Expatting Again

Well, while we’re on the subject of announcing major life changes, I should probably let you in on where we’ll be moving next. Hint: our destination is neither U.S. nor subtropical. Because let’s face it–we have now lived in Florida for 2 1/2 years, which in Familia time is about two decades. By the time we leave, we will have lived in Florida for over three times as long as we’ve ever lived anywhere else. Oh, the ironies of life. The weird thing is, I think my internal clock is set according to moves rather than time in any specific location. So I don’t feel like more time has passed while we were living in Florida than Tunisia (8 months) or Ireland (3 months). I’m not sure what that says about my existential state.

But anyway, here’s the announcement: next year we will be moving to Greece!

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To be more specific, our destination is an island in the Cyclades group called Kea. Bonus points if you can find it on this map:

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Did you find it? If not, you’re not alone. It took me quite some time to find a map that actually named Kea. With so many islands, I guess it’s hard to keep track. So let me give you some help. The Cyclades are the darker pink islands southeast of the mainland, and Kea is the Cyclades island closest to Attica, the part of mainland Greece where you’ll find Athens. With it being so close to Athens, you’d think it would be heavily touristed, but it’s not on the main ferry line, so it’s escaped the hordes of foreigners, and mostly serves as a weekend getaway for Athenians, many of whom have second homes on the island. Here’s a google maps screenshot of Kea:

Kea

Isn’t it so cute? I am in love. As you can see, there are not a lot of major urban centers on Kea. The population is around 2500, with most of those centered around Korissia, the port, and Ioulis, the capitol.

It’s mostly an island renowned for its natural beauty, both on land and under the sea, where some of Greece’s best scuba diving can be had, including the dramatic wreck of the HRHS Brittanica, sister ship to the similarly unlucky Titanic.  The reason we’re moving there is that our friend Stathis, whom we met while we were living in Florence, is from Greece. His family owns several hundred acres on Kea, and he’s working on developing it for eco-tourism.

That sounded good to us, so I screwed my courage to the sticking place and asked my boss if he would be OK with me working remotely from Greece. And he said yes! So sometime early next year we will be packing it all up and moving to a picturesque little Greek island. I still can’t quite believe it myself.

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Now we can turn our minds to the details, small and large. Tony and the children have Italian citizenship, which greatly simplifies our setting up residency in any European country, including Greece. I can come in on his coattails, so in the six years since Tony became an Italian citizen, I have not gotten around to applying for Italian citizenship by marriage, even though I always mean to do it. Fired up by our decision to move to Greece, Tony called up the Italian Consulate in Miami to find out when I could submit my documentation and have my interview.

You know an organization is truly dedicated to customer service when you have to call a 900 number just to set up an appointment with them. Three dollars and fifty cents later, Tony had been informed that the next available appointment to apply for citizenship is not for two years! So much for that idea. I guess my next chance to apply will be from the Italian embassy in Athens. Italian efficiency + Greek efficiency. I can only imagine.

We also need to jump into the Russian roulette of buying plane tickets. Will they be cheaper now? Or in a month? Or in six months? And speaking of Russian, by far the cheapest flights from Orlando to Athens connect in Moscow, and are on Aeroflot, an airline owned by the Russian government. It will still be safe and sane to stop over in Russia next year–right? I mean, yesterday when President Obama coordinated expanded sanctions against Russia with the E.U. and accused the Russian government of “setting back decades in genuine progress,” how many decades did he mean exactly? I’m sure it will be fine, but Russia is kind of wigging me out lately. In the end, though, it doesn’t much matter how we get there, just as long as we end up here:

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Map credit

7 thoughts on “Expatting Again

  • July 31, 2014 at 10:48 pm
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    One of these years I need to go back and read your blog to find out what y’all do that makes it easy to just live around the world. What kind of business is your husband in? Eco-tourism?

    Looks beautiful!

    • August 1, 2014 at 10:36 am
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      People ask me that question a lot, Susanne, and I never know how to answer. Mainly we’re just always thinking about it. It’s amazing how many things can lead to international living if you’re always thinking about it and planning for it. So far we’ve tried educational grants, jobs abroad, running a U.S. business remotely, and freelancing. They’ve all worked to one degree or another. I’m excited to be taking my full-time job with me this time. That should give us more stability than we’ve had in the past.

      • August 2, 2014 at 5:00 pm
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        That’s great. I love that y’all are willing to try new things – jobs as well as locations. In my next life, I want to be you! ;)

  • July 31, 2014 at 11:00 am
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    Sarah, good luck, I admire your nerve and adventure and I wish I had more myself. Expatting is what I’d like to do when I grow up, but time is running out, alas.

  • July 30, 2014 at 12:54 pm
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    We’d totally love to have you guys! And thanks for the vote of confidence for Aeroflot. Our standards are pretty low too. As long as it’s better than Ryanair, I’m happy.

  • July 30, 2014 at 12:48 pm
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    Plotting how to get from Riyadh to Kea…

    We had one of our best flying experiences ever on Aeroflot. Of course, my standards aren’t very high (nor were my expectations), but was very pleasantly surprised. And the juice selections on a Russian airline are always going to be good. Wouldn’t that keep you from wigging out? :)

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