Some things to think about

5 Sep

Italy is not only gorgeous, but the people are both genuine and kind. With that being said, moving here instead of simply being on vacation proves a bit more challenging. None of the challenges are by any means deal breakers, but they are worth mentioning. First, the lack of transportation. Italy, as most of Europe, has a very reliable and user-friendly public transportation system, but being that we are living with a family in the country and about 7k outside of the nearest town of Todi we are kind of stuck here at the farm. We only work 8am-2pm and have our entire afternoon free (steller!) and would like to putz around the nearby towns and familiarize ourselves with the area. Now in a more flat area this might not be an ordeal, but in Umbria it turns into an Olympic cycling event! The hills and mountains provided our leg muscles with a real challenge and we only made it half-way to Todi! Jeeze, and I thought we were in shape! The good news to this challenge is that 1) We were introduced to our new friend Diego! He is a guy about our age who lives just across the river. He’s very nice, funny, friendly (and might I mention stylish) and he’s offered to show us around a bit! Yea yea! 2) Claudia, our host mom is going to lower the age on her insurance to 24 on their “farm” car so we can drive it to town and the train and/or bus station.

The second issue we’ve been dealing with is the Italian time frame. This is the American coming out in us, but when someone says we are going to leave a 2pm, but don’t show up until 2:35pm, it’s a bit annoying. In Italian there is a saying, ‘la dolce far niente’ which translates to the ‘sweetness of doing nothing’ and boy do they live by that! It’s beautiful in a way to watch them sit for hours, just talking and laughing- even running to the hardware store turns into a mini-party. It will just be something that takes some getting used to. Slowing down and realizing there is more to life than keeping a schedule is an invaluable life lesson we will forever have Italy to thank for.

Third might seem weird coming from someone in their early 20s, but holy cow do these people stay up late! Now, I’ll admit that I am one for getting my sleep (I like my 8 hours) but in that States this is pretty commonplace. Not in Italy. I don’t know how they do it! Because we have a late lunch, usually around 2pm, dinner isn’t served until around 8pm. This would be fine if you ate and then went to bed… but no! They want to go out and walk around or go for ‘un cafe’, a shot of express that takes them 2 seconds to drink, but 2 hours to experience. The other night Diego was kind enough to show us his favorite bar in Marsciano, a nearby town. First let me clarify that “bars” here are so much more than what you would think of a bar in America. Bars open early in the morning and begin serving espressos, as the day wears on most also serve pizza and gelato. By nightfall it’s a restaurant and full bar complete with a soccer game! That’s right, you can get expresso, ice cream and a drink all at the same place- they’re amazing! So we’re eating pizza and drinking a local Umbrian beer around 10:30pm and the place is quieting down, so we figured we’d go home soon. Not the case! Around 11pm hoards of people started flooding in and we realized this night might not end for quite awhile. Around midnight we let Diego know we had to work in the morning and came home, but for a Sunday night we were shocked by how many children, families and elderly people were out enjoying friends and espresso that late. This is something we will have to just adjust to. What’s the old saying? “We can sleep when we’re dead!” It’s time to experience the Italy right now 🙂

Fourth are bugs, more specifically mosquitos. Notice the mosquito net over our bed- it’s more 100% necessary! I hadn’t considered that the bugs would be so bad, but we are covered in bites morning and night. Our upcoming relief is this winter that will kill them off and we won’t have to deal them as in the heat of the summer and fall. The scorpions on the other hand will remain with us year around- Yippee! On the bright side, most of them aren’t more poisonous than bees and not very aggressive, so easy to deal with. The flies, spiders and other insects are rarely more than annoying but annoying they are. Winter may only rid us of one of these creatures, but it will be a very welcome vacation!

Lastly, it has been difficult adjusting to the Italian eating situation. We are up with the family having breakfast, of which we ALWAYS have the most, around 7:30am. I’m definitely missing my daily green shake here, but I have asked to use their blender to be able to make it once or twice a week because I thought my intestines were crying out from all the meat, cheese and carbs I’ve been shoveling in! We start work as soon as we’re done with breakfast and work until lunch. Typical one might say? Yes… if lunch were served before 2pm! Being fairly athletic, Mitch and I usually eat every three hours at home and the six hours we are experiencing now is killing us. I’m so glad my mom when to Sam’s Club before we left and sent us with a mega box of granola bars! As I mentioned earlier, dinner isn’t usually until around 8pm and it is very light. The family usually doesn’t even eat anything besides a light snack while we are preparing a real dinner, just late. We’re beginning to adjust by making sure we’re full at breakfast, snacking and drinking even more water than usual. Side note- Italians don’t drink water! Okay- some, but because of some combination of the price of water, water from the tap not being clean and their love for espresso they drink very little water. We look like such tourist carrying around or huge water bottles all the time, but water is super important to our diet so it’s a must.

So those are the complications we’ve experienced thus far. Clearly, none of them are sending us packing for home, but all of them something to consider before making the decision to spend an extended period of time in Italy. All are part of the beauty of diversity in cultures we are able to experience while here, and we’re loving it!

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3 Responses to “Some things to think about”

  1. Greg Anderson September 5, 2012 at 6:49 pm #

    Sounds like a great time! The value of not being tourists is learning to adjust to not being a tourist! What a great opportunity! Enjoy!

  2. Diego September 5, 2012 at 7:48 pm #

    wow, thanks for the beautiful words (above all for “stylish”! ahahahahh)…I’m very happy you are here even because I love meeting other cultures (as you said)..we can learn more from each other!!!besides, I can improve my english and you can learn italian! ;))))
    Diego

  3. Ali Myers September 5, 2012 at 8:27 pm #

    Glad you two are learning a lot and enjoying yourselves! It’s great reading about this, and I’m excited for what the future brings! I miss you guys terribly, but I know this is an experience you will always remember! Wish I could be there! XOXOXO Hugs and Kisses from Ohio!

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