Because sometimes, being an expat in Italy is hilarious.
1. Whenever you have to write the date down, you always stop to double check that you’ve written in the correct day-month-year format instead of the month-day-year method.
Now all of my European-born expats probably can’t relate, but us Americans got the rough end of the bargain when we moved back over to the motherland. Instead of using the metric system like 99% of the rest of the world, we decided we had to be “different” and made up our own way of doing things. Which basically means that any time I have to write the date down, time (military time here in Europe), or any monetary unit (they use commas instead of periods so ten would be €10,00 and €10.000 is ten thousand) I have to check at least 3 times to make sure that I’m not selling my first-born at midnight on the 20th of September.
2. Air-conditioning is the one luxury you wish you could afford.
I don’t care how many times Italians tell me that air-conditioning will give me pneumonia or malaria, if it’s 100 degrees outside (fahrenheit, obviously…cause in European celsius-land we’d all be dead) then I’m getting my ass to the nearest cafe with that cool, icy air on blast. Utilities here are crazy expensive, so having an air-conditioner in your house just isn’t very practical unless you are very lucky and also have a bit of disposable income. In which case, I’d like to be your friend during the months of July and August, please.
3. Any time you travel outside of Italy, you suddenly start speaking a weird modified version of English.
After speaking Italian all day long, there are those days where I just can’t seem to string together a coherent sentence in English. You’d think that given the chance to speak my native language, I’d jump back into it with no problem but sometimes non ho parole when trying to order a coffee at the gas station in Austria. It’s more of just a grunting and pointing to get what I want, which totally makes me empathize with tourists coming to Florence for the first time and hearing a hundred different languages spoken all at once. It also makes me sound like Arnold Schwarzenegger sometimes…before he learned how to speak English.
4. Any ethnic/non-Italian food becomes suddenly amazing when you get the chance to have it.
Now don’t get me wrong, I absolutely looooooooove Italian food. But being from Southern California and from a Mexican family, there’s just no subsitute for a heaping pile of fresh corn tortilla chips and bowl of salsa (and not that weird spice-less jar stuff they sell in the supermarkets here). Sometimes you need a break from the 3 P’s (pizza, pasta e panini) and a breakfast burrito the size of a small child is the only thing that will suffice.
5. Eating Italian food in any other country besides Italy just feels wrong.
While tons of Italians have emigrated in recent years and brought their infamous cooking skills, recipes and love-making techniques around the world, there’s just something off-putting about eating spaghetti carbonara in any place other than Rome. Sure, the chef at that restaurant in Amsterdam may be Italian, but it’s still not the same thing as eating in the home country. Whether it’s just the different quality of ingredients or the atmosphere of Italian food culture, there’s no place like bella Italia to enjoy a big ass plate of pasta and a glass of Chianti.
Even after a visit to Italy I feel that way! Eating “Italian food” in America just seems wrong unless it is prepared by Italians.
A breakfast burrito the size of a small child…preach! Oh man, usually about three months into a trip to Italy I start jonesing for some Mexican food. Albeit they have the better tomatoes to make salsa, it’s hard to get a good spice fix over there. Either way, I’m heading back to Italy on Sunday and can’t wait to get a 3 P fix!!!!!