It took a little over two years for me to officially settle into my adopted city. Believe it or not for the first two years or so, I just worked so much and didn’t really immerse myself in the culture, the Italian life or the people. Big mistake!!!! Rewind four years ago, I slaved away at my at home job inside my tiny one bedroom apartment and would occasionally go for walks for with Harley, my mini poodle in the evenings.
then after the birth of my son, everything changed and as cliche as this sounds, changed for the better. I went out for more often, walking, met a lot of new mothers such as myself at the hospital and after we had play dates, I was forced to go outside the comfort of my tiny apartment and talk and then of course there was Luca James who was a pretty good subject matter, he got the conversations started among all the old ladies on my block.
After six years, I am still not tired of Polenta or Prosecco. I’ve learned a lot about the culture here in Treviso. As, I’ve learned even though Italy is a culture in its own, each region, each city has it’s own cultural aspect of difference that varies from region to region, city to city.
There are so many differences between Americans and Italians. Just, last night I caught myself shrugging my shoulders when I was trying to prove a point to my husband, and him finally agreeing with me. I said ” E cio” (shrugging my shoulders) which means “Oh, yes” Shrugging your shoulders or using your hands to talk are all things Italian. Italian’s are known for using their body to do the talking. And strangely enough, I feel more Italian than American. I now have the constant struggle of thinking and speaking in Italian with my family and friends back home in California.
One of the differences in Italy is the Laundry system.
Laundry takes a very long time. There is no such thing as procrastinating, taking your time and putting your laundry in the dryer or putting it in the dryer to get the wrinkles out? Nope, not here. You have to plan accordingly. Which means for me, I have to schedule a whole day to be home just to do my laundry. The washing machine takes anywhere from 1 to 2 hours. Everything must be hung dry.
It is not so much of a problem in the summer, as the temperatures are so warm, clothes are dried in hours. I can do 3 or 4 loads of washed and dried clothes in one day, in the summer. It is however, quite different in the crisp, Fall mornings, and it only gets worse in the winter. Maybe, you are wondering what I do when it rains? You can find my freshly washed clothes on the thermals ( heaters) in my home. Thankfully I have bought a portable clothes stand in Italian known as stenti biancheria. Which I can leave inside when it rains or snows. Clothes only take about 2 or 3 days to dry completely when in my home. ONLY!!! But with this difference, I’d like to say, I am more patient and more organized( however, my husband would tell you otherwise).
Here, in Italy, if you want to use a shopping cart, you need to pay 50 cents, or one euro. Don’t worry you will get it back when you return the cart to the stall. Maybe, there wouldn’t be so many shopping carts gone missing. Plus, the carts are neatly placed back in the cart storage. The other one, why, California and other parts of American haven’t caught on yet? I don’t know, maybe because you can’t trust people or it just doesn’t work the faith system in the US.
Here is a picture of the shopping Carts in Italy. Do you see the little black box, thats where you put your 50 cent or euro coin and then you get your shopping cart. Bring back your shopping cart to the same area and get your money back.
In the produce department first, you always use a plastic glove that the supermercato supplies free for you. Makes sense, don’t want to buy fruit or veggies that everyone has touched. Next, you weigh the fruits and veggies yourself, on a scale that has numbers 1 to 100. You pick the number that corresponds with the fruit or veggie that you picked up and put the price tag on yourself. Creates less lines in the supermercato, and when at check out everything runs smoothly.
Here is a picture of the produce scale. There are many different kinds of scales. This one, has the photos of the produce with the number for you. Makes it easier for you. Just put your bag of produce on the scale, select the number and a barcode prints out and you are finished. Plus, I really like this method as you can see how much you are spending.
One thing is for certain the Italian people are extremely passionate and uncomplicated people. It is a true joy to be surrounded by a culture that loves to love. I am learning to love again. Italians certainly aren’t shy or hide the love they have for one another. Hello Public displays of affection 🙂 I have many personal experiences with my friends and my husband. I was told I am too shy. In America, it would be a different story, but I am in Italy so time to let it go. Ha!
For once in my life, I feel as though I am right where I need to be, where I belong. And it feels so good.