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Monday, 03 May 2010

Living in Rome, Florence and Paris on a Fixed Income - Page 5

Written by Russ Firlik
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We were fortunate, especially with the current economic and housing crisis, to have sold our small apartment in New Hampshire for a bit of a profit. Since we had recently retired after over thirty years as educators, we now had the time, the incentive and the self-determination to follow our long-loved passion of slow traveling. In other words: we are senior citizens who will spend our junior year abroad. For the first time in our 45 years of marriage we were homeless, jobless, and after giving our 2003 Honda Hybrid to our daughter, also carless. What were we to do? Follow our passion!

The French (and Italians) are very modern people who learn English at school, see American films, love American music, and have American and British TV programs on their home televisions. Moreover, they accommodate very nicely all those tourists, especially Americans, British and Australians. Accordingly, we were always polite to and respectful of our host nationals by attempting to speak a few Italian and French words such as: please, thank you, good day, good-bye, how are you, we would like, this/that, how do you say in Italian/French, etc., but conversely, the Italians and French for the most part, answered our inquires and amateur requests in English. The Italians and French are very contemporary thinking and caring people who know how to make foreigners feel extremely comfortable and welcomed.

Living in Rome, Florence and Paris on a Fixed Income, Europe on a Fixed Income, year abroad Rome, Florence, and Paris, seniors on a junior year abroad, Russ FirlikThe daily costs for everything for the four months in Paris including: rent, airport transfers, very inexpensive Air France flights, living expenses, museum and public transportation fees, books, pharmacy items, long-stay visa fee, and maps was $174.00 per day for both of us for the four months, and still just within our monthly income budget.

In conclusion, we can justly and unequivocally state that in all three cities: Rome, Florence/Tuscany and Paris, we took advantage of every free exhibit, free open galleries, free museums of the City of Paris, free music available at churches and halls, free visits to museums and monuments on first Sundays of each month, as well as, reduced rates, when applicable, for seniors. And the most important savings were out our front door- the walks around the museum-like city streets of Rome, Florence/Tuscany and Paris. We are both personally, educationally, historically and culturally much more informed in mind and heart than before we had experienced our year abroad.

Our junior year abroad affirmed the fact that if you are willing to do the extensive research, define a budget and stay within it, develop or follow a passion, be, and stay healthy, and forego too many self-indulgences, you will enjoy the cultural, educational, historical and personal experiences that will be far more appreciated at a mature age. Most importantly, as 18th century philosopher, J.W. von Goethe stated, “ What you See in Rome is what you Bring to Rome.” We do not think that we would have had the cognitive maturity or psycho-social development of mind and heart in our youth to understand what Goethe meant, but we do now.

One last bit of advice from a seasoned traveler in his day, E. Hemingway:

“Never travel with anyone you do not love.”

Emily, Amore ti amo.

Forward on, Seniors, have a Slow-Go-

Follow that Passion and those Dreams!

©Russ Firlik

He can be reached at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

(Page 5 of 5)
Last modified on Sunday, 16 December 2012

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