Navigating Italy

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

The larger towns in Italy are composed of tiny side-by-side shops that line streets so narrow that anything bigger than a MINI Cooper will struggle to wind its way through. Outside of these larger towns lies the sudden, sprawling, countryside which intermingles with various industrial fortresses. As I rode the bus to Florence I would see a lone field full of crops, a small farmhouse, then nothing but trees and flowers, and out of nowhere a Prada factory.
So different from Texas, but charming in its own way.
Adjusting to college was surprisingly more difficult than adjusting living in Italy. However, there have been a few funny and slightly embarrassing experiences my new friends and I have had since arriving in this foreign land.

My first Italian gelato.
It was our first day in Rome. My friends and I had just sat down outside of a cute cafe for a quick lunch. The waiter brought us a menu, we ordered our food, received our meal, finished eating and waited for our check. We talked about our afternoon plans and waited for our check. We tried to find a wifi signal while we waited for our check.
An hour and a half later. No check.
Finally we asked a waiter and he quickly brought us the check. We paid him and were off and on our way.
Later that day we learned that Italians view tables at restaurants and cafes as property of the customers. It is rude to give customer the check after the meal. Because of this checks must always be requested.
While on the subjects of checks. Split checks do not exist here. The one time I asked for a split check I got a confused look accompanied by a menu so I could split the check myself.
My advice: Go to a fruit stand. Their fruits are better than supermarket fruits.

A few other things that are different in Italy...

One must always wear gloves while selecting fruits and veggies at the supermarket. I didn't know this
and got corrected by an Italian man who gave me a pair of gloves and explained to me in crystal clear English that I must always wear gloves when I touch fruit.

Everyone wears jeans, even when it is hot.

Girls my age, their mothers and their grandmothers wear similar fashions. Everyone here dresses very well. I'm not even sure t-shirts exist.

Nice dinners take 3 to 4 hours and there is usually a 20-30 minute gap between the courses.

There are no lines, just large crowds trying to pass through the same door.

 On television tennis commentators say "Mama mia!!" every five seconds.

Italians like American crime television series and police tv dramas.

Some restaurants give free red wine to students.

Everyone walks everywhere.


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