Eric: About people… Italians & Americans

June 1, 2010

Since I didn’t really do anything particularly interesting today, I thought I would just recount my day and write about something else. I went to the post office to send Googly to Fargo, North Dakota to another friend, and it took a lot longer than it should. First of all, I wanted to buy a box to put Googly in, but I couldn’t find one. Then I spotted a stand in the lobby of the post office, so I went to ask the lady there for a box (in Italian… Well, she understood what I was saying anyway). So I put Googly into the box, sealed it, wrote the address, and went to take a number.

When I was waiting, I saw this American girl (you can tell, as she didn’t speak Italian and was dressed different from other people) with a large package being told to go fill out another form before coming back. Being in the same boat, I followed her to this desk, where there was a lady instructing an American couple on filling out multiple forms. She told the same thing to the girl, and instead of giving me the same form, she just gave me a little sticker to fill out. I guess sending small packages didn’t really require that much work. She did correct me on writing the value of the things being shipped. In Europe, when you write the amount of money, commas function as decimal points, and decimal points are commas. So I wrote down €2.30, which obviously meant €2300 to her. She changed it to €2,30 and gave me a look. I was happy to go to the counter and finally paid the postage after spending one hour in that office.

Afterwards, I went to Sant’ Ambrogio Market, which also took longer than it should, as I left my map in the apartment. One other thing you shouldn’t do when you are in a foreign city. But I did manage to get there and got plenty of food for about €11. My mom would be proud, as I looked exactly like her carrying all those grocery bags. The afternoon was spent doing nothing, and I cooked dinner: spaghetti with zucchini in garlic-infused olive oil, and a chicken drumstick. I was pretty proud of myself for making all that and not spending a lot of money on it. I was also full :).

Now onto something else: people. Here’s a tip when you go travel: speak the local language (or at least try to), and people are a lot more friendly. There are exceptions, but whenever I tried to say something in Italian, the locals usually will have this smile on their faces and try to give me whatever I asked for. If people use English, on the other hand, Italians tend to get impatient and annoyed after 30 seconds of unsuccessful conversation (mostly consist of the American saying something, the Italian doesn’t understand and says something in Italian, the American doesn’t understand, and nothing gets done).

So far, I don’t really know the people on the program that well, which might have been a factor in my little emo moment last Saturday. Things are always more fun when you are with people you know. Well, I am one of the two people in the program that’s not in the department all the other people are in. The other person that’s not in the department has taken class with other people on the program, and the people in the department all know each other, since they are mostly in the same major. The little groups were formed before the program, and I pretty much just barged in. You would think that they wouldn’t have problem being abroad since they are with people they know. Well, I saw two people crying today because they were homesick, and I was feeling great today, so I walked to the kitchen to get myself a piece of biscotti and stayed there as long as I could to avoid the awkwardness (a lot of people come to my apartment because it’s the one with Wi-Fi). I think it really has something to do with food, as people here don’t really eat that much meat, which isn’t something many people are used to. And when you are homesick, not eating food similar to what you have at home is not going to help (which is probably why I am in a good mood today. I cooked the chicken somewhat similar to  my mom’s instruction). Back on regular schedule tomorrow with class at 9 am…


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: