Meet, Georgette Jupe of Girl in Florence. Expat Star Award winner Georgette is an American who is living and working in Florence, Italy. This self confessed ‘curious American girl’ was born and raised in Texas, lived in LA and ended up in Italy since 2007. It gave us great pleasure to catch up with Georgette following her Expat Award triumph. We wanted to know more about her passion for food, travel and what life in Florence is really like.
How does it feel to be a winner in the expat star awards?
Honestly it’s something that I really didn’t expect, there are so many great blogs based in Italy so to be recognized among them is quite a honor. I personally am inspired by a number of blogs based in Italy and have become good friends with some of the owners. The blogging community is a great one and I am thrilled to be part of it!
What is Girl in Florence?
Girl in Florence was really just born out of wanting to provide up-to-date information about the city from the perspective of a normal girl, living, working and struggling in Firenze. When I first came here I found a lot of the current information to be outdated online so I felt a gap in the market. The blog itself is all about life in Florence, food I love, travel in Italy and beyond and just general dali-life musings.
What was the inspiration for launching your blog & what are you trying to achieve?
I wanted to provide a snapshot of life that wasn’t solely fantasy of what life in Italy might be like based on what we see in the movies but a point of view including daily struggles along with special finds – it has sort of become a lifestyle, travel, food and advice blog for those looking to live in the city. I really enjoy sharing what I appreciate about life here and hope others find what I have to write somewhat interesting – includinga few satire posts about puffy jackets and public transportation.
Biggest blogging challenge?
Probably finding the balance of how much to share and how much to keep private. My whole career is internet based so I have to be careful about what I decide to share and what not to. I like reading more personal perspectives and those are the posts that generally get the most traffic so I try to remember that when writing so I don’t end up sounding like an internet bot!
If you could only give one piece of advice for a new expat, what would it be?
Come with an open mind and give it time. I think Italy is great for some people, and not for others. I always encourage people to enroll in an Italian language course to get familiar with the language in order to better assimilate and to create daily routines to feel more comfortable here. Something as simple as picking one local coffee bar and chatting about the weather goes a long way in creating familiarity and trust among a new culture. Also come financially prepared as getting a job here is not easy.
If you could only give one piece of advice for someone repatriating back home, what would it be?
To remember the positive along with negative. Nothing is the ‘end of the world’ and I always say to those who ask if I will remain in Italy forever – Who can really answer that? You have to be comfortable with yourself first before you can fully embrace living in a new country or re-starting your life in your old one. Life is about taking chances.
What can we expect to see over the next 12 months?
Consistent (I hope) posts about what’s going on in Florence and a lot of changes in my own life. 2013 is a pretty big year for me and I am embracing new opportunities in my personal life and working in a sector that I really enjoy. I really can honestly say I have no idea what this year will bring and I am pretty ok with that.
What are you most proud of since launching your blog?
How many people actually read it! When I first started writing, I think the only people reading my blog was my dad, myself and maybe a good friend back home or two. When I see how many people follow the blog daily and comment, it makes me feel really happy and motivated to keep writing and sharing experiences. Thanks to them, Girl in Florence is still alive and kicking!
Biggest challenge growing your blog?
Originally it was a challenge to get anyone to read it mainly because I didn’t know how blogs marketed themselves. I happen to work in social media marketing and it really wasn’t difficult to just incorporate all of my social networks with the blog and create a unique voice that remained consistent over time.
How do you transfer money abroad? Bank or Broker?
When I need to transfer money, I almost always use a bank and/or paypal, though I try not to since fees are very high. Usually this only crops up when I have to pay my taxes in America and must transfer funds from Italy to the USA.
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