Living in Florence Living in Florence

We have it so good

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Friends of ours, like Marta, Yoshie and Luigi, asked to see pictures of our house in the US. They wanted to know if our house was anything like what they see in American TV series that they are inundated with here. We had a few on our computer, so we showed them.

As we gave them a visual tour of our 3,000 sq. foot home, Dave and I felt almost home sick. We miss our newly remodeled kitchen, our living room with its freshly polished wood floors, and all the space we couldn't fill up by ourselves.

It was odd to see the house and realize that we now live in a place that is the size of our kitchen and living room area combined. Our friends asked us, "Che ci fate qui?" (What are you doing here?) While they dream of more space, more light, less traffic, and an easier life, we began to truly see what we left behind.

We have it so easy here. We don't live like the average Italian couple. Our friends have a son and bought their house five years ago, before the introduction of the Euro when life wasn't so expensive. Since then, the price of their house doubled, the cost of living has doubled, and their wages have remained the same. They live on about $2000/month (at most) and in Italian standards that is good.

My husband and I both work remotely from here and make American wages, so we live much better than the average Italian couple. We try to save our money as well, but at least the hill we climb is not as steep as everyone else's.

I sometimes go shopping and look at the prices and wonder how everyone else does it here. A pair of jeans that cost $100 would be almost 1/20th of their monthly salary (if they're lucky)? How do they buy the latest fashions (and they all seem to wear such nice clothes all the time) and put food on the table too?

We told our friends that in America, you'd practically be in poverty if a family of three lived on $2000/month. Here, it's normal. So, we thank our lucky stars and try to remember that we are living in the best of both worlds. At least we know that we can always go back to a place most people dream about.

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