Just as I stepped foot on the plane to my flight to Germany (where I had a layover) I already began noticing differences between Europeans and Americans. I was lucky enough to sit next to a kind German woman heading home from the states. At the end of the flight when we had finally landed (8 and a half hours later), some people started clapping. The American girl next to me and I started talking about how this was very odd, and the woman explained that this was something Germans did as a way to thank the pilot. I know– clapping after a plane lands isn’t a huge deal, right? But its these really small differences that are most intriguing to me.
It has been several days since I landed in Italy and it has already flown by. The city is very beautiful and is similar to how I imagined Italy would be like. I live in the downtown area, so I am in the heart of the city (which has it’s pros and cons). It’s great to live right off the main piazza, and I am surrounded by so many shops, restaurants and cafes. Most younger people can speak a little English (enough to understand them), but its not quite as common with the older people.
I’ve come up with a list of some interesting Italian quirks:
- Restaurants will not serve dinner until beginning at about 8 pm. Don’t expect to rush through a meal either; you are meant to take your time and really enjoy your food.
- Italians are scary drivers. They will fit their little fiats through a crowd of people or a narrow street. Also if you have a green light to walk..they can still turn out in front of you- that was a shocker.
- Italians are also scary on bikes. You seriously have to pay attention.
- I had read somewhere that Italians tend to stare, and I found this to be very true. I think in America we think its rude to stare, but it seems acceptable here perhaps?
- Italian men catcall a lot more often than American men. Ciao! bella
- The food here is amazing. Come here for the food. Even at the grocery store a lot of the food is local or Italian.
- Espresso is going to be an acquired taste.
- I’ve had two Italian professors tell me that Italians are always late. Chaos is normal here. You do what you please.
- Things that are not free: bags at the grocery store, and water at a restaurant..
- That reminds me– acqua frizzante (carbonated water) is everywhere and I am not a fan (accidentally bought 6 large bottles of it of course).
- Smoking is still a common thing here. I was not expecting this one at all.
- Italians have hand gesture for everything. Today an Italian student taught me the gesture for “this food is really good”.
That’s all for now! Ciao!
Flying from Frankfurt to Bologna was very scenic!
The view from my apartment window.
Our kitchen, shared with my roommates.
My room (and my roommate).
First Italian sandwich with fresh everything. The food is AMAZING- even just a sandwich.
I had to try real Italian spaghetti- it was so different and the noodles had more oils and less sauce like in America. The wine was a local lambrusco.
Reggio Emilia is where the Italian national flag was first adopted, so the colors are displayed in this fountain at night.