Time has been flying by here in Reggio Emilia. I still feel as if I just stepped off the plane, but I have been here for over three weeks already! I feel as if time moves faster here, but its probably because I stay busy. The first week here I was extremely jet lagged and just felt tired at odd hours. I am finally feeling like I’m adjusting to the time zone and that this is my new home for the next few months. I bought my own coffee cup and pillow..what else do I need?
When I was trying to think of subjects I wanted to write about, I was really struggling because there are SO MANY little things about Italy and Italians that I find fascinating. I’ve started to become use to how they act, how they speak, how they dress, how they eat, but it doesn’t mean I always remember that the shops close for 3-4 hours every afternoon for the siesta, for example.
Let me begin with one thing that continues to fascinate me every day: their food. I’m sure I don’t need to mention that it’s quite delicious (that’s probably implied of Italian cuisine). The part that’s so different from America is the way that they eat. Eating isn’t something that you do in a hurry. There is no fast food (at least not here), and speed is not a factor when choosing a meal. The servers do not bring you a check and constantly ask you “Is everything alright?”. They do not stare at you if you take your time. Eating is more of an event. At about 9 pm is the time that Italians begin to come out for dinner. My favorite part of this is the fact that most have an outdoor eating area and it looks rather pretty at night. Not to mention the fact that they don’t use as much preservatives here: eggs and milk are not refrigerated. They don’t go to the grocery store and stock up for the week like Americans..they buy what they need soon because it goes bad rather quickly (which is very sad when you’re only cooking for one).
The hours for businesses are also very different. This also gets a little annoying for an American that is used to 24 hour this and that. Things never seem to close in America. It’s a refreshing change, but sometimes you want to go to the store at 2 pm, or Sunday afternoon, and you can’t. Everyone disappears from the city at siesta time at 1 pm and suddenly they all pour onto the streets around 4 pm…it’s very odd to me still. I imagine that it’s great for them though, they get a break from working and can go home and truly enjoy their food. As I mentioned before, Italians love their food…except breakfast! Just a cappuccino and maybe a croissant is all they need. I’ll take my pancakes, bacon, and a mug of coffee- sorry, Italians.