Twenty-four years. I simply can’t believe I’ve been living in Venice for twenty-four years!
While tripping over the language (for the longest time I avoided using a spoon because it was too hard to pronounce cucchiaio…way too many vowels) I was prepared to pull everything I saw wrong with Italian bureaucracy into shape. Just give me six months I said, and I’ll have this place organized. How arrogant of me to think my way would be better! That’s not to say there isn’t a lot that could be done differently here, even the Italians will tell you that, but it took me a few years to realize there is a reason why countries, cultures and people see and do things differently, and that what works for one may not be right for another. And there are so many, many things I would never want to see change.
I have been asked countless times in the last twenty-four years by both Italian and American friends: Where do you like living the best, and what are the differences between your two countries? I honestly love them both. How lucky am I to have two fabulous countries to call home? I’ve made a short, playful list to give you an idea of the differences and similarities I’ve come across in the last two decades; differences that are now the norm for me. I’m sure there are many more, so feel free to add some of your own!
Coffee is not sold in paper cups
It is considered uncivil to set a lunch or dinner table without a table cloth
Most Italians take a long vacation in August
Beer with pizza and sandwiches; Wine with everything else; Milk is never served with meals
The majority of couples decide to only have one child
Grandparents take the place of daycare
Soccer is the number one sport and has an 11 month season
Public transportation is used by all
Consumers often seem to have fewer rights than the service providers
Old buildings are cherished and restored
You bag your own groceries and pay for the bags
Slow-food is a way of life
Everyone drives as if they’re in a Ferrari
People don’t really care what you do for a living
Baseball makes no sense to Italians
It is acceptable to leave work in the morning to pick up your family’s daily supply of fresh baked bread
In larger cities people walk more than they drive
Pets are welcome in most restaurants
Public schools are considered better than private
No one is without good healthcare
Meetings are scheduled to schedule meetings
Similarities between U.S.A. & Italy
Women love shoes and handbags made in Italy
Most women work outside the home
Everyone loves gelato and pizza!
Pets are like family members
Basketball fans love the Lakers (this would be more Italy/L.A.)