As I start to get ready to move abroad at the end of August, I realize there are details I must figure out as well as some concerns I have.
The first step I have already taken is starting to learn Italian. I am working with an Italian tutor as well as using Rosetta Stone. It feels like a slow, difficult process trying to learn another language, but it is also fun and exciting knowing that I will soon be using this new language daily.
The next step was finding out if I could get a Medic Alert bracelet written in both English and Italian. I also wanted to make sure the Medic Alert symbol is recognized worldwide. Although I have lived abroad before, this will be my first time living in a country that speaks another language other than English. I called Medic Alert and found out that I can get a bracelet with both Italian and English on it. I’m very excited and relieved about this. I also found out that I could do it through Medic Alert here in the U.S., or one of their affiliates in either the U.K. or Cyprus. Great news!
I have already taken a look at the Italian allergy website: http://www.foodallergyitalia.org
The website is in Italian. I am going to ask my tutor to help translate for me. I will probably try to e-mail them and maybe also try to call them. I need to find out how foods are labeled there, and if there are other suggestions and precautions I should take.
When I went to Italy a few summers ago with my family, I made multiple copies of chef cards in Italian. I want to update it and make sure there is nothing else that I want to add or include.
There are a few concerns I have about moving to Italy with my allergies. I may live with another teacher there. If I do, will they be careful with my allergies so that I can feel comfortable in my own apartment? Living with other people can be difficult in general, but with allergies it presents many more complexities. Any common space is always a big question mark. Did she eat something I was allergic to while sitting on the couch? Are the dishes clean and safe for me to use?
Another concern (that may sound a bit silly) is whether I will be able to find chocolate and ice cream that I will be able to eat. Now I know on the grand scale of important concerns, this may not seem big, but going somewhere for a year and not having any ice cream or chocolate is kind of a big deal! When I lived in Australia, the only chocolate I could eat was Twix bars (because they were manufactured in a different facility than in the U.S.) and soft serve vanilla from McDonald’s. That was it! I rarely had the soft serve because it wasn’t very good and after a while Twix bars can get pretty old. I’m an extremely healthy eater, but come on…a girl needs something sweet on occasion! I already know I can’t take the risk with gelato because of cross-contamination. Will I have to live without sweets for a year? I hope not!
One other concern I have right now is how much money I will end up spending on food. In Australia, I used to go to the grocery store almost every other day to get fresh food. I could barely eat anything packaged, so I needed to buy fresh meat, veggies and fruit. I would spend at least $100 a week, if not more on feeding myself. I am wondering how much it will cost in Italy. Will I be able to find more packaged foods that I can eat there? I doubt it…
I will try to update my findings as I continue preparing to move to Italy with food allergies!