+1Think Different wrote:
This website is about finding YOUR PERSONAL happiness abroad, whatever country or place that may be. Just because Italy isn't suitable for people looking to start a family, grow a career, or find financial comfort, doesn't mean it's not a perfect place for vacation, for a child to grow up in cozy surroundings, or to retire to. Everyone has different reasons for going abroad, and they should be informed prior to doing so. That is the purpose of country reports.
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I can't fathom why anyone would recommend anywhere in Southern Europe as a good destination for foreigners, especially when Eastern and Central Europe are right next to it. A foreigner there would have no advantage over local men in competing for local women, and would in fact be at a significant disadvantage if he didn't speak the language and had no social circle. On the other hand Italy is a good destination for foreign women, not men, looking for that Latin lover stereotype. The local economy is awful when it comes to providing decent paying jobs (and in fact any jobs) and I have no idea why someone like eurobrat who was making 75-100k back in America and owned his own home would give that up just to go to Italy to make less than 1000 euros a month while sharing an apartment with someone who isn't even a friend. Surely everyone can see that was a bad decision?
The one thing that surprised me about this report was the extreme cliquishness and unfriendliness of Italians. Imagine living in a new place for an entire year and not making a single friend! Given how quickly he made friends in Germany that shows the problem is not with eurobrat. Having said that, mixed social circles are usually not very welcoming towards unassociated single men. I always thought Southern Europeans were more open, sociable and welcoming to those outside of their group, perhaps this was the case 10 or more years ago but no longer.
Are you really comparing like with like? There are two distinctions I see:
1) countries where the economy and the labour markets are advanced enough to allow a foreigner to find a well-paid job, on a par if not on a higher platform than a local
2) social/dating life in small and medium size towns versus social/dating life in large cities and the occasional medium-sized town with a large student population
On 1), Italy belongs to the first category, albeit "borderline" and limited to specific industry areas. A software developer, a management consultant, a financial maths/statistics specialist will find a well paid job in Rome or Milan, perhaps not as well paid as the same in London or Frankfurt, but enough to live comfortably and explore his new host country. Finding such job is probably harder than London, Berlin or Amsterdam, but it's doable, with if your skillset is in demand. Happy go lucky types who land in Italy thinking they'll be making 2500 Euros a month teaching English without a rock-solid CV and specialist qualifications are going to be disappointed, especially in today's economic climate.
Eurobrat's report obviously focussed on Italy, but the same observation applies to the first-tier European countries that you bundled under the "Southern Europe" label: Spain, Portugal, and Greece.
Conversely, when you say Eastern Europe is at short distance from Southern Europe, are you accounting for the fact that if you won't find the job you want in Rome or Madrid, you're even less likely to find it in Budapest or Vilnius? Of course there are exceptions, like Wroclaw in Poland which is experiencing a boom of IT and hi-tech job. I do agree with the fact that, if one is relying on a passive income or a highly mobile job (such as running an online gig) to fund their stay, then Easter Europe does provide a cheaper (albeit somewhat colder) alternative.
On 2), I believed this was common sense, but apparently it helps reiterating. Cliquish social circles open by invitation only are not a terrible plague, but a natural trait of small and provincial towns, where everybody knows everybody else and trust is usually only gained via a proxy. Italy has an overwhelming majority of towns under 70K inhabitants, so this is the norm. Trying to trump this simple reality is delusional and slightly arrogant. EB was reminded to "act like a Roman in Rome" a tremendous number of times and always preferred to go solo. No surprise he failed miserably.
Making friends on less than solemn occasions, perhaps from casual chats in bars and clubs, impromptu social events or at public places, is a prerogative of larger cities, where people from the rest of Italy (and beyond) flock to work or study. University students as well as young professionals are very likely to set foot in a place like Rome or Milan knowing very few people, hence finding themselves almost on the same boat as a young foreigner like EB.
EB was unlucky to choose (and then quite stubborn to stay in) Como as his home, a relatively sleepy town without a university, where most of the young - smart, educated and open-minded - people who would have been interested in connecting with him are living in Milan or in neighbouring Italian Switzerland (Chiasso, Lugano, etc). I could not disagree with him when he complained that most people left for him to interact with were baristas, pizzeria owners and immigrants. Probably decent people all, yet with little or no spoken English and too immersed in their fish bowl life to pay attention to a novelty item like him.
Again, EB was warmly and then hotly recommended to move or at least hang out in Milan and join a much more vibrant student/young pro community. I offered him to hang out with my cousin, a bright and sociable business school student who I guaranteed him has more circles than a hula-hoop act. He had a Facebook single chat with him - to mainly complain about how closed off Italy is - and then he never got back to him, even despite my insistence.
For how much cooler and cheaper it might be, Berlin has the same social life profile of most European large cities: good transport infrastructure, districts lined with bars and clubs, social events aplenty, and a large population of students and young professionals who will have all interests and incentives to socialise and date in the open, if anything out of necessity.
This is the key distinction. To single out Italy as a hellpit of closed-mindedness and unfriendliness without the obvious distinctions above is not only incorrect and misleading, but denotes a certain intellectual laziness that certainly doesn't honour a true traveller's/expat spirit.
Oh shut up you and stop spinning it.
Stop making Italy out to be this wonderful dynamic rainbow land you have in your head. It's not, you don't live there and many other Italians left for the same reasons I did. It's a black and white society slowly fading to pitch black faster than any other place I know of besides maybe Greece which has gotten pretty black in the last few years. It comes down to cultural and societal attitude both of which are bad right now in Italy with the crisis.
Seeker summed it up best here:
I was unassociated, I will admit that. That was my wrongdoing, but the truth is I never figured out a way to get associated at least without going broke and starving.
Italy gets an F- for culture and openness towards foreigners, and I'm not even that foreign since I'm Italian myself. On the other hand, I did meet a bunch of American girls having the times of their lives in Florence where an abundance of Italian sex starved men were more than willing to approach them, invite them to their families house, friends houses, travel and parties etc. It's not a two way street for men.[/quote]
Well I live in Vilnius and I found not only good friends both Lithuanian, Russian and from other countries but I also found a job where foreigners work in and give us very good working conditions. Yes Lithuanians come out as cold and serious but it's a quality I admire about them because they don't give a fake hypocritical smile just like that.
Once you earn their respect they become very good friends and they open up and smile to you. Lithuanians only smile at you when they see you are genuine and not just a ignorant foreigner. I may not make the same as in America in fact I make much less but I love my job and how the management consider us family and where they look after your wellbeing. Also I make much less than in America but I'm truly happier where I live and even if I make less money I feel happier and much more relaxed.
No cigar, Antonio, I won't, because from your experience you are trying to force the wrong kinds of conclusions onto people unaware of how not only Italy, but Europe works. I know I should have left this filthy pond of a discussion long ago and left you to bathe yourself in your delusional soup, but since you keep teasing me...
I tried to make my last reply to Seeker as dry and factual as possible, in the hope that your biased arse wouldn't jump at my jugular straight away, and I was wrong.
What I stated about Southern vs Eastern European countries is a fact. What I stated about the way socialising is done in the (majority of) small and medium-sized town versus how it's done in large cities (Rome, Milan, Naples, Bari) or major university towns (Bologna, Pavia, Padova, and a few more). Find me one post, only one, where I have explicitly said Italy's economy is all sunny and better than Germany or the UK, and you'll win a special sample of my hand-crafted soil
The reality is that you are hating Italy for all the wrong reasons, and reasons that are only related to the one place you chose (Como) and the choices of going out alone in bars where you could only find the barista, the occasional bummer lady and a few immigrants. You were showered with advice and proposals to leave Como and hang out in Milan, which would have probably left you unimpressed in terms of air quality and landscapes but would have given you much more of what you were looking for (or you said you were looking for).
The fact Italy is going down the drain faster than France or Germany or the UK is an understandable, and probably correct point. We all know that was not the reason why you left.
And stop blaming the crisis. If you're a frustrated asshole who doesn't know how to connect to people and refuses the notion of gaining the respect of a small group, or community or social circle, then you would get very similar results regardless of whether there's a boom or a recession.
You felt "unassociated"... LOL The solution was simple, Sherlock...to associate yourself! Which would have been as hard as taking a 30 minutes train trip to Milan and joining one of the many student associations, maybe one focussed on language exchange, or business/marketing, anything just to crack one or two social nuts open and start introducing yourself. You could have struggled and failed a couple of times, but you would have definitely made it, guaranteed. When I was living in Milan I had a couple of acquaintances who immediately introduced me to their circles - I went from 1 to 15/20 people in the space of a few evenings out. I joined a free (council school) Japanese course and found a very nice group of friends I hung out with for the best part of 2 years. Needless to say, I am still in touch with some of them.
As I explained above, it's the large city model of socialising that naturally favours random chats, house parties and the kind of impromptu socialisation you so much long. Don't put Berlin as the prime example of this: any large city in Europe would have afforded you the same opportunities.
And that's why I think it takes a measure of intellectual dishonesty to write you have been writing: a little more effort on your side would have been rewarded. You just kept yourself isolated for no other reason than validate your paranoias and your growing pile of hate. I hope you're through with this, if anything because you convinced yourself that Berlin is everything you wanted from a European city, so it must be true!
About American girls in Florence - of course tourists who come here to hang out with the handsome Italians will be flirted left right and centre! Of course the game is massively biased towards foreign women, pretty much like anywhere else where there's a reputation of good looking men (there's Indonesia in Asia, there's Argentina in Latin America, there's Italy and perhaps France in Europe).
That's very good to hear, JP. It's common knowledge that people from Russia and the Baltics don't like giving away fake, circumstantial bits of conversations or express certain body language without meaning it. If they ask you "how are you" they really care to know how you have been since they last heard from you. If they smile, you can be sure they're genuinely amused by what you're saying. I have noticed this on both men and women, from the most modest social backgrounds to the highest ones.
I agree with you that, coming across as "no shit" people is one of the most refreshing things about their culture. I haven't actually perceived too much coldness in the Russians or Lithuanians I met. Brits (and probably Americans) tend to be quite relaxed and humorous over office conversations, always interspersing irony and small talk, yet everyone knows they only do it to keep the atmosphere "friendly" (which doesn't mean they're your friends). Cross any of them, even somebody you spoke to 15 minutes before, on the street or at the coffee shop and you'll be lucky if they will even notice you with a nod.
One of my team mates at a previous job was from Vilnius and would come across as distant and work-talk-only in the office. Then one day he invited me and another colleague from Azerbaijan (Russian culture with a middle eastern twist) for a few pints and he was a completely different person. He just didn't like to express his true self at work, that was it, and I respected that.
By the way, what job did you find in Vilnius? I know there is quite a booming outsourcing IT and specialist tech support sector. The last two banks I worked for both had teams in Vilnius and Wroclaw.
Yes it is because the feeling of no hope is suffocating everyone. I saw it in their crappy attitudes. You wanted me to go live in Milan, that place is a joke â‚¬15 margarita pizzas...
More turd flinging. You've gotten good at it. Sorry but I can't gain the respect of a bunch of miserable complaining assholes, you guys have to change your attitude first before people want to befriend you.
Yea right you said that for a year and I bought into your lies. I'm glad I got out of there alive.
Yep, even I found the American girls too be much looser because they were out of their element. I wasn't their for American girls though I told you I wanted a European
The "feeling of no hope" was probably only yours and in your mind. In Milan it's very, very easy to find young professionals and students who, for how depressed the economic situation could be, are happy and contented with what they have. They study, work, learn and have fun. You have never been to Milan and never met anyone, so how can you even begin to know that these people exist? Yet you're spouting final judgements as if you had been living there for decades.
And no, pizzas don't cost 15â‚¬, more like 7/8â‚¬ unless you want to end up in one of the tourist traps around the Duomo or Galleria Vittorio Emanuele areas.
Judging from the endless river of conversations had, you were the one and the only complaining arsehole on stage. And even if some - OK let's concede - MOST young Italians you met were complaining about lack of jobs, stability, p***y maybe, what were you doing? You really believed the fact you bought a flight ticket to Italy gave your rants and curses more legitimacy than theirs? Sounds like a case of pot calling kettle black to me...
And by the way, you were the guest in Italy. What makes you think people will change their attitude so they can befriend you, especially if they don't even know you exist (not being crude here, just acknowledging the fact you rarely went out to meet new friends) and you keep behaving like an entitled prick?
Certainly alive. Mentally stable, not too sure...
Last edited by publicduende on September 22nd, 2014, 11:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Give it up Dude'nde, you're starting to look like an old fool.
More of your useless rhetoric and turd flinging.
Your advice is no longer good here, no one is taking you seriously anymore. You've been exposed for the joker you are, the mask has been lifted and your image here will never be restored.
An arrogant prick till the very end, huh? Leave that judgement to those who have been following our exchange. I couldn't care less about my image here. With all due respect, I care infinitely more to show my true self to those who I meet and talk to in person (and I can mention a couple of fine gentlemen from here, too). And, to some smaller extent, I care about restoring a measure of intellectual honesty in this particular debate, which is what you're definitely not showing.
Where are your "happy in Berlin pics", by the way? Can you post a photo of yourself and a single new friend you made there (besides your flatmate), instead of arsehole-flavoured cheese clip-art? No. All narrative and posturing...exactly what many young Americans produce and feed on everyday.
This will be my last exchange on this thread.