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caroline_edinburgh May 29th, 2012 12:27 PM

Following my cluttering up other posters' threads with responses to other old Venice hands kindly asking how our move here is going & offering advice, or my offering advice myself, I thought I'd better start my own thread; also the info may help others.

Btw I've kept my caroline_edinburgh Fodor's name as otherwise I'd have to register as a new user, which is a shame.

A wee bit of background previously posted elsewhere...

DH & I were working for a bank in the UK and it had got more & more horrible over the last few years, with constant redundancies; so we both decided to take the plunge, take voluntary redundancy (which gives us enough to live on for a year or two), retrain in TEFL & move to Venice to give it a go. Although we are EU citizens we still had various hoops to jump through for residency. We had 7 weeks of just settling in, recovering from the move & enjoying ourselves; now into our 6th week of an intensive Italian course (we are doing 12 weeks) then will start looking for work. If we can't make enough to live on we'll just have to come up with another plan, but in the meantime we've rented a flat for a year.

Stop press: we picked up our residency certification & Carte d'Identita today & immediately got 2 celebratory Negronis reduced from E14 to E10!!

Ciao, Caroline

raincitygirl May 29th, 2012 12:37 PM

Rallegramenti Caroline!
This is a great idea, I was following your other bits and pieces on other threads.
What a great move (and a brave one) and I wish you and your husband all the best of luck.

Did you have any Italian before taking the intensive course there?

DH and I would like to spend long periods of time in Italy once he is retired so I have been taking Italian classes here, but I'm only in the beginner level 2 stage.

What is the hardest thing so far about living there?

I'll be following your thread with interest.

caroline_edinburgh May 29th, 2012 12:38 PM

Ann: continuing our conversation from the 'cheese' post - more good tips, thanks. We are working on building up regular shops, bars etc - see result re cutprice Negronis above! - but I suppose our opportunities are more limited than when we're on hol as we're not going out for breakfast, drinks, meals etc as much (given this is our actual life now and we are currently unemployed !). Plus I think the fishmongers all speak Veneziano :-) But yes, I need to make more effort - I am being too British. Re free lectures - so far we've been to ones at the Ateneo Veneto, the Casino, the Scuola Grande di San Rocco & I think maybe some other places I've forgotten. I'm picking up on these + free concerts, exhibition openings etc from a combination of posters around town, the 'Un Ospite di Venezia' brochure or website and the back pages of the 'La Nuova' section of 'La Repubblica'. The latter is the only part I usually mange to read but DH is being very good and going through the whole paper most days, which he says has really helped with reading & vocabulary, so I must start to try & read at least proper article a day too.

caroline_edinburgh May 29th, 2012 12:51 PM

Hi raincitygirl - grazie molto!

Yes, I'd attempted Italian evening classes on & off for 21 years!! DH had also stopped & started, but we both stuck at it for the last few years at the Istituto Italiano di Cultura in Edinburgh & were halfway through our B1.2 year when we left. So my reading & writing were probably intermediate/upper intermediate, but my speaking was less good & my listening was rubbish. The hardest thing - hm, not sure really. The bureaucracy has been trying at times (as more or less expected), but I think for me personally the main problem has been the fact I seem to get stressed & discouraged fairly easily these days (having never worried about a thing when I was young!); so I've had one or two low points when everything in general just seemed hard work & stressful, which I hadn't really expected. DH OTOH is just breezing through it all!

Glad you are finding this interesting & hope it will continue to be useful.

raincitygirl May 29th, 2012 01:14 PM

It's easy for me to say but I think if you force yourself to speak as much as possible to people your Italian will improve quickly.
There is a lovely young Italian girl working here at a local shop and when I expressed amazement at how well she speaks English and how I'm battling with the verbal part of my classes she said "you need to go and live there and then you will really start to speak the language".
If it is any consolation there were two Scottish women in my last set of classes and they said they had an advantage in the pronunciation dep't as Scottish people tend to pronounce everything very precisely in English and they felt that really helped with the Italian.

I find listening hard as well, repetition seems to help me, so I listen to Italian CDs in the car and at home. My husband was following the Giro d'Italia so I'd listen to that but the commentators speak so quickly and are so excited I was getting only a few words here and there!

Don't be discouraged Caroline, we are all cheering for you here in Fodor-land. It's a big move you've made, as time goes on and you settle in you will feel less stressed.

Marija May 29th, 2012 01:15 PM

Hope you can find the time and interest to keep us updated on your adventure. Please.

ekscrunchy May 29th, 2012 01:20 PM


annhig May 29th, 2012 01:32 PM

Stop press: we picked up our residency certification & Carte d'Identita today & immediately got 2 celebratory Negronis reduced from E14 to E10!! >>

i'd love to know how you swung this! waving your residence permits above your heads in celebration? presenting your carte d'identita when you asked for your bar bill? anyway, congrats on being official residents.

raincitygirl - I tried watching the giro last year but actually, i decided that the commentary was rubbish. soooo repetitive and not a patch on the UK tour de France offering. i think that sport is one of the most difficult things to follow - too many names, or words that could be names. it's one of the things that puts me off moving to France or IItaly - how could I cope without the cricket commentary?

<<so I've had one or two low points when everything in general just seemed hard work & stressful, which I hadn't really expected. DH OTOH is just breezing through it all!>>

caroline - have you thought about why he finds it easier? what causes your stress? it's not a competition! chill - it's supposed to be fun. I'm lucky - i find languages easy but DH doesn't and i know that he can feel very stressed when we are both trying to speak french [our one common foreign language] at the same time. perhaps you need to carve out your own niche?

raincitygirl May 29th, 2012 01:49 PM

annhig, well in this house all cycling events must be decree of the MOTH (man of the house). He is training right now for a 200 mile ride in July from Seattle to Portland, Oregon.
You are right though, lots of words where I wasn't sure if it was a word or a person's name. Of course DH knows all the names so that helped.
I am only a marginal sports fan but in DH's family they are sports mad. My mother in law played cricket and rugby as a schoolgirl, as well as field hockey etc etc. It is brutal to sit with them and watch a sport on t.v., they know every rule and nuance of every blessed sport on the planet. LOL.

annhig May 29th, 2012 02:06 PM

hi rcg - sounds like my kind of family. if it moves, i'll watch it. [can't get US sports though, sorry and i can't get excited about wrestling or horse racing either].

i think that names are very difficult in a foreign language - you need to have a solid knowledge of the country to be able to spot them.

Padraig May 29th, 2012 02:37 PM

As somebody whose approach to Fodor's is like his approach to tourism (i.e. capricious or random sampling) I had missed your earlier posts about your big change in your life package. I wish you all the best with it.

But I think you deploy your TEFL skills where they are more urgently needed: Glasgow.

raincitygirl May 29th, 2012 03:08 PM

ha ha ann, you would fit right in. My husband is Australian, his parents South African but they lived a number of years in London.
I used to say they would watch two flies racing up a wall with full commentary provided!

I'm Canadian and when we moved back here it took no time at all for DH to get up to speed on baseball, ice hockey etc. and although he really does not like American football much he will still watch it on t.v. His mom came to visit once knowing nothing about ice hockey and within days was a knowledgeable Canucks fan and still is, watching it on cable from Sydney.
I must say the one thing I can get worked up about is anything to do with horses, racing, eventing, it all.

Peter_S_Aus May 29th, 2012 03:22 PM

Hi Caroline, and it’s great to see that the Venetian adventure is working out for you. Lou studied Italian (and listens to the foreign language radio Special Broadcasting Service, SBS, (or Esse Bee Essa) in the shower, picking up the Australian news spoken in Italian.

Lou came to an arrangement with a young lady in Venice, courtesy of a friendly shop keeper. Lou would buy a couple of coffees, and they would talk for an hour. Half an hour speaking English, half an hour speaking Italian. They both enjoyed it, and we will attend her graduation in April next year.

We’re planning our next visit for April and May 2013, and have booked an apartment in Santa Croce, near San Giacomo. It will be fun exploring a new neighbourhood, seeing different street life. Hopefully you will still be in Venice, we’d love to buy you a spritz, and I wonder where you are living.

Peter_S_Aus May 29th, 2012 03:34 PM

Caroline, I’ve just discovered from Pepper’s cheese conversation that you are near San Stefano. There’s a canal that runs clear under that church.

Buying wellies – there’s a shop just off campo San Barnaba, in the sottoportego as you head towards Academe that does boots. But maybe that’s a winter thing.

A thought to help you get Italian conversation – how about a notice on the board in one of the Universities. You can deliver an English lesson, and receive an Italian one. That is what Lou had in mind, before finding a partner courtesy of the lady in the linen shop in Calle Lunga San Barnaba.



Micheline May 29th, 2012 04:02 PM

Hi Caroline looking forward to reading more. Can you tell us about your flat?

ellenem May 29th, 2012 04:27 PM


When I was in Venice this past March, I went to a nice free concert of chamber music at Palazzetto Bru Zane (Centre de Musique Romantique Francaise). It is located quite near San Giovanni Evangelista. I think the concert was free because it was part of the "Donne a Venezia" weekend, but it might be worthwhile to watch the center's schedule.

Dayle May 29th, 2012 05:06 PM


Congratulations on this major move! What a really wonderful life experience for you two. Please do keep us posted, we are cheering for you.

Buona fortuna,

Cindywho May 29th, 2012 05:20 PM

I can only say I am jealous!

KERRYAJS1 May 29th, 2012 08:08 PM

Hi Caroline,

Delighted you are in Venice. You always come across as a charming person, so now you are a lovely person in the loveliest of cities.

I do adore your hometown too, and I just persuaded my sister to visit Edinburgh and she was enchanted.

Ah,but Venice!

Best wishes to you and your husband in Venice. Hope to return myself later this year.


hanl May 29th, 2012 10:33 PM

Hi Caroline, as a native of Edinburgh I remember you from your threads on the city.
This is the first time I've been on Fodors in ages, so I was interested to read about your move to Venice. Let's hope you can make a go of it! Good luck:)

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