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 Post subject: Re: Expat PPKers
PostPosted: Wed Apr 09, 2014 12:17 am 
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Dying from Nooch Lung
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lutin wrote:
Hope this wasn't a terrible mistake: I just went to the municipality and asked to be registered on both passports. Initially they said no (because Dutch law allows only one nationality for Dutchies) but for foreigners they allow multiple passports. I think I am ok? but already worrying in the opposite way I worried before (that not being registered on both would somehow be terrible).


You should be fine. I'm pretty sure that all they care about is that you're there legally, which you are. They're not going to give you trouble about two passports because they have no authority to in your case. It was probably not necessary, to register on both but I don't think you have to worry now that you have.

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 Post subject: Re: Expat PPKers
PostPosted: Wed Apr 09, 2014 1:44 am 
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Nooch of Earl
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Most of the ones we've seen ads for very locally (ie by the base) are via the military, and that seems like the best way to get an automatic but they're still way overpriced. (Yes, the easy solution might be to learn to drive stick, and if I were anywhere but southern Italy where there's so much other crazy driving stuff to get used to, I'd just do that.. but I figure I'll have my hands full just trying to adapt to the, er, unique local driving situation, no need to add more stress to that!)

This is basically the local (expat/military) resale situation: http://naplesallhands.com/items/2/autos-motorcycles/

We'd love a Fiat 500 or 500L, I think (so CUTE!), assuming my fairly tall husband would fit.. but I really don't want to be driving a new car around because I know I'll need to be zen about scrapes and dings. But all the used stuff out there just seems like it's at that age where everything will break and need replacing in short order. I know I'm a total diva here but I hate driving unreliable cars and spending as much money maintaining a car as it would cost just to buy a new one. Add to that my total befuddlement of how to go about even going to a local dealership or lot.

I asked my husband to talk to his Italian coworker for advice, so maybe that will help.


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 Post subject: Re: Expat PPKers
PostPosted: Wed Apr 09, 2014 4:03 am 
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Vegan Vegan Vegan Vegan Vegan
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lepelaar wrote:
lutin wrote:
Hope this wasn't a terrible mistake: I just went to the municipality and asked to be registered on both passports. Initially they said no (because Dutch law allows only one nationality for Dutchies) but for foreigners they allow multiple passports. I think I am ok? but already worrying in the opposite way I worried before (that not being registered on both would somehow be terrible).


You should be fine. I'm pretty sure that all they care about is that you're there legally, which you are. They're not going to give you trouble about two passports because they have no authority to in your case. It was probably not necessary, to register on both but I don't think you have to worry now that you have.


Yeah. The office says they have seen people who were registered on 4-5 passports simultaneously. So long as they're foreigners, they're fine. Yesterday they thought it was not necessary to register on both, but started the paperwork. After a scary email from my dad last night, I went back today to ask them to cancel that process (but ONLY if there were no consequences). The woman today thought I was silly for not registering on both since "born in USA => USA passport" but since they couldn't tell me which agencies receive the citizenship information, agreed to stop the process. MAN. I hate grey legal areas. I don't want to jeopardize either citizenship! And am scared that any choice I make in this situation is a bad one.

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 Post subject: Re: Expat PPKers
PostPosted: Wed Apr 09, 2014 5:42 am 
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Seagull of the PPK
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annak wrote:
if I were anywhere but southern Italy where there's so much other crazy driving stuff to get used to, I'd just do that.. but I figure I'll have my hands full just trying to adapt to the, er, unique local driving situation, no need to add more stress to that!)

that is really true. when i was driving in japan (on the "wrong" side *and* relearning stick) i didn't feel like i really needed to focus to (literally?) "keep up" with the driving differences. But here, it took me a few months to get used to it, it is that different. It's really more like riding a motorcycle even when you're in the car. Plus the security situation, and you really were sort of all ears and antennae the first few months, so I can hear what you're saying.

The 500 is actually really roomy inside, for what it is (like the Mini or the new Beetle), but i don't think you'll find one that is more than two or three years old.
I heard a good explanation of why used cars maintain a high value in the developing world (basically it boils down to fear of inflation); I assume the automaking culture + gasoline lobby etc in the US encourage more carbuying and turnover? (cuz i'm a tinfoil hat kind of person). Still, even accounting for the exchange rate, those prices look pretty good. My husband just sold a 1984 Fiat Uno (the shittiest shitbox Fiat makes, maybe) for BRL$6000, which is about 7 times the monthly minimum wage and maybe US$2500. If we were in the US we couldn't give that car away.

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 Post subject: Re: Expat PPKers
PostPosted: Wed Apr 09, 2014 3:22 pm 
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Mars wrote:
Is that because people are more likely to buy a new car and then drive it for 15 years? Where as in the US we buy them and drive them for three before getting the next shiny thing? I feel like I answered my own question?


I can't speak for Italy specific, but I doubt that's the case. It could be that annak is looking in the wrong places for a car?

Small cars often retain their value for a longer time because their monthly costs are lower and thus often more popular than bigger cars.

In the Netherlands you will pay road tax by weight, and liability insurance also uses weight in the calculation of the price of coverage. The price of petrol is almost twice of that in the U.S, and smaller cars often use less fuel, so that adds to popularity.

Automatics can be hard to find because it's almost always an extra option, and not a lot of people want to pay an extra thousand on a new car for an automatic. Plus automatics often have a slightly higher fuel consumption.

I assume the couple of years old cars will be available through the brand-dealers, and perhaps 5-6 years older through non-brand garages.
I think it would be best to find an Italian "craigslist/ebay" site that will hopefully have options to search on type of gearbox, or search with what ever the word is for automatic gearbox in Italian.


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 Post subject: Re: Expat PPKers
PostPosted: Thu Apr 10, 2014 6:55 am 
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Nooch of Earl
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I've tried the auction type sites, and there's actually some promising stuff, but mostly it's in different parts of Italy (usually wealthier, honestly, up by Milan or Torino etc..).. and plus they tend to be listings from dealerships that may or may not reflect actual current stock. Probably we'll either need to settle (the 5 year old Fiat Punto on the local sales site might actually work!) or visit some dealerships, but with the language barrier the prospect is a little exhausting. I'm tempted to look into seeing if we could drive up to Holland and buy something there, where at least we can understand what we're signing, but then I'd have to look into all the import laws and that's daunting too (apparently to buy a car in Italy you need to prove ties to the country, and that might be the case elsewhere as well).

Anyway it's just one of many getting settled issues that makes moving to another country fun. I'm just feeling whiny, and trapped on the American base, and can't wait to have a home and a means of getting around and all. If the transit system were usable here it would be one thing, but with all the transfers it's an hour and a half to go anywhere near the city. Feh!


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 Post subject: Re: Expat PPKers
PostPosted: Thu Apr 10, 2014 7:27 am 
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Location: Munich, finally!
And don't forget the quite high tax you need to pay whenever you buy a second hand car in Italy, in order to register it under your name... one more reason why the second hand market is much less active than in other countries.

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 Post subject: Re: Expat PPKers
PostPosted: Fri Apr 11, 2014 8:22 am 
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Nooch of Earl
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I'm not sure how the tax situation works in our case (military). We might or might not have to pay that.

At least we're making progress with the housing front. We signed a pre-contract on a lease, which basically means that if they pass the inspection and meet all our terms we're on the hook to sign a lease. So yay! But the frustrating thing is how long every single step of this process has taken. It takes days to get an open appointment with the housing office and they won't make an appointment for the next step until the previous one is all complete. It's very frustrating! So now we're waiting for the home inspection on Thursday, then we'll make an appointment for an actual lease signing, then I think the move in date is sometime after that? ASAP I hope!! I want OUT of this stinking hotel.


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 Post subject: Re: Expat PPKers
PostPosted: Fri Aug 22, 2014 2:46 pm 
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horselesspaul just sent me a PM asking for specific info about Groningen, but I keep on getting errors from the PM system, so here's the detailed information I was going to send. Hope you see it in time!

Spoiler: show
Eating out in Groningen ... is hard. I have rarely actually done it myself; I always eat out in Amsterdam or the Hague. Honestly, you might be better going to the giant open market downtown (Vismarkt/Grotemarkt) and buying bread from a baker, veggies from a stall, and hummus from the Turkish stall. If you're not picky, then I've heard that there's a stall on the Grotemarkt with Brazilian/South American food including a plate which can be made vegan. The fries on the market are also vegan.

As for cafes:

Bij Britta just opened; apparently it has vegan treats, but I haven't been yet:
https://www.facebook.com/bijbritta

PS! is a cafe on Oude Kijk in 't Jatstraat (just next to the university) with a raw vegan cake

Tel Aviv (http://www.eet.nu/groningen/tel-aviv) apparently has falafels, but check again to make sure everything is vegan, there are mixed reports about whether they use egg in everything (???)

De Vestibule (100% bio restaurant) apparently has vegan items on their menu: http://www.devestibule.com/

On the Zuiderdiep is an Indonesian take-away called Toko Semarang; you select from the counter, like at a deli. The items which look to be 'obviously' vegan are (I've checked multiple times).

There's also an Indian place called Kleine Moghul which is supposed to be good about swapping things in for vegans. http://www.moghul.nl/

Hope that helps! Most of the websites are Dutch-only; try google chrome (auto-translation) if you need help.

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 Post subject: Re: Expat PPKers
PostPosted: Sat Aug 23, 2014 2:57 pm 
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Fantastic, thanks so much. Sunday foraging then.

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 Post subject: Re: Expat PPKers
PostPosted: Sat Aug 23, 2014 3:55 pm 
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This blogpost can give you some ideas about where to eat out in Groningen: http://www.legumo.nl/vegan-groningen/

(vegan status of places on the map not verified)

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 Post subject: Re: Expat PPKers
PostPosted: Thu Aug 28, 2014 11:25 am 
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I was born & grew up in the UK, met an Aussie there and moved to Australia with him in 1997. I had an aunt who lived there and OH's family were there (although on the other side of the country from where we settled) but had no job when we moved. We didn't need to be married for me to get my permanent resident's visa, just needed a load of documentation to prove that our relationship was real (joint bank accounts, mortgage statements etc). We lived there for 8 years, decided it wasn't for us and returned to the UK. He already had dual citizenship before first going to the UK (his parents were/are British) and I got my Australian citizenship a couple of months before leaving.

We lived in the UK until I had an epiphany. We were living in a town in SE England that we didn't particularly like because that's where my job was (I had been able to get a job with the same company I worked for in Australia). The job was OK but I didn't see it as a long term thing, despite having worked for the company for 13 years. I was very well paid though and needed that salary to be able to afford the house in the town I didn't really like - my OH has his own, very small business but I was the real money-earner. I decided that there had to be more to life, so in 2011 we sold the house, I left my job and we started travelling around Europe in a motorhome to 'find ourselves' or at least decide what we wanted to do with our lives.

On our travels we fell in love with Portugal so nearly two years after we started travelling, we moved here and have been here just over a year. Because the cost of living here is so much lower (and we no longer have a mortgage) the income from my OH's business is enough. We both feel more at home here than anywhere else we have been or lived, despite the language barrier. We have found the people to be generous & warm and have been made to feel really welcome. There are many things I love about the country generally - they legalised same-sex marriage 4 years ago, decriminalised drug possession, over 70% of their electricity is from renewable sources - and we just feel like we fit.

The 'expat community' thing is an odd one. There is quite a large expat population around here (mainly Brits, Dutch & German) and they tend to be either fairly wealthy retirees with big villas & swimming pools, or self-styled hippies living in the forests and surprisingly there is quite a bit of overlap, usually through shared interests like the local dog shelter. We do socialise with them occasionally but have made an effort not to get too stuck in that rut. We avoid the people like one couple who told us they moved to Portugal because they hated all the immigrants moving to the UK. We need to make much more of an effort to get out and meet local people and I guess that will come as our language skills improve.

On the matter of downsizing/getting rid of stuff when you move, we have pretty much moved all our stuff between each country. When we had money, we bought good quality stuff that should last us years and getting rid of it in order to have to replace it with cheaper stuff didn't make sense to me. I think it also helps us to settle more quickly each time we move - we were able to re-establish 'home' very quickly because we had familiar things around us. On the downside, it's bloody expensive.

There are always frustrations when you move between countries and it is very tempting to think that your home/previous country does X, Y or Z better (something we hear a lot from other expats here) but we try to remember that we moved to another country precisely because it was different, sometimes for the better, sometimes not. If you want the same as you had, don't move.

We don't know whether this will be permanent - we have tended to get itchy feet fairly regularly so maybe not, but this is the place we feel like we might actually be putting down roots.


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 Post subject: Re: Expat PPKers
PostPosted: Thu Aug 28, 2014 11:26 am 
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Wow, that was a long 'whole life story' kind of post. Sorry!


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 Post subject: Re: Expat PPKers
PostPosted: Thu Aug 28, 2014 12:00 pm 
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Seagull of the PPK
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HappyBean wrote:
they moved to Portugal because they hated all the immigrants moving to the UK

now that's rich!

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 Post subject: Re: Expat PPKers
PostPosted: Thu Aug 28, 2014 1:07 pm 
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torque wrote:
HappyBean wrote:
they moved to Portugal because they hated all the immigrants moving to the UK

now that's rich!


Isn't it just? And not the first time we've heard that from people either. It would be almost be funny if it wasn't so shiitake. It is beyond my comprehension that people can be so stupid.


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 Post subject: Re: Expat PPKers
PostPosted: Mon Oct 20, 2014 2:35 pm 
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Seagull of the PPK
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Here's a new one I heard today:
"I don't mean to be rude (and the guy totally didn't) but what the hell is it you speak wherever it is you come from?"

i cracked up. it was so innocently meant but came out all kinds of wrong, so much so that I had to laugh.

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 Post subject: Re: Expat PPKers
PostPosted: Mon Oct 20, 2014 2:43 pm 
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Amazing. I wonder what it's like when this guy does try to be rude!


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 Post subject: Re: Expat PPKers
PostPosted: Mon Oct 20, 2014 2:53 pm 
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HappyBean wrote:
torque wrote:
HappyBean wrote:
they moved to Portugal because they hated all the immigrants moving to the UK

now that's rich!


Isn't it just? And not the first time we've heard that from people either. It would be almost be funny if it wasn't so shiitake. It is beyond my comprehension that people can be so stupid.


HA! I had a boss when I was in the UK who retired and moved to a holiday house in Spain, only to return within two years because... wait for it... Spain was full of Spaniards.

ETA: And of course this reminds me of "Chinese are a subspecies" Morrissey, who complains (from Rome) about being unable to hear spoken English on the streets of London.

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 Post subject: Re: Expat PPKers
PostPosted: Mon Oct 20, 2014 3:13 pm 
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Level 7 Vegan
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Location: Hamburg, Germany
In other news, this month I took 2 important steps towards further integration:
- signed up for language classes (I placed in B1 so I am not nearly as much of a beginner as I expected) and have been shifting most of the small talk at work to German
- signed up for my company's private retirement scheme (401k equivalent) instead of lazily contributing to my French accounts. Sexay, I know.

At the same time... We spent the last weekend discussing how much we miss Japan (seriously, I miss Tokyo like I've never missed anything or anyone else), and how we might plan to go back there, long term. I don't know if I would actually go through with it without a real corporate expat package though. The idea of going through the entire administrative ordeal again... figuring out visas and taxes and apartment rentals and transferring pension contributions and health insurance and workers' rights and urgh. I hate that it never gets easier no matter how many times you do it.


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 Post subject: Re: Expat PPKers
PostPosted: Mon Oct 20, 2014 3:53 pm 
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Seagull of the PPK
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oh god Aelle, you are going to make me cry!! Tokyo was seriously, one of the hardest times of my life, but I miss it so, so much. So much. Sadly, I think the only way I will ever go back long term is if something terrible happens and I want to start over somewhere else- like you said, too much headache and from far away I forget how cozy it is to not be sticking out like a sore thumb all the time.
ETA-- but i tell you, once in a while the weirdest things will hit me so hard- the smell of kerosene, especially (romantic right) or the smell of a coffeehouse, certain sounds, and I can close my eyes and I am back in Japan. I must be getting old and silly.

Good job on the B1 and the functionality!!

as for mr awkward- he was one of these so, so shy guys, like the kind that can barely look me in the face, i could tell he was wanting to ask me but couldn't bring himself to, and then he reacahed deep for courage and it sort of all came out in the worst way possible. poor thing.

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