Tag Archives: Expat Life

Asking for donations for Earthquake disaster in Cental Italy

It is devastating what has happened in Lazio, Marche, and Umbria area of Italy.  A 6.0 quake that has destroyed many homes and killed many people.  My heart and tears go out to the many people over there.

Here are some pictures of before and after to some areas where the quake hit. Click the link below to go to the news article where you can see the before and after shots.  It is very saddening to see the ancient towns destroyed like that.

The towns of Amatrice and Arquata del Tronto were among those in central Italy hit by a 6.2-magnitude earthquake early on Wednesday, killing dozens


Source: Before and after pictures of Italian towns devastated by deadly earthquake | World news | The Guardian


There is still a process going on as to what is needed and how items can get over to the area. Many stores are being supportive and donating new clothes, food and much more to those in need.

I have read that you can donate items, but I have also heard that those items might not make it to the people.  So when I hear more on that I will post, but for now the Department of Civil Protection is asking for a donation to the cause which is done easily by donating 2 euros by doing an sms on your phone that will be charged to your SIM card. In your sms settings you put the phone number 45500 and it seems it is also active on the landline as well. It is fairly simple and the best way right now to help out those in need from the devastating quake of 2016.

You can book CUP appointments online

Servizio Sanitario Regionale CardI just went through figuring out how to book my CUP appointments online. It is easy with the card reader and an email to get your username and password. I am also able to pick up my laboratory results online as well. Finally, the health system is getting somewhere on eliminating those long waits on the phone to book an appointment.  I will post in a page soon the procedure you need to do to get this going.

The only thing I question is there seem to me a small number of doctors that have available appointments in this online booking. I thought it would run more like booking an airline flight. All options there to choose from. I was getting two to three doctors to choose from in only These doctors were not located at familiar hospital or center either.  You are also only given a month time period the current month but no other months.  Anyone know about this? Are these doctors, good doctors, or just the ones left over from calling to book?

Your Child in English Class


Bilingual children are amazing and children are like sponges that can absorb another language easily.  By having a parent, that speaks another language other than Italian is a wonderful opportunity for your child.  However, what happens when they go to a public school and learn their home language with teachers that really do not have the qualifications of teaching another language?

Here is my story.  I have two children both speak, read, and understand really well, American English (yes it is different then British English).  During their years of Elementary, it was interesting to say the least to watch what would happen in their classes of English.  During this time, the Math teachers having to take over the task of teaching English replaced the English teachers.  From the start, my oldest was very strong in his English.  He got to the point where he was almost teaching the class. The teacher was always checking with him and relying on him for the words she was not sure she was pronouncing correctly or the right word in a sentence she was creating. She did not mind that he was using American words or that he spoke American. She also did not correct him when he would use the American spelling instead of the British spelling.   He did not mind this but other bilingual children might have a problem being singled out to help the teacher.

My second child, born here, did not have such the understanding teacher and at first had to learn English by a cd in class.  The teacher wanted the children to repeat the words exactly with the British accent (an Italian speaking British on the cd) that was being heard.  I have horror flash backs when I had to learn Spanish in High school that way.  It was horrible trying to follow the speaker on a cd and not being able to stop it or repeat it to follow. One day he came home in tears because the teacher said he was not pronouncing “blue jeans” correctly.  The “u” in British has a different accent then in American English.   Unfortunately, we had to tell him that he needs to try his best and to follow what the teacher is teaching.  In other words if she wants British he needs to do it in British.  That teacher left and another teacher came that taught more like my first child’s teacher.  She was more understanding to the American and British differences, yet both are English. Now in middle school and the teacher is teaching the British “u” again.  She is telling the children that the British “u” is pronounced like the Italian “a” and that the word “us” is pronounced like “ass”.  Now my child came home telling me that he needs to say “ass” for “us”.  Now I am envisioning my child in the US going around saying that and being laughed at.  I know that there is an accent on the “u” but I do not think it is the sound of “a” in Italian.

What stories do you have of your child learning English or even another home language in their classes at school?

Normal middle class living overseas are turning in their Citizenship to the US

So there is a way out for my children. I wonder if we need to do it in those two years or wait until older. The thing that annoys me the most is that the US wants our information about our income abroad yet the US does not give it’s citizens living abroad any of the benefits of being a US citizen.  Where is my national healthcare? I am a US citizen and when I visit home to see family I have no insurance because I have a pre existing condition.  Really of course more and more normal middle class living overseas, for reasons such as their husband is here, are turning in their Citizenship to the US, that is because we get nothing from the US for being a citizen.  This is surely not the way to get those that are embezzling money overseas, but it is a way for those citizens living abroad to be more and more not happy with their home country and wondering why we hold onto our citizenship. Maybe instead of shoving us further and further away you should figure away to really include us as citizens that love our home country and should continue staying with our home country. You are keeping immigrants that cross over the boarders but yet you are driving your own nationally born citizens that have even lived there for years away because of a small percentage of people embezzling money overseas.  I am talking about the amounts of people not the amounts of money.  There has to be another way.

Americans Abroad Top Annual Record for Turning in Passports

The number of Americans renouncing U.S. citizenship increased 37 percent in the three months through December and the annual total reached a record level, data published Tuesday showed.

The trend likely is accelerating because of a 2010 law that gives the Internal Revenue Service unprecedented access to U.S. citizens’ foreign bank accounts, said Stephen Flott, an attorney at Flott & Co. P.C. in Arlington, Virginia, whose clients include expatriates. The U.S. is the only country within the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development that taxes citizens wherever they reside.

“If they have no real desire to work or live here, then the question for them is: What’s the point?” Flott said. “For those who feel no real affinity to the U.S., it’s a no- brainer.” read more……

Kimberly Vanzi

February 20, 2014

There used to be the options for US citizens married and living overseas to file single seems that option is no longer valid the IRS wants your married status with the hopes you add your non resident alien spouse.  They give many explanations to this through out the newly updated Tax instructions .  So check with your accountant again if you were filing single to see if you can still do this.

If you are married to a non-American and you both live overseas, you may have wondered how this impacts on your U.S. tax filing situation, if at all. As with most concerns involving taxes, the more complicated they can make it, the better Congress likes it! This article will try to present your various tax obligations (and options) with regard to a non-American spouse as simply and precisely as possible. via Non-American Spouse: US Tax Implications :: American Citizens Abroad ACA.

“Can’t You Just Stay?” | il bel centro

Yes it seems these are the posts of expat returning to their homes lately, but that is because there are a lot of expat leaving Italy to go home.  They are leaving for many reason.  Read this blog post about a family moving back and why.

“And so I am frequently asked, can’t you just stay? The short answer is “no.” Actually, that’s the long answer, too. Staying isn’t financially possible. But even if it were, we wouldn’t stay.”

via “Can’t You Just Stay?” | il bel centro.

Kimberly Vanzi

June 27, 2013

Check it out you can now use the online form to find out what your tax filing status is in the US.  Just answer the questions and move on.  This even works for us living abroad and have non resident alien husbands.

What is My Filing Status?

Your filing status is used to determine your filing requirements, standard deduction, eligibility for certain credits, and your correct tax. If more than one filing status applies to you, this interview will choose the one that will result in the lowest amount of tax.

via What is My Filing Status?.

Kimberly Vanzi

June 10, 2013

TrashTIA Tariffa Igiene Ambientale – Tax on Waste

For those that do not know but your trash is taxed and you can find out all the information along with a tariffa online calculation system here on their website.

via Tax on Waste – Firenze, Calenzano, Campi Bisenzio, Fiesole, Figline valdarno, Greve in Chianti, Incisa Valdarno, Pelago, Pontassieve, Reggello, Rignano sull’Arno, Rufina, San Casciano in Val di Pesa, Scandicci, Sesto Fiorentino, Signa Area Fiorentina.

Kimberly Vanzi

May 17, 2013

By: Horace Reichart

This is the last US tax filing season for American expats to become current with the IRS before new laws come into play that will reveal your identity, location and foreign accounts to the US government. Now is the last best chance for Americans living abroad to become current with your US tax filing. To read more continue…..

via Year 2013 | Last Best Chance To File Your US Expat Taxes: | eHow Tos.

Recycling Firenze: Ecostation



Tel. 055 – 7339396

E-mail centri.raccolta@quadrifoglio.org

Contact for pick up or where to drop off

Municipal waste non-hazardous
• Paper and cardboard
• Wood wastes
• Ferrous materials
• Household appliances white
• Electronic equipment
• Plastic wastes
• Used tires
• Vegetable oils
• Used clothing
• mowing and pruning
• Aggregates (up to 500 kg per year)
• Glass
• Computers and printers

Hazardous urban waste

• Refrigerators, freezers
• Air conditioners, air conditioners
• Monitor and TV (CRT, plasma, LCD)
• Batteries and accumulators
• Batteries Car
• Expired Medications
• Mineral oils
• Containers with residues of dangerous substances
• Contents of pressurized containers (spray)
• Neon tubes