Bulgarian Expat Living in Italy - Interview with Lyubena

Published: 29 Apr at 9 AM
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Filed: Interviews,Italy
Coming from the heart of the Balkans, Lyubena likes to introduce herself as a visual storyteller, exploring urban arteries and collecting city legends. You could spot her having a coffee in Brera quarter in Milan, dreaming about walks along the river in Budapest, dancing barefoot on the terrace or diving in a good novel. Lyubena's expat blog is called Anatomia Fotografica (see listing here)


Here's the interview with Lyubena...

Where are you originally from?
I come from Bulgaria.

In which country and city are you living now?
I am currently waking up in Milan, Italy.

How long have you lived in Italy and how long are you planning to stay?
I moved here a year and a half ago after having spent three marvellous years in Budapest.

Why did you move to Italy and what do you do?
Love, a master program and passion for good cuisine brought me here.

Did you bring family with you?
Yes, I moved here with my beloved one.

How did you find the transition to living in a foreign country?
Changing your address is like learning a new language: in the beginning is exciting, learning new phrases, seeing the world with new eyes, soon after you come to the point that some parts of the grammar are too difficult and you may never be able to understand them, but soon or later you start mastering the language you are fully autonomous and happy. Beginnings are marked by cultural shock, self-reflection, but once you adapt it feels wonderful.

Was it easy making friends and meeting people; do you mainly socialise with other expats?
Once in Italy I found myself trapped in stereotypes claiming that Italians are talkative. It turned out that Italians are talkative, mostly if you speak the language. In the beginning I was more in the expat circle, but than school and job opened the doors to the beautiful Italian friendship.

An invitation for coffee
An invitation for coffee
What are the best things to do in the area; anything to recommend to future expats?
Climb the rooftop of Duomo di Milano and Torre Branca in Parco Sempione to get an overview of the astonishing cityscape of Milan. Hide yourself with a good book in a summer afternoon in the elegant backyard of Villa Necchi Campiglio. Discover some urban legends like the gigantic clock on the balcony under number one in Via Tadino or go for an exhibition in Triennale Design Museum. Explore the gelaterie in the surroundings, you won't be sorry. Go for lunch fuori porta visiting one of the tiny golden villages around the lakes nearby.

What do you enjoy most about living in Italy?
The good old Italian habit for great coffee, the Mediterranean diet, learning new body language expressions, traveling around the country.

How does the cost of living in Italy compare to home?
Being well-known as one of the world fashion capital and home of famous Italian design brands, Milano's lifestyle is definitely more expensive compared to back home. But with a bit of exploration once quickly encounters hidden affordable gems.

Burning skies over Milan
Burning skies over Milan
What negatives, if any, are there to living in Italy?
Administrative bureaucracy is definitely a drawback.

If you could pick one piece of advice to anyone moving to Italy, what would it be?
Observe and listen to the locals as much as possible. Ah, and bring an umbrella! It may come into use.g

What has been the hardest aspect to your expat experience so far?
Getting to know more locals out of work and school.

When you finally return home, how do you think you'll cope with repatriation?
Home will always remain as the sweets place on Earth, but I believe after Milan, there are new lands to explore. I am still not satiated with this nomadic life.

The city from above, view from 108 m high Torre Branca
The city from above, view from 108 m high Torre Branca
What are your top 5 expat tips for anyone following in your footsteps?
  1. Get lost in the markets. This is where you will find the real rhythm of the city.
  2. Visit more exhibitions and artistic performances. Through art once could understand the best the values and appreciation of a nation.
  3. Follow your passions and find a group of people you share similar interests with. This is among the easiest way to make local friendships.
  4. Learn the language. Nothing tastes better than the small talk with the barista or doing yoga in Italian.
  5. Invite friends over. The passion about a place is well nourished when one has to share favourite places and activities in the host city.
Tell us a bit about your own expat blog.
Anatomia Fotografica is online notebook to jot down some impressions on encounters and places mostly in Milan and in the surroundings and to share some photographs.

How can you be contacted for further advice to future expats coming to your area?
Visit my blog to see what I am up to right now or find me here: http://about.me/lyu.bena

About the author

Expat Blog ListingLyubena is a Bulgarian expat living in Italy. Blog description: on journeys, encounters and everyday life (by Lyubena T.)
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