December 22, 2009
I Occasionally Like to Make Lists: Five (More) Reasons I'm Already Missing Italy
So I know you've all read my Ten Reasons I'm Going to Miss Italy, and were expecting Ten Reasons I'm Not Going to Miss Italy. That Post is coming. But I think I have to be back in Italy and get frustrated with something there to be reminded of all my general frustrations with it, because right now, as much as I'm loving being back in North America, I can only think of more things I miss about Italy and Italians.
1. The creative (to say the least) use of the English language. Such gems include the Fiat Dealership "Fiat Internazional," the pizzerias "Pizza Femily," "Hallo Pizza!" and "Pizza's House." The latter also falls into my favorite category of Misused English: the fast and loose interpretation of when the possessive 's' is appropriate, like "Shoe's House," "Men's House" (a barbershop). I can't even count the number of hours Valerio and I spent laughing in the car, while driving around Rome and coming across these ridiculously named shops. I really wish I had a picture to show you.
2. That straight Italian guys not only can, but are almost expected to, have a certain sensibility, and that it would never come to anyone's mind to think they were gay for it. When Italian guys say hello, to girls, or to each other, they always give the double kiss on the cheek. It's how they say hello, and express delight and not seeing a friend for a while, and only ignorant, sexually insecure American guys feel the need to categorize, disparagingly, all European guys as gay or metrosexual because of it. Plus, Italian guys aren't afraid to do things that might be considered girly. For example, the weekend before I left, I was at a friend of Valerio's house with a bunch of their friends, watching a soccer game. Not one, but two of their guys friends showed up with a little box of pastries - all wrapped up in pink bakery paper and ribbon - instead of beer, or buffalo wings, or a bucket of chicken. The day an American dude shows up at a football game with a little gold tray of creampuffs and fruit tarts and none of his friends says anything derogatory about it, will be the day pigs fly. Sure, Italian guys can also be megalomaniac macho assholes, catcalling on the street and ass-grabbing in clubs, but at least we know that's not the only side of them. And I miss that, especially when I see guys in American in a constant competition to be the most straight and the least pussy.
3. The frozen yogurt at Campo di Fiori. The guy there has a little storefront, about two square meters, jam-packed with anything you could possibly want in an shop that makes desserts. And he makes everything, crepes, frappes, milk shakes, granita, ice cream - but the best thing he makes is frozen yogurt, made fresh every day, which he serves you however you want, with fresh fruit granita underneath, and topped with fresh cut up fruit, or slathered in nutella and coconut flakes, affogato (drowned) with coffee liquer and whipped cream. It is nothing short of divine, and second to none.
4. My scooter. Which I'm actually lucky I don't have here. As you probably heard, we just about a foot of snow dumped on us the night before last, which made the whole North East completely scooter-unfriendly. But still, I miss running downstairs and being on my scooter in 25 seconds. I miss parking where ever I want and never getting a ticket (alright, one). I miss getting somwhere 25 minutes away in 15 minutes (yes, scooters can mess with the space-time continuum). I miss spending five euro on gasoline - a week - while sometimes averaging 20 km a day (now that's good gas mileage). I don't miss the cold air in my face, or the frozen fingers, or being rained on, but those things are all secondary to just how convenient having a scooter is. And I miss having mine. I hope Laura (my scooter's new mommy) is treating it well.
5. The pharmacies. It seems like everything in Italy is over-the-counter and way cheaper (a certain medication that was $85 here costs only 15 euros in Italy, and is faster and more effective). Plus the pharmacists are doctors and can do on the spot consultations for anything (like helping you choose the right pain medication for a particular type of migraine, or what kind of soothing cream is best for a sunburn). After my day of frustration with the medical system as soon as I got back to the US (to make a long story short, if you don't have insurance in this country, you're totally screwed), I started to realize just how easy I had it in Italy when it came to my health care.
Okay so this list isn't as romantic as the last one. But it's made me realize that the grass really is greener on the other side, and as much as I liked to bitch about Italy's little quirks, it's an amazing country, and I was so lucky to have the chance to live there. I can't wait to move back!