"An Aussie in Italy, and in Mexico" ciaobella55's Profile
I was studying for a diploma in travel when I saw the ad about studying Italian in Italy. I cut it out and squirelled it away, saying "one day...."
Two years later I had saved enough, my job was coming to an end and I thought, why not? I booked a month in Perugia at the Foreigners University, staying with a family, and with only a few words of Italian, set off on the adventure. It turned out to be a life-changing holiday: I not only learned something new, I met people from all around the world and so started my lifelong love affair with Italy and all things Italian.
Two more times I made the trip to study in Perugia, each time learning more, making even more friends and reinforcing my love for this country. I started to dream about living here in my retirement.
I searched the internet to check prices and realised that maybe it might be possible to purchase my own small place in Italy. I started in fact looking at Nice, and then quickly moved my focus to the Italian Riviera - good climate, reasonable prices. I spoke to my bank about finance, and took 9 weeks' holiday to come over and search every small town until I found my dream location. I had been in Italy only 3 days when I found it, by chance, (in fact I followed a cute cat who led me to "my" street) and that in itself was a problem. Do I do the sensible thing and keep looking, or do I throw caution to the wind and go for it, hoping I don't find something better later? Caution's never been my middle name, so after a night's stewing, thnking, crying, worrying, I went back to the agency the next day and said YES.
I spent ages renovating the apartment, and it wasn't long after I returned to take up residence that realised I had a problem - the neighbours from hell. He a drug addict, she a woman with a voice to make paint fall off your walls. If i had a Mama like that, I'd probably take drugs too! They scream, they argue, they fight, they throw things, they slam doors. Often it starts at midnight and continues until 3am, but they're busy during the day as well! And they not only disturb me, but most of the town.
So I'm now working on part 2 of the dream, or Plan B. I'm not going to let 2 ignorant people ruin everything, I'll just sell and move somewhere else. The somewhere else I have yet to find, although I have some thoughts.
It's a long story, so many things gone wrong and none of it is pretty, but the upshot is that I sold the apartment and moved back in Australia.
Italy is a wonderful place to visit, but trying to live there for a non-EU person is just a nightmare! So much red tape, so much incompetence!
I don't discount that I may spend time in Italy in the future, but I've worked out that it's better for me to live where things work, and visit other places and enjoy the differences. For now, I'm happy living and working on the Gold Coast and planning trips to new destinations around the world.
It's great that I have gotten Italy out of my system, and I can be open to experience other countries and their diversity.
After several years regrouping, working and saving back on the Gold Coast, I made a fateful trip to Mexico in 2010. Although I rented an apartment in Merida for 6 weeks, turns out that I really didn't like Merida at all, and missing the sea, I planned a short trip just a few hours away in Playa del Carmen on the Caribbean Sea.
There were daily yoga classes where I stayed, massages on the beach for $18, margaritas for $2 and a vibrant but relaxed way of life. Of course I loved it instantly.
One day I stopped outside a RE agent's window and a young man came out to chat. Well, long story short, although I had no intention of buying property here or anywhere in Mexico, I bought myself a condo. He didn't pressure me at all, it just felt right
I started my new life in Playa in mid-February 2011, after having packed up my life (again!) in only 3 months.
There have been highs and lows just as there are anywhere. Having a brand-new DVD player break down after 2 weeks' use was a low, particularly as I waited 4 weeks to get TV and internet connected and was completely without entertainment!
But there's plenty to do in Playa del Carmen, even wandering down 5th Avenue and people-watching can fill my evenings.
In the day there's the beautiful Caribbean Sea, meals for $3, margaritas for $2. Yoga and massages are still there, cinema for $3, salsa classes $8 for the week.
It's a simpler life and that can't be bad.
And so far I have great neighbours.
My plan is to use my home here as a base and do lots more travelling around Central and South America. While I'm away I will rent out my condo to help fund these trips, or maybe even do a houseswap - it seems that Playa del Carmen is high on many people's lists, and no wonder.
Who knows whether Playa will become my permanent home? I've stopped saying "forever" because I know that sometimes life has other plans.
I'm happy for now, and that's enough.
By the middle of 2012 I was starting to tire of life in Playa - yes, I can see the pattern now, maybe I'm just a 2-year girl then I need a change!
I got fed up with the dishonesty, and getting ripped off just because I'm a foreigner. At the same time I realised that having lost my Mum last year, I wanted to spend some more time with Dad back in Australia, so I starting planning my return and rented out my home in Playa. I found a tenant faster than I expected and decided to spend the last 6 weeks in Merida to experience some of the cultural life there, something Playa is sadly missing.
It turned out that I had a ball and absolutely loved Merida (after hating it 2 years ago!). I think a lot depends on which part of the city you live in.
So although I'm in Australia for most of 2013, I'm planning to return to Merida at the end of the year and try 4 months there.
I feel like the wheel has turned full circle, back to where I started in Mexico. In the meantime I have visited many states and towns and enjoyed almost every one. I'm looking forward to continuing my travels around this wonderful country. Whether I will return to Playa is anyone's guess.
Let the adventures continue...
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