Today is a very special edition of 15 Confessions on the 15th because today my family has been living in Italy for TWO YEARS!!! That’s right…it’s our Italianversary!
I can’t believe it. It has been the best two years of my life and the most frustrating 2 years of my life. I truly wish we could live in Europe forever. This has been the greatest gift to our girls and I will be grateful forever.
In celebration of this special day, I thought I’d share fifteen lessons I’ve learned since moving to (Northern) Italy.
1. Sometimes you just have to slow down. Allora, aspetta, domani. Things aren’t getting to get done today. Or tomorrow. Or possibly even this month. And that’s okay. Just breathe, pour a glass of prosecco, and relax.
2. Everything tastes better here. This is not an exaggeration. Wine, cheese, truffles, meat, tomatoes, pasta, gelato…I am ruined on these things for life. They will never ever taste as good as they taste here.
3. You will get lost every.single.time. You will never get anywhere the first time you try. There are no such things as street signs, and thank God for GPS- but that doesn’t even work most of the time. Just go with the flow.
4. There is no such thing as ordered line waiting. It’s all just basically a clusterF*&#. There are no straight lines, just groups where everyone is breathing down your back and stepping on your toes. There is no personal space. You will wait for an hour and once you get to the front they will send you to another line where you will wait for another hour. When you get to the front of that line, they will be closed for riposo. You will come back later and start the whole process again, but the person at the front will act like they’ve never seen you before and then they will put up the “Chiuso” sign and go drink coffee.
5. It’s never too early to have a drink. Day drinking is a sacred art. But no one ever gets wild or drunk or sloppy. Bella figura is a real thing, y’all.
6. Italians love big families. But no one has them. Remember, this is NORTHERN Italy I’m talking about. Things are different in Sicily, for example. Most families here only have one child. And they don’t start having children until their late 30’s or early 40’s. My big family gets a LOT of attention. We get stopped everywhere and I also get lots of compliments for being such a young mom. Ha!
7. Driving is serious business here. Don’t ever try to pause for one second to turn left and don’t you dare hesitate at ALL when the light turns green…or you WILL get honked at. Aggressively.
8. Women dress to the nines here. All the time, no matter the hour of day or the occasion. You will NOT see yoga pants, workout clothes, or flip flops. And you WILL feel like a slob when you wear these things. After 2 years I’ve let it go. I cannot always look perfect! But the Italian women manage. You should see them rock the high heels on their bikes. Also? They are all TINY. No clothes or shoes fit me here.
9. It’s not considered rude to stare. Culturally, it’s very different than the US. It’s not considered rude to openly stare. At first I was very taken aback by it, now it doesn’t bother me. I just like to smile and wave.
10. Produce here is incredible. Affordable, fresh, and free of GMOs and all that added crap. But don’t you dare touch it without putting on gloves first!
11. You can get milk from vending machines and wine from the tap/ gas station type pumps at special stores. I still get very excited every time I see these things.
12. There are bicycles EVERYWHERE. This is not an exaggeration. It is common to drive down the street with bikes completely surrounding your car. And lets just say that many of the cyclists don’t abide by traffic rules. I have to be on high alert every single time I drive. I’ve gotten crazy good at dodging people.
13. ‘Latte’ is milk and ‘pepperoni’ means peppers. If you ask for a latte you are getting a milk and if you ask for pepperoni pizza you are getting pizza with papers. Ask for a diavola and a caffe con latte. Macchiato literally means “spotted”. If you ask for a macchiato here you will get an espresso with a dollop of cream (j’s fave). Not a sugary drink like at Starbucks. For me? ALWAYS cappuccino.
14. Don’t expect to find a hearty breakfast here. It’s coffee and a pastry every morning. And that’s about it.
15. It’s every bit as dreamy as it seems. Yes, it can be frustrating. Efficiency doesn’t exist and the language barrier can make you feel vulnerable. But every day here is a gift and I’ve loved every single second.
Thanks for helping me celebrate our two year Italianversary. And thank you for always joining me on this crazy ride!