If we are counting days, I have been in Italy now for a little over 25. In this short time frame I feel like I have gotten used to the area enough to function and feel comfortable. Now granted let’s not be confused here…I hardly understand anything anyone says. Even with 6 months of daily Italian on Rocket Italian, I seem to go into a panic when anyone talks to me in the language.
I should mention that I am comfortable buying food at either the market or the grocery store. Last week I started going to a meat market and sandwich shop. While I fail every time to ask for things correctly, I have learned to point and smile. More importantly, I can regularly purchase fresh bread and other Italian treats.
Using cash and loose change has been my mainstay. The irony is I probably could have been doing that back in the States but always just swiped my debit card. Here, I appreciate giving exact change and using the mighty Euro. As I’m paying in cash I find I am not spending as much money because I am conscious of how much I am carrying.
One thing that amazes me is the price of fruits and vegetables. I’m not saying USA prices were high, but I feel like I’m getting more for my dollar…Euro in this location. I think as long as you buy local products the prices are more than reasonable.
Unlike my coworkers I have yet to go out to eat to a restaurant. I have walked into a few places, on my first days here but felt intimidated to order let alone sit down. As time has passed, I have found that I prefer to eat and cook my own food. If I ever have guests, we’ll go to eat at least once, but similar to my time living in New Hampshire, Florida, and Virginia, there is no crazy urge to eat out. The fact the places don’t open till 7pm might be a better reason. As for lunch, they serve only until 1pm and then close for the afternoon siesta.
You might be thinking, but what about the cafés? What about them? I never took to coffee shops. From my observations and conversations with my coworkers I know there is a surcharge if you sit down to have a drink at a table. If you elect to wait in line, especially at their main shopping center, the place is packed with long lines for micro cups of coffee. Frankly that’s not my cup of java, tea, whatever. J
I did purchase a cross country bike, a hybrid of mountain and road bikes, to get around last week. After being stuck at work for the second or third night long past closing time, I wanted more mobility. I didn’t mind the 5.5 mile walk, but after a long day of work the walk wasn’t on my list. Buying the bike on Tuesday, I quickly found myself in a happy place. You have to be careful not only from the local drivers, but also because the storm drains on the sides of the road where one bikes. There are no merge areas and yields are barely followed. This area is obsessed with circles and people seem to be in a rush to get past them.
Thankfully, I have this hybrid bike so I can still straddle the curb and feel secure. The only issue so far has been on the narrow streets of my town where people seem to be in a daze at times. On my first ride home I was biking to the side on a one way street when this parked car flung open their driver side door. I swerved fast enough to avoid a crash, but was rattled a bit after the fact.
In the early morning hours, riding is nice in this area. The Adriatic Sea while not my Atlantic Ocean is a beautiful piece of water. We have our beaches but also a rocky coast line, which is something I prefer. I have done my best to overlook the trash to focus on the beauty of this sun scorched area.
At night I laugh at the little kid who religiously screams on the other side of the wall. I still can’t figure out what he is doing but he is a screamer from 8-830pm.
Finally, after getting my washing machine fixed for the third time this past week, I can wash my clothes and not have to wash the kitchen floor at the same time. The technicians appear to have gotten it right this time around and for that I am grateful. There is no annoyance about the several weeks figuring out the problem as that is the way this area works.
For me this is an important distinction living in Southern Italy. Time is different here. Sure most of the area was on vacation until August 15th, but even so if you are expecting firm dates and times to accomplish tasks or get things done that’s not always a possibility. I find I am not stressing about such things. For me it is better to be present and just go with the flow.
25 days in, life does feel a little slower and that for me is a welcomed change.