Americans moving to Europe

Old May 27th, 2020, 01:16 AM
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Culture, so at least nothing to do with Opera, Art, transparency of government or freely available medical facilities......

But then Russia only has the first two
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Old May 27th, 2020, 02:08 AM
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Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and information, everyone. Not surprisingly, it appears that these programs do gloss over both the challenges in actually moving but also what life is like once there.

Watching these programs does highlight cultural differences between people from the US and others, and the things which they often consider 'essential'.

With regard to refugees, I cannot begrudge someone a safe haven when often their home country threatens their very existence.

I will look further into some of the suggestions made but I think I have left my run too late, not because I am too old but because I am too firmly imbedded with my family here now. I hope to be able to travel more regularly in the future, and stay a little longer. I have visited a fair amount of Europe, over an extended time, but there is an endless amount to see and enjoy.

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Old May 27th, 2020, 02:45 AM
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I sometimes enjoy watching those silly TV shows like HHI featuring innocents thinking there is a "dream life" in Europe. I have no idea how they actually come here and make a go of it, except that in the case of the ones who buy property in France I suspect that miscreant Adrian Leeds deals with some of it for them. Like Christina, I'm always amazed at the things that put them off - the bathtubs, for certain, but other stupid things like kitchen tiles and hanging light fixtures. I've never seen a show where anyone even looks at or talks about the important stuff like fuse boxes and water mains and utility bills and foundations and erosion and the cost of re-pointing stone walls or the importance of speaking the language. It also astounds me, in some of the recent shows I've watched where people are looking to rent a place rather than buy, that they think they can get, say, a nice Greek villa with a sea view for US$700 a month or less, and are downcast and irritable when they can't. Anyway, as noted, it's TV and as far as I can see mostly fabrication. I'm glad I don't have any folks like that as neighbors.

As for BDKR's views on immigrants, it's true that we don't have loads of them here in the Périgord, but we have more and more each year and they seem pretty well assimilated to me and more than willing to try to embrace the local culture. There's little animosity toward them among the locals, either. Most people here have a pretty deeply rooted sense of generosity and caring, whether it be for the elderly or the poor or anyone struggling. Social services are good, and the French instinct to keep people fed seems alive and well - during the "confinement" both the government and private producers have significantly stepped up efforts to make sure that food is widely available to those in need. And apart from the small world we live in here in the Périgord, my impression from traveling all over Europe in recent years is that it is indeed a very diverse culture overall. The one stark exception to that was, interestingly, when we visited Hungary, BDKR's homeland, where we got a general sense of disgruntlement and unease, not to mention an alarmingly homogeneous population. I've spent a lot of time in North Africa, BTW, and waking up to the dawn call of prayer is hardly a hassle to me, BTW. It's a graceful way to start the day IMO, and nothing to be dismissed as irritating.

We had no problem opening a bank account in France. It's true I'd had one for years after I first bought my house here in 1993, so I had a "track record" of French banking. I'm not sure that made any difference, though, as my old French bank no longer exists, and when we came to live here permanently I had to open new accounts. I guess the FATCA requirements put some banks off from opening accounts for Americans, but our bank takes full responsibility for filling out those forms every year and simply sends them to us to sign off on. Unlike bvlenci, we now keep very little money in the US, just enough for the occasional expense. We pay taxes foncières and taxes d'habitation here in France and US taxes if we have any income derived from the USA. We cannot invest in the US stock market, but that hasn't proven to be much of a drawback, and we aren't wealthy or have gobs of money stashed away in investments anyway - European and Asian and Canadian markets do well enough for us, although of course all investments are hurting at the moment.

I've had Irish citizenship through the Foreign Births Registry since 1987, and an Irish passport since 1988; consequently, the right to live in the EU. When I bought the house here in 1993 it was, among other things, with the express intention of coming here to live permanently. My husband has the right to be here with me. As of the end of April of this year we will have been here permanently for 5 years and now have the right to apply for French citizenship, which we fully intend to do.

Like swandav, there are a few things I'd like to have that I can't, like a disposal, but that's a trivial concern. I don't think I even realized I didn't have one until we had lived here for a couple of years. I have peace and quiet, I have a heavenly view, I have kind and helpful neighbors, I am surrounded by history and prehistory, I can grow my own food, I eat really well....there is nothing I miss about living in the USA, particularly right now. I have no intention of returning there.

IMO there is no such thing as "living the dream life" much of anywhere unless you have unlimited funds and the kind of life you're seeking is one where you don't have to have much input into it and aren't willing to do some hard work. I don't know people like that.

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Old May 27th, 2020, 09:11 PM
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Such an interesting thread. I'm always amazed that the people on House Hunters Int. are so fussy about things that really don't matter much, like kitchen bench tops, when they are only renting. Their long list of desires - a view, large rooms, in the city centre, a big garden, etc are surely for the viewers benefit, so we can sit at home and say 'as if'.

My question for the Americans - what is a disposal? Something to do with rubbish (trash) I guess?

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Old May 27th, 2020, 10:51 PM
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Something to talk about that isn't COVID-19 related!

I too don't know what a disposal is - guessing same as you.
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Old May 27th, 2020, 11:30 PM
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Maybe a disposal is the waste-disposal thing in the sink? That's actually not allowed in Belgium, and I believe in other European countries because it's not good for the sewer system.

I used to work in relocation in London in the early 90s. American expats all wanted something with character, quaint, old. But were then shocked by the lack of a power shower, sometimes only a bath with a handheld shower. And no huge American fridge in the tiny kitchen either. French families often had lots of children, needed to be close to the Lycee, wanted a separate bedroom for each kid, but their company budget would allow for a 2-bed flat in Fulham. This was before the days when you could look up house prices online, and had to work through agents. Their London budget would have gotten them a very comfortable flat in Paris, so some thought we were somehow conning them by showing them these tiny flats in South Kensington - close to the Lycee as requested...



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Old May 27th, 2020, 11:41 PM
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A garbage disposal - the thing in your sink drain that makes a lot of noise and grinds up all the crap you put into it. It's pretty standard in any American sink. Probably responsible for a lot of plumbers' incomes. It can chew your hand right off your wrist if you're stupid enough to put it down there.

Here, we compost instead. We use a lot of kitchen scraps to make soup stocks. We use all our coffee grounds in the garden. What's left goes in the compost bin. What's in the compost bin goes in the garden.
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Old May 28th, 2020, 12:47 AM
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Yes, garbage disposal in the sink. We had one in our house when I lived in the US 40 years ago. I don’t miss it.
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Old May 28th, 2020, 12:59 AM
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Sink grinders, I've visited houses with them, since I run a compost and rarely eat meat there is no use for one in my household.

I did a movement for an American family to a village outside Hamburg. The biggest problem was to get the documents for home-schooling that he thought was a good idea. Poor kid ended up not learning much German, not making friends etc etc but at least she didn't learn any socialist ideals ;-)
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Old May 28th, 2020, 01:01 AM
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The sad thing is that most Icelandic people I know would not think that Hungarians are Europeans.....
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Old May 28th, 2020, 01:13 AM
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Originally Posted by bilboburgler View Post
Sink grinders, I've visited houses with them, since I run a compost and rarely eat meat there is no use for one in my household.
I once rented a house with a garbage disposal. I didn't find it essential
I did a movement for an American family to a village outside Hamburg. The biggest problem was to get the documents for home-schooling that he thought was a good idea. Poor kid ended up not learning much German, not making friends etc etc but at least she didn't learn any socialist ideals ;-)
​​​​​​​When we relocated temporarily to the Netherlands, my childrens' schools gave me a stack of textbooks to take along so that they could keep up with their American lessons. I enrolled them in a Dutch school and didn't make much effort to home school. It did affect my older daughter's math education; the day after we arrived, when she was exhausted and jet lagged, and hadn't studied, she was required to take a placement test for high school. She didn't score high enough in math for the advanced math track, which disappointed her. However, she has done well in her career as a musicologist, so it probably didn't have a severe effect on her life.
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Old May 28th, 2020, 01:39 AM
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Thanks, we call them insinkerators in Australia which I suspect is a trade name. We have one and never use it. I'd get rid of it if we ever remodelled the kitchen. I hate the noise and they seem like a waste of space.

StCirq's description of the hand being chewed off had me wincing. Maybe part of the reason I dislike them - the thought of dropping something down there accidentally and reaching for it...
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Old May 28th, 2020, 05:02 AM
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Garbage disposals are common, but there are many homes without them here in the US. We have had two homes in the last 23 years that did not have them. One home was on a well and the other was military base housing. When we moved from there and found a rental home at our next duty station, we noticed the house had a disposal and my husband was all excited. The property manager person just kind of looked at him like what rock did you just crawl out of, lol.

As for the tv shows, its tv. I don't expect any of it to be entirely accurate.
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Old May 28th, 2020, 02:45 PM
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Below is a link to a blog that is no longer active--a U.S. couple moved to Italy and discussed the ins and outs of the process of over the years.

Nine years ago they were featured on House Hunters International. About a year later another featured person broke the silence about how the show really works, so at this point the blogger felt she could speak openly. Her major point: the house hunters have already gone to contract on their homes. The show "re-creates" their home search.

2 Baci in a Pinon Tree: Staged...Or On Stage?
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Old May 28th, 2020, 10:11 PM
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Very interesting, ellenem. I knew it was staged and that explains (at least partly) why the format is so fixed.
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Old May 29th, 2020, 04:31 AM
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Originally Posted by ellenem View Post
Below is a link to a blog that is no longer active--a U.S. couple moved to Italy and discussed the ins and outs of the process of over the years.
........
2 Baci in a Pinon Tree: Staged...Or On Stage?
Very interesting: one of the people who commented on that blog is the American I knew who had moved to Italy based on having an adequate income, etc. I haven't been in touch with her for years. Apparently she was also a blogger, but her blog is no longer active. I wonder if she's still in Italy. As Kerouac says, a lot of emigrants end up not staying.
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Old May 29th, 2020, 04:45 AM
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Oh yes, I know that composting is the best option for the environment, and in Germany everyone does it. The Biomüll (organic waste) has its special brown trash bin, and it's picked up every 2 weeks with the rest of the garbage (blue bin for paper, yellow sack for plastic & tin, and black bin for regular garbage). So it's easy and convenient to "compost," or throw out the compostable garbage.

But I do still miss the disposal! I don't like coralling and cleaning up the waste after dealing with fruits or vegetables... especially the endless tiny bits of spinach leaves and stems. Grrrrrrr. While doing that, I do let my mind drift to the bygone days when I'd just stuff everything down the drain and swish water after it. Oh *sigh*.

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Old May 29th, 2020, 09:54 AM
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Yes, easy to do but not very good for the environment; this organic waste has to be filtered out. These things are illegal in Belgium and other European countries.
We collect any organic waste in a green bin for composting by the local authority.
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Old May 30th, 2020, 04:15 PM
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Saw this article recently, about ways to get the "golden visa" for people willing to purchase property in the EU:

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/21/r...nvestment.html

Critics say that while countries like Cyprus and Malta are reaping the benefits of handing out passports, what they are really offering is the right to live anywhere in the European Union. And they say such programs can attract shady characters.


Image
SottoMayor Premium, a 43-apartment project in central Lisbon, was structured to take maximum advantage of Portugal’s visa-for-investment program.But others say that getting visas through real estate transactions involves vetting for criminal records, for instance, which is a far more restrictive process than the scrutiny faced by the million people a year who are given European Union passports through marriage or the reuniting of family.
“Anyone who is a real security threat or a major criminal would not put themselves through that scrutiny — they have other ways to get a passport or go where they want,” said Mr. Kälin, of Henley & Partners.
There are tax advantages in having residence rights in countries like Antigua, Cyprus and Malta, which charge little income tax on offshore assets and do not require the investor to live in the country for any significant period.
Mr. Kälin was a key figure in turning the trade in passports and residency visas into an industry.
I think in the case of the HHI episodes, a lot of people are sponsored by employers or they work for a multinational corporation which gives them a post in Europe, either temporarily or for longer term. Or some people live in their "new home" for a few months and move on. They feature their HHI appearances on their blogs.
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Old Jun 1st, 2020, 12:33 PM
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Originally Posted by StCirq;17110192=

....
We had no problem opening a bank account in France. ... Unlike bvlenci, we now keep very little money in the US, just enough for the occasional expense. We pay taxes foncières and taxes d'habitation here in France and US taxes if we have any income derived from the USA. We cannot invest in the US stock market, but that hasn't proven to be much of a drawback, and we aren't wealthy or have gobs of money stashed away in investments anyway - European and Asian and Canadian markets do well enough for us, although of course all investments are hurting at the moment.
I don't keep large sums of money anywhere. My pension checks get deposited in the US, and there's no reason to transfer the money to Italy. I can withdraw cash at an ATM with my American debit card, which I can also use to make purchases.

Originally Posted by StCirq;17110192=
I've had Irish citizenship through the Foreign Births Registry since 1987, and an Irish passport since 1988; consequently, the right to live in the EU. When I bought the house here in 1993 it was, among other things, with the express intention of coming here to live here permanently....
I also am an Irish citizen by birth, but I've never got the passport. Two of my siblings got Irish passports.
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