I just finished my first full week in Italy. As gradual I have tried to make my transition, life is never gradual when one packs up and moves to an entirely different part of the world. To say things are different than the States would be an understatement. Between the narrow, uneven sidewalks, the Formula One style roads and the drivers to match; even walking can be a bit of a challenge.
As a runner, I have already found some areas that work. For me that is a big positive. I think living abroad at least initially is about little successes. I felt like a success yesterday when I returned to the market and knew exactly how to pay for my food without being a stress job.
On the flip side, at the food court, I sat at a chair and stared at the freshly baked pizza for about 15-20 minutes before I could muster up the strength to order. Even in the USA I tend to stutter in unfamiliar environments so I knew pizza buying would be eventful. I spit out a few Italian words and managed to get a slice. The kind cashier asked if I wanted something to drink. I respectfully declined. For me that was a victory, even more so after I took those first few bites.
Laundry is a work in progress. I was spoiled in Florida with a working washer and dryer. Here my washer leaks, is really small for American standards, and everything I wash has to be air dried. Thankfully, I have several drying racks, but it is certainly more time consuming. Even with just me, I will end up doing laundry two or even three times a week. Other coworkers are doing it daily, so I should count my blessings that I only have one person’s clothes.
Translation errors continue to occur. I mistook a bottle of vinegar for white wine. Let’s just say after I took a swig, I regretted the next few moments. I thought body wash was body lotion. I continue to use the bidet to wash my feet.
The last highlight of the week – the beach is worth mentioning. The local beaches here are beautiful but very crowded. Clearly the Italians like to bake themselves daily during the summer. I saw in the store options for sunscreen at the 3, 6, and 10 levels. I believe some cooking oil options were also next to the sunscreen for the more ambitious types.
At the beach, people set up their towels and umbrellas and make it a day. When siesta comes, why not sleep on the beach? I know I saw many families out cold sleeping in the afternoon sun. If you are hungry, there are vendors coming by with different treats, just like at a baseball game. Bathrooms….they were roped off so I don’t know where all these people went for that natural process. As for clothing, I didn’t see any official signs but I think for some it was optional or they couldn’t afford to buy more than one piece. For a Puritan from Massachusetts this will take some getting used to.
I think it is time to drink some water before another mile walk to the rocky beach. I know life is rough.