Home > Community > Expat Blogs > Blog of the month: Susan in Rome
italy

You’ll love Susan’s blog! It’s not like the ordinary expat blog that tells about discoveries in the host country. Susan is a US-citizen who moved to Rome, Italy, in 1978!!! She is a doctor, and in her blog Stethoscope on Rome, she talks about all aspects of the Italian Health System. It is really interesting, refreshing and sometimes fun! Thank you Susan!

 

What took you abroad?

I fell in love with Italy back in 1970, when I was travelling around Europe on what would now be called a gap year. Afterward things Italian remained a big part of my life, culminating in my marrying an Italian man in New York in 1977 and then more or less dragging him back to Rome after I finished my medical training. My intention was to see what it was like to live and work here for a year, but it took more than that before I even had a medical license, another year before I was taking in enough to pay for my office rent… One thing led to another, and I’ve never left – even after moving on from Italian husband-number-one to American husband-number-two.

italyWhy a blog?

Since I started practicing in Italy I’ve been fascinated by the differences between my native country and my adoptive one in attitudes and practices related to health and medicine, and my friends have always made politely interested noises. Ages ago I started working on a book about my adventures with Italian medicine – still am working on it – and now that the internet makes it so easy to get one’s thoughts out to a wider public the idea of blogging came naturally. The posts are partly new material, and partly incorporate outtakes that I have edited out of chapter drafts.

Have you found any difficulties in setting it up and managing it? Are you assisted by someone or did you do everything on your own?

I’ve done absolutely everything on my own, except for the great little drawings contributed to some posts by illustrator and food writer Suzanne Dunaway. It has been kind of fun to set it up, though every step has entailed its own difficulties: choosing a platform, setting myself up on Blogger, buying a domain, creating the layout, creating the artwork, figuring out various glitches in getting my posts to look the way I want them. My biggest difficulty has always been every time I’m about to post, making the terrifying decision that what I’ve written is good enough to upload.

With what frequence do you publish on your blog?

So far it’s been about every two weeks, with a longer gap over Christmas.

Give us three reasons why your blog is important to you

1) The blog is getting my ideas out there. This is stuff I’ve been thinking about for many years, and it interests me passionately.
2) I love getting people’s feedback. The idea of stuffing my thoughts into a bottle and tossing them onto the sea of the internet was very scary at first, but the response has been amazingly positive, and the exchanges with readers by email, on Facebook, or in the blog’s comments section are gratifying in themselves.
3) The reactions to the blog in general, and to individual posts, are giving me a better sense of what my potential book audience will be interested in reading.

Have you met people through your blog?

Expatclic!!! I’ve also had interesting email exchanges with several readers, but so far none of those interactions have become intense or ongoing. The discussions about posts have also given another dimension to my relationships with various friends and acquaintances.

 

Susan Levenstein
Rome, Italy
February 2018
Stethoscope on Rome

 

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