by C.Flisi

Three cross-country moves within the US, three moves among European countries, two transatlantic moves, plus dozens of “small” moves within cities or between adjoining US states, all pale in comparison to the agony of my current situation. How did all my previous experience culminate in this reductio ad absurdum?

When I asked my once-believed-to-be-reliable Italian mover about the unexpected charge of $321.67 demanded by their US colleague,

the response was, “Look more closely at the boilerplate.” …

Image by Enrique Meseguer from Pixabay

All through the nightmare of my move last month, among the few bright spots was the moving company selected to ship our belongings from Italy to the US. When so many service providers were letting us down or out-and-out betraying us, this mover was reliable, efficient, and completely professional. They were expensive but worth the cost (or so I thought) because they showed up on time and did exactly what they said they would do. They earned my trust.

But the opera ain’t over till the fat lady sings. We were supposed to hear from the US affiliate of our…

Image by Squirrel photos from Pixabay

There are several almost foolproof ways to keep from gaining weight when moving to the US, and one of them is to shop at a US supermarket. A supermarket is something just about everyone visits every week or more, and I find the experience shocking, not for the percentage of overweight customers but for the absurdity of the offer. I haven’t worked out the percentages scientifically, but an overall impression is that ¾ of the items on display are industrial products, not actual food.

Each supermarket’s layout is different but the basic pattern seems to be candy and impulse items…

by Audrey Flisi

On Wednesday, I was hoping to dedicate the entire day to getting my Mac in working order. So many issues with this new computer and its fancy new chip. New OS, new Office suite, new limitations. Yeah it’s fast, but not as fast as one might think for my specific needs and the apps I use. Huge trauma because there are only two ports and more are needed for an external monitor, external keyboard, and mouse. …

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Yesterday morning was my first direct experience with the madness of the US Medicare “system” (quotation marks used deliberately).

My appointment with a baseline family physician was supposed to be straightforward. As noted in previous musings.

I had none of the issues faced by my husband, no urgency in filling prescriptions or scheduling exams. I simply wanted to make contact with A DOCTOR on the off chance that an emergency might arise. I didn’t want to be caught unawares or be forced by circumstance to throw myself on the mercy of the nearest ER. No concern with special expertise; my…

Photo of Virginia by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

Compared with the difficulty of obtaining an Italian driver’s license, it is fairly easy for a US-based resident who moves from one state to another to change one’s license. My transition from New Jersey to Georgia was seamless, and it wasn’t TOO much harder to switch from Georgia to California, though California, the car crazy Mecca of the world, takes its license issuance seriously. When I moved there as a young woman, I had to take the written driver’s test for the state. California road regulations are different enough that they want to make sure you know them. Also, drivers…

The easiest way to handle our new, reduced circumstances is to think of our present situation as a summer rental. That works, since July IS summer in this hemisphere, the weather feels summery, bees buzz, lawnmowers hum, air conditioners moan, and the smell of barbecue wafts up to our apartment from the community grills in the park next door.

So it calms me to think that we are here “for the summer.” In that context, the lack of personal furniture and the absence of our own framed paintings, prints, and drawings on the walls are understandable. Ditto for the lack…

Photo by Carlos Magno on Unsplash

The first week stateside was spent in a fog of jetlag and nervous exhaustion. This second week I have been trying to navigate the fog but more than not feel I am running a marathon through thick mud. Instead of making forward progress, I am sinking deeper with every step.

Take the issue of contacting doctors. As noted earlier here, the process of choosing a primary care physician is theoretically marvelous. We are in an area chock-a-block with doctors, many of them world-class specialists, so the problem — if any — should be the dazzling choice available. But no.


by National Cancer Institute on Unsplash

Once the haze of jet lag lifts, the next days (or daze) of bureaucratic adjustments await. Immediate focus is on the most urgent needs: food, shelter, transportation, communication, and — oh yes — healthcare.

I had to start with healthcare because it is the top priority. A broken finger can bankrupt you in the US, making food, shelter, and all the rest irrelevant. In fact, the only reason we are here at all is because we had sought professional assurance that basic medical coverage would be possible.

My first takeaway is that Medicare is really complicated. It’s like picking from…

by C.Flisi

What is re-entry like after 35 years of living abroad? The answer is more and less.

More. The cicadas! They just completed their second cycle since I left in 1986, and the exoskeletons were everywhere when I arrived a week ago. Fortunately fewer now, but you can still see and crunch on some lingering carcasses. They are a reminder that nature is mysterious and inexplicable, sorta like expat adjustment.

US cars are bigger, roads are wider, portions in restaurants and packaged goods in supermarkets are gigantic. People are more friendly (at least superficially), they are taller and decidedly wider, they…


writer, PR professional, mother, dog-lover, traveler. See more at

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