Things About People… Italians and Americans

Since I didn’t really do anything particularly interesting today, I thought I would just recount my day and write about something else. I woke up this morning, strangely still at 7:30 am, went back to bed at woke up again at 10 am (a little bit more normal since I didn’t have class today). I went to the post office to send Googly to Fargo, North Dakota to another friend, and it took a lot longer than it should. First of all, I wanted to buy a box to put Googly in, but I couldn’t find one. Then I spotted a stand in the lobby of the post office, so I went to ask the lady there for a box (in Italian… well, she understood what I was saying anyway) and actually got one (they made nice boxes at Poste Italiane). So I put Googly into the box, sealed it, wrote the address, and went to take a number. When I was waiting, I saw this American girl (you can tell, as she didn’t speak Italian and was dressed different from other people) with a large package being told to go fill  up another form before going back. Being on the same boat, I followed her to this desk, at which there was this lady instructing an American couple (I could tell because they were sending stuff to Kansas) filling up multiple forms. She told the same thing to the girl, and instead of giving me the same form, she just gave me a little sticker to fill up. I guess sending small packages didn’t really require that much work. She did correct me on writing the value of the things being shipped. In Europe, when you write the amount of money, commas function as decimal points, and decimal points are commas. So I wrote down €2.30, which obviously meant €2300 to her. She changed it to €2,30 and gave me a look. I was happy to go to the counter and finally paid the postage after spending one hour in that office.

Afterwards, I went to Sant’ Ambrogio Market, which also took longer than it should, as I left my map in the apartment. One other thing you shouldn’t do when you are in a foreign city. But I did manged to get there and got plenty of food for about €11. My mom would be proud, as I looked exactly like her carrying all those grocery bag and walked home. The afternoon was spent doing nothing, and I cooked dinner: spaghetti with zucchini in garlic-infused olive oil, and chicken drumstick. I was pretty proud of myself for making all that and not spending a lot of money on it. I was also full :).

Now onto something else: people. Here’s a tip when you go travel: speak, or at least try to, the local language, and people are a lot more friendly. There are exceptions, but whenever I tried to say something in Italian, the locals usually will have this smile on their faces and try to give me whatever I asked for. If people use English, on the other hand, Italians tend to get impatient and annoyed after 30 seconds of unsuccessful conversation (mostly consist of the American saying something, the Italian doesn’t understand and says something in Italian, the American doesn’t understand, and nothing gets done).

So far, I don’t really know the people on the program that well, which might have been a factor in my little emo moment last Saturday. Things are always more fun when you are with people you know. Well, I am one of the two people in the program that’s not in the college all the other people are in. The other person that’s not in the college has taken class with other people on the program, and the people in the college all know each other, since they are mostly in the same major. The little groups were formed before the program, and I pretty much just budged in. You would think that they wouldn’t have problem being abroad since they are with people they know. Well, I saw two people crying today because they were homesick, and I was feeling great today, so I walked to the kitchen to get myself a piece of biscotti and stayed there as long as I could to avoid the awkwardness (a lot of people come to my apartment because it’s the one with Wi-Fi). I think it really has something to do with food, as people here don’t really eat that much meat, which isn’t something many people are used to. And when you are homesick, not eating food similar at home is not going to help (which is probably why I am in a good mood today. I cooked the chicken somewhat similar to the my mom’s instruction over the Internet). Back on regular schedule tomorrow with class at 9 am…

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2 Comments

Filed under Firenze

2 responses to “Things About People… Italians and Americans

  1. Tom

    I love reading these. I’ve also found that speaking to others in their native language makes them much more amiable, although I’ve had a lot less experience… and definitely not with Italian :]. I can’t tell you how hungry all your pictures of food make me… I think this blog may be hazardous to my health! I hope you’re having a spectacular time on your trip.

    • Well, Tom, I am glad you like the pictures of the food, because that’s probably what you’re going to be eating next year when I am cooking :) I hope you are having a wonderful summer!

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