You can see the Anton's moving experience tonight, Dec. 14, at
10:30 p.m. on HGTV.
For move information, visit
For those of us who are completely addicted to HGTV shows,
House Hunters International is a way to escape the Windy City
and dream of travels abroad.
But for one Chicago family, the show became a reality. Jennifer
Anton, Clinton Bartman and their daughter Vivien moved
to Milan to return to Jennifer's Italian roots.
We spoke with Jennifer about the move,
their appearance on the show and what they miss the most about
You can see the Anton family's episode tonight on HGTV at 10:30
Chicago Parent: How did you get set up with House
Hunters International to be featured on the show?
Jennifer Anton: After seeing the Chicago Parent article I wrote
about international travel and children and reading my ChicagoNow
blog announcing our move to Milan, the team in London called and
said "It would be brilliant to film your move to Milan." They were
very sweet and professional and excited about where we were coming
from (the beautiful city of Chicago) and the city we were heading
to (the fashionable city of Milan).
CP: Were you a fan of the show before?
J: Yes, we always loved the show and watched it before bed in
Chicago often. We certainly lived vicariously through the people on
the show as they moved around the world. And with having the same
wanderlust as many of those people, it was just completely
addictive. We definitely never imagined seeing ourselves on the
Q: How is the family adjusting to life in Milan? Is it
what you expected?
J: It's been an amazing experience in these 5 months and we have
all adjusted surprisingly easily to live in Milan. In many ways,
it's like Chicago - It's a city with warm people, interesting
architecture, amazing museums, theater and lots of neighborhoods
which each have there own personality.
Living here has been better than we expected. We walked into a
bit of the unknown as we left Chicago which we loved so much and it
has exceeded all our expectations. One thing I didn't expect that
has really helped is how much Italians love Americans and vice
versa. There is a mutual appreciation and respect for our
differences. Italians view and admire Americans as being hard
working, focused, and visionaries who achieve their dreams and
Americans love and as Americans we have learned to really admire
the love of life, living in the moment and taking time for
important things like family, personal style and food. These
things are at the top of all Italians priorities Especially in
Q: How is Vivien adjusting? Does she
J: Vivien has adjusted smoothly. She attended the Lycee Francais
International school in Chicago and it was an easy transition to
make friends and continue the curriculum at the Lycee Francais
here. Since she is already fluent in French, learning Italian has
come much easier for her. She has Italian lessons 3 days a week. I
have to admit, I'm jealous of how easy it is for kids to pick up
languages. I've been studying for 1 year 1/2 and I still find it
difficult to understand everything.
Q: How is parenting in Milan different than parenting in
America? Has your routine changed?
J: Parenting in Milan is no different than parenting in America.
The differences are more about parenting what is now a 3rd culture
kid. Since Vivien is American and growing up in another country,
she is surrounded by a different culture which is becoming her new
As far as culture, we are learning to continue our American
traditions but add in new ones from Italy. Vivien lost her 2nd
tooth in Milan and instead of the tooth fairy coming, Piccolo Nino,
the little mouse came. It was fun for her learn new traditions and
it also makes her realize that different cultures have unique and
great ways of doing things.
We want to make sure that she stays connected to her family,
friends and culture back home to. Thanks to Facebook and Skype, we
have been able to keep relationships and facetime with friends and
Q: What is a challenge you've faced since
J: The biggest challenges have been learning the language. It's
all around, but if Italians hear an American accent, they take
their chance to practice their English and also try to accomodate
us. It's nice, but it makes it harder for us to learn and breaks up
the full immersion. We are on Google Translate all the time!
Q: What has been a pleasant surprise since the
J: How close everything in Europe is! We have popped around by
train to Cannes, France, Genoa, Verona, Lake Como and Tuscany and
we leave in the morning and get there by lunch. It's surreal
and wonderful! With the lowcost flight options in Europe, we also
look forward to popping around Europe for very little.
Q: What do you miss about Chicago?
Chicago will always be the greatest city in the world to us and
it will always be home. We miss the Joffrey Ballet, our friends and
family, the lake and the Chicago skyline. At the same time, we are
so involved at immersing ourselves here, we don't really think
about Chicago or long for it quite yet. However, we are going to be
home for Christmas and we plan to have a night out and soak it in
before we head back to Europe.
Alaina is the digital content editor at Chicago Parent. She lives in Chicago.
See more of Alaina's stories here.
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