The first time I lived abroad, I found it challenging, but I realize now that it was an important first experience. I lived in Australia, where they speak English (well, Aussie English...ha). I could order food and understand ingredients, but yet there were still many challenges! Almost everything packaged was labeled with "May Contain..." something that I was allergic to. The only crackers that I could find to eat were Carr's crackers imported from England. Even some wines said that they "May contain traces of nuts." It was impossible to find ice cream that I could eat, or really any chocolate for that matter. Eating wise, it was tough! Living wise, it was amazing and totally worth all the food challenges I faced.
During that time in Australia, I lived with four other girls. There were five of us in a small two bedroom apartment, with a "study," also known as an enclosed porch with big venetian blinds. I lived there. I wanted to make sure that I had my own space. I didn't want to have to worry about my allergies in my bedroom. I already had to be careful in our common space.
The girls were pretty good about my allergies. I had my own sponge and dishes that I used. We had a dishwasher luckily, which definitely helped. I had to be careful, but I felt comfortable there. It was also my first experience living in an apartment and having roommates outside of a dorm setting.
I learned a lot while living there. I learned my different levels of comfort, how to live somewhere unknown, and how to find food, even when challenged! Without this first living abroad experience, I don't think I would have felt as comfortable diving into my second living abroad experience in Italy!
Living abroad here is even more difficult! I don't speak the language. Every ingredient is in Italian. I can't eat gelatto or any chocolate (you know...the really important things in life). In this part of Italy no one speaks English. It isn't touristy at all. It is a big adjustment! I am good at adapting to new places though, and even with these new challenges, I have found enjoyment in this new adventure!