In my first post about going to Italy, Italy or Bust, I stated that I have always wanted to spend some time experiencing the daily activities of someone living in Italy. I wanted to see the country from a non tourist perspective. I feel like I learned a lot while I was there, and I did see many differences, but now I have so many more questions.
First major difference- The language
Ok, I did know that it would be different, but I remembered from my trip 20 years ago, most people spoke English as well as Italian. As long as you learned some basic phrases you would be ok.
This is SO NOT THE CASE when you are NOT in the tourist areas. I found the phrases I used the most were Parla Inglese? (Do you speak English? ) and Me dispiace. (I’m sorry) I probably also should how learned how to say I broke my foot and had surgery or something like that, because everyone tried to ask me about it. (yay for a picture being worth a thousand words) After the 100th time I was asked, I just showed the picture.
I didn’t feel the need to say that I also broke the screw…..shhhhh
Second difference- The power or electrical connections
In America, to the best of my knowledge our outlets look like this everywhere
you have two different types of connections that you can plug into the same outlet that look like this :
But in Europe the outlets or plugs are round, like this:
Talk about a square peg and a round hole. (Yay I remembered this from last time and brought this adapter.)
The metric system-
I grabbed a package of this rice something or other to have for one of the days I was alone. Looking quickly at the pictures told me to boil some water, add the package contents, and cook for 15 minutes… I think….. um…
How much is 600ml of water?!?!?!?!
This would not have been such a problem if I had wifi or turned on my International data plan, but I didn’t …..smh another long story.
On the subject of food, I am pretty sure you will not find these two in a baby food aisle in America, well at least not a big chain store.
Nor will you find “real” pizza in Italy.
Ok, ok you can find pizza in Italy, just not what most American’s consider Pizza.
I have never ordered pizza while in another European country. Does it more resemble Italian pizza or American Pizza?
Let’s talk COFFEE-
I knew that coffee could be made on the stove, but I have never actually seen anyone do it. Is this the norm all over Europe? I feel that most people in the states own a coffee maker or espresso maker that looks more like these…
Other Differences in the Kitchen
It took me a very long time to do dishes the first night, not because they don’t have a dishwasher (I actually prefer to wash them by hand), but because of the limited amount of space that I had to stack and dry them. When I told Daniela this the next morning, she gave me a weird look and said, “well why didn’t you use the strainer?” How would putting a strainer on top of a strainer area help?!?!? Then she opened the cabinet to reveal the strainer she was talking about…..
Pretty creative use of space if you ask me
There is no bottom to the cabinet, so any water drains back into the sink. I started to think about the homes I have lived in. This would not be possible in any of them, because every single one of them has a window over the kitchen sink. Is that an American thing? Have you ever seen a system like this?
The size of the glasses amazes me too. In America, I feel like everything is supersized. The glasses that come in most dinnerware sets hold at least 16 oz. We carry thermos’s or huge water bottles. Every home that I was in had glasses no bigger than the palm of my hand out for dinner.
Pepper, Salt, Sugar and Coffee?
This is the standard pre-labeled set that you will find on most counters. I don’t think I go through that much salt and pepper in a year. For me the coffee one would have to be double the size, unless I used it for espresso and had a separate one for coffee. I don’t need a sugar one, but I think most Americans do. Not right or wrong, just different I think.
Toilet and Bidet
I have some very interesting bathroom stories from my previous visits to Europe, from having to literally squat over a hole in the ground or a pipe coming out of the ground with no seat to what I believe you find in most homes…the toilet bidet combo.
This time I had to ask why….. “Why are Europeans so obsessed with using bidet’s?”
The response, ” well you do realize that most European’s do not shower everyday correct? Well this allows us to keep our dirtiest parts clean without needing to waste the water to shower”
Huh…well that’s pretty simple….Duh Grace. Not only does that reasoning make sense to me, but maybe WE’RE doing it wrong?
The same way I personally feel that we are doing this wrong.
In most rural communities in America at least once a week, you see these cans sitting on the curb, well at least the big one. GARBAGE. The recycle cans are usually half the size unless you pay more for the duty to save your planet…smh
While at Daniela’s I had 6 different bags to choose from …paper, cardboard, hard plastic, soft plastic, glass and I don’t remember the rest, but I can tell you the actual garbage can was the smallest.
Marble, Stone, and Concrete
They certainly don’t build things the way they used to. (At least in America)
With all the “cookie-cutter” type houses going up, heck now the itty bitty houses whatever they are called…you have to appreciate something that was built to last. I don’t think even the million dollar homes in the states have marble stair cases, certainly not in a three story house.
In America, 95% of our cars are automatic (not stick). In Italy 95% are stick, not automatic. I also noticed that there were no “pick up trucks” anywhere. Because I live in a rural area, they are more common than cars. I believe most people know at least one person that owns one. I didn’t see one. I did see one Chevy and one Ford but I didn’t pay attention to model. Most cars were toyota, volkswagon, or fiat that I could tell. And the parking?
Not at all an uncommon sight.
And for the rainy or colder days, there is always inside!!!!!
Can someone please tell me one place in America that you don’t need screens on your windows? I couldn’t imagine not having screens in Illinois. The entire time I was there, the only unwelcome guest I had was ONE FLY and because he had eaten so much pasta he was very easy to kill…..sorry bad joke….. I wish I had thought to take a better picture
Do you know that smoking kills?
Same Brand…which one does a better job of telling you? Sorry on the SIDE of my American pack it does have a surgeon generals warning: Cigarette smoke contains carbon monoxide.
The entire time I was there, I had a love/hate relationship with the bells on this church. I did not mind the 12 bell tolls at noon and midnight, I thought it was “cute” that on the 1/2 hour there were two softer chimes. What I didn’t like was one being so damn close to them, and two the 4 hour ringing of them on Sunday for a first communion.
I forget that little children have big ears. Daniela’s son overheard me telling her about about the masses that had turned out, and the horrible sounds of the bells for HOURS. He asked Daniela, “Why doesn’t Grace go to church momma?” Her response was, “Remember, Grace is an American, and the best part about that is that she has the right to make her own choices”.
Did I mention I really learned alot on this trip?
From city to city, or rural areas to city living, or crossing state lines in America you will find many differences in the way things are done if you pay attention. The things I mention in this post are things I have not seen anywhere in America….. yet…..
Have you traveled to another country? What were your struggles? Did you learn anything that you could be doing better?