My name is Martha Miller. I grew up in a small town in Arkansas and always dreamed of living in a big city and traveling the world. I had hardly been out of the state when I graduated from the University of Arkansas, but now I’ve lived in San Antonio, Houston, and Austin, Texas, Rome, Italy, and Syracuse, NY and travelled to 12 countries. I’ve also been lucky to have held jobs that had me traveling to all parts of the United States.
When and where did you live in Italy?
My husband and I lived in Rome’s Trastevere neighborhood from 2001 to 2003. We moved there two weeks before 9/11. We didn’t have any close friends or relatives in Italy, and we didn’t speak the language yet. We knew moving abroad would be life changing, but we didn’t know how much the world would be changing too.
What brought you there?
John wanted to go to back to school to finish his degree and chose to study International Affairs. We both had a desire to live abroad, so he started researching English-language, degree-granting universities. We decided on John Cabot University in Rome. It would take 21 months for John to finish, which gave us a solid time frame to work with. We could then figure out how much money we needed to cover tuition and housing, groceries and other living expenses. I wanted to live in one place and get to know my neighbors and to understand what their lives were like. In the beginning, I made learning to speak Italian my full-time job.
We would have loved to stay, but we had finished the 21-month plan and needed to start making money again. Also, John decided to follow up with graduate school in Syracuse, New York, so we moved there for 14 months, and I went back to work.
Where are you now?
We live in San Antonio, Texas and have a 13-year-old son. Coincidentally, John works for a sister school of John Cabot University. I became a freelance writer while living in Rome, and recently published a book about our adventure titled, “Times New Roman: How We Quit Our Jobs, Gave Away Our Stuff & Moved to Italy.”
None! We would do it all over again tomorrow if we could.
Do you think you'd ever return to Italy?
Yes. We took our son to visit Italy this summer. He absolutely loved it and told us, “I could live in Italy forever!” We’re trying to figure out a way to give him that living-abroad experience before he gets too much older.
What's the one thing you miss the most about Italy?
Not what you’d probably guess. I had a level of independence in Italy that I miss. I could walk right out of our door and hit the cobblestone streets and be in the middle of a bustling neighborhood. I could walk everywhere! Rome is a very walkable city, a gorgeous city and public transit is also very convenient so we didn’t need a car. I also felt safe walking anywhere I wanted to go. Being a city girl at heart, it was my dream come true!
What would you say to someone thinking of moving to Italy?
Take me with you!!!! Okay, seriously, I’d say go now and don’t overthink it. Our regrets in life will be about the things we could have done, but didn’t. When we were trying to decide if we should take the chance or not, I kept thinking, “Two years are going to go by anyway. How am I going to feel in two years if we don’t take this opportunity? What about in twenty years?” Happily, we will never have to ask ourselves these questions.
What would you say to someone leaving Italy?
You will probably think of Italy as home in many ways for the rest of your life. That’s not a bad thing, and it’s a great excuse to go back often to visit. I like to say we need to visit once a year to keep in touch with our adopted Italian heritage. While maybe not technically of Italian descent, shouldn’t 21 months count for something? Certo!
About the Writer:
Martha is the author of Times New Roman available at Amazon Barnes & Noble and many other bookstores. Book website: http://timesnewromanbook.com
You can learn more about her on her blog Martha Miller Writes: http://marthamillerwrites.com.
Follow her on Twitter: @TimesNewRomanIT
Grazie mille Martha for being part of this series. Dear readers, keep an eye out for more additions to this series, and more importantly, if you would like to share your story, send me an e-mail!
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Past Ciao For Now posts:
Ciao For Now: Estrella of La Casabloga
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