We just returned from our first trip back to America in over a year. We spent over three wonderful weeks with family and friends. I thought I would have this huge culture shock going back to the States. I thought I would be amazed at the huge cars, huge highways and sweeping suburban neighborhoods, but I really wasn't. It just seemed familiar. I did, however, have a difficult time ordering in restaurants and shopping. I kept trying to speak in Italian and was surprised every time they spoke in English to me. You see, before EVERY transaction I make in Italy, I practice it in my head. Before I say, "do you have another of this in black?" I practice saying "avete un altro di questo in nero?" in my head and then I say it. It may sound strange but this was a hard habit to break and resulted in me staring blankly at most sales clerks and servers in America. My mom even noticed and said it was a good thing we started our trip in small town Mississippi and ended in Dallas so I would have a chance to adjust.
The huge difference I did notice throughout our trip was the amazing convenience of food. This is sooo different than Europe. In America, everywhere you look there are restaurants and drive-through fast food with fries that fit in your cupholders. In our Italian city of over 140,000, there is one drive-through. I also noticed everyone walking around with drinks. That seemed so strange to me, even though I used to do it, and quickly got back in the habit. In Italy there are no "to-go" coffees, drinks, etc. Everything is enjoyed at the bar. In fact, when we first moved here, I asked my regular bar for a "to go" coffee. I knew this was not common but my husband was stuck at home waiting for the movers and desperate for caffeine. They smiled and happily gave me my drink in a glass coffee cup, put a saucer over it and told me to bring it back the next day. I carefully walked four blocks home with and when my husband opened the door and saw the glass mug, he said "Did you steal it?!?"
See, no one here walks around with cokes, coffees, or even bottles of water. They don't even drink out of a bottled water, they always pour it in a glass. So if you are visiting Europe and prefer to blend in, have your drinks at a table and leave them there.
Thanks to all our family and friends for a wonderful three weeks. We miss you already!
18 hours ago