I have also met other members of her family. SHE DOES EXIST and she is a lovely, intelligent and warm person who is extremely lonely and going through all the ups and downs you first experience when moving to a foreign country. The last thing she needs is a bunch of sarcastic, judgmental expats - I hope you never find yourselves in her situation. So JENTA, PILCHARD, JINTY, ANNEC, GROMIT and JOY, I hope you are ashamed of yourselves and I think you owe Tess an apology. Dylano and Giovanni E hit the nail on the head when they said "Anyway, good luck to you Tess / Almond Ex pat site has looked afer you better than this one.....always get a few bad apples...sorry..." and "otherwise this poor lady and her daughter must have lost any confidence of help from this quarter" . Exactly!!!! So please, think before you judge. I bet that there are some other people in Tess's situation who when reading these nasty replies won't reach out for help. We are all in the same boat and should help and support each other. I am only too happy to help anyone who needs it, as long as respect is shown. Julie Flynn-Ciniglio (and yes I do exist, look me up on FACEBOOK!) Julie