I will answer questions that you've asked me here, on Twitter, through email, on FB, Instagram..okay. I think you get the point. HA!
Disclaimer: I am not an expert on Italy. Or Europe. These are just my observations and opinions after living here for 10 months. Everything you see here is based on my experiences. I have no doubt that others have had different experiences...but I'm speaking from my frame of reference! :)
A few thoughts:
1. There are rude people everywhere. That's a fact, Jack. I ran into plenty of them in America and I've certain run into plenty here. But to categorize an entire group of people as rude is unfair and it causes preconceived notions.
2. Italian people are the stereotype that you see in movies. They are not overly, ridiculously friendly. They are cautious with their friendship and conversations. As Americans, we are by nature just friendly, put it all out there people. "Hey" or "Hi!" is a greeting for anyone. In Italy, there are different categories of greetings based on how well you know the person. Biongiorno/ Buona Sera is for strangers, Salve is in between (someone you kind of know), and Ciao is for friends.
People here don't want to be your bestie if they are never going to see you again. Why expend the effort? And I totally get that. And like it! I'm proud to say that after close to a year here I am getting way more "Ciaos" than "Buongiornos". A smile and a friendly conversation (IN ITALIAN) helps.
Case in point: I thought our neighbors HATED us. HATED. Turns out they just didn't know us. The moment I went over to say hello randomly one evening...we were invited for a homemade dinner and nonstop conversation. True story.
3. In relation to #2...I really think you get what you give. If you visit a country and treat the citizens with respect, then you will get a good response. A big smile, constant attempts to learn and use the language, and good manners...those things go so far. Many Americans (in all countries I've visited) don't even try to use French, German, or Italian. They expect the people they encounter to speak English (and sometimes seem angry if they don't). Not okay.
4. If I run into rude people (there were one or two in Paris) I just smile and don't take it personally.
America has a very go,go,go! mentality. 24 hour stores, etc. I don't miss the mentality but I do miss the efficiency that comes along with it. I loved being able to get a straight answer when I asked a question. I loved being able to get something fixed or straightened out immediately. That just doesn't happen here.
You don't get answers or returned calls, you wait in lines for hours only to be told to go to another line, only to have that line close as soon as you get there because it's riposo. Businesses and roads will arbitrarily be closed with no warning or reason.
The Internet goes out all the time. It's gone out 2 times while I've typed this. There's no reason and it can't be fixed.
It takes a long time to get things done. And that frustrates me. It frustrated me 10 months ago (to the point of tears)...and it still does. Just not as much. I've gotten much better at taking a deep breath and waiting it out.
Another difficult thing (obviously) is the language better. I've gotten much much better with this due to classes and the Duolingo app. But there is still SO much to be learned.
One of my most frustrating moments in Italy was trying to order a rib roast for Christmas. I was gesturing, using my translate rib, even pointing to my own ribs. I was desperate. But the butcher and I figured it out and it ended up being one of my most proud moments!
Okay. That's it for today. Hopefully this is something y'all find interesting and worth reading. I'd love to share monthly!
Buon Fine Settimana!