I've just arrived back in Italy and I'm writing this with a slight bit of jet-lag and a whole lot of homesickness. When you're an expat and you visit your origin country for an extended amount of time, leaving it almost feels like the official move all over again. I was feeling exceptionally teary at the airport and stayed that way the entire flight to Amsterdam. Once I set foot on European soil, it started to feel less like a going-away party and more like a homecoming; with Italy less than two hours away, the excitement of arriving back home outweighed the previous day's sadness. I thought for a fun post, I would list the ten things that I can't wait to do now that I'm back:
1. Speak Italian: in Canada, I did speak Italian with expat friends and with my husband, but you obviously don't do it "naturally" or in everyday situations and there's no need to either.
2. Catch up on new Italian music: I'm a really big fan of Italian music, especially all those super annoying songs that come out every summer that basically just talk about well, summer. Take the new Tiziano Ferro song "l'estate è tornata e chiede di te..." (summer's back and asking about you). Profound right?
3. Eat slowly: it's impossible to eat slowly in Canada, even if you want to and especially if you go out with friends to a restaurant. I recently went out with two girls who both speak Italian, one took Italian with me in university and the other lived in Rome. All we could keep saying was "che palle" (what balls!) when the waitress wouldn't leave us alone. In North American fashion, she pressed us first on drink orders, then the main dishes, then came back every five minutes to check on how "everything was tasting" (surprisingly it tasted the same as four minutes earlier). This is considered good service across the pond but now I'm used to the Italian version of good service which is that you should feel completely at ease in a restaurant and the waiter should only appear at the most opportune of moments when you actually require something, otherwise he/she should essentially be invisible.
4. Eat well: I am so excited to eat well. By “well”, I’m not trying to say that the food in Canada is bad or tastes terrible because I had a truckload of amazing meals, especially all my favorite ethnic dishes that I can’t get here in small town Italy. HOWEVER, I missed the freshness and simplicity of Italian cooking. Once I finish writing this, I’m going to pop out into the garden and cut myself some salad which I’m planning on having with a farm-fresh egg and the first tomato (again, from the garden) of the season! Due to Canada’s weather, unfortunately this is just not possible most of the time there whereas here in Italy, it’s a reality for most of the year.
5. Choose cheese: so the cheese variety in North America can be pretty depressing. I’m not talking about specialty stores, or cheese shops, or European markets, because I know there are places to get an assortment of cheese. But what I missed is just going into any random grocery store and finding a huge selection whenever you fancy.
6. Pronounce Italian words the right way: my goodness, I was getting sick of being corrected whenever I would say “bruschetta, panino, provolone” and the list goes on…we have adopted these Italian words into English but we apply our pronunciation rules to them and if you say them the right way, 99% of the time, you will be misunderstood and/or corrected by your server. FACE PALM.
7. Never having to use the term “day drinking”: so in Canada, we’re all obsessed with this phenomenon that is “day drinking”. Because for whatever reason, it’s considered rebellious to drink during the day so American English has literally come up with this term to describe exactly that…In Italy, no one is looking twice if you have a glass of wine, or two, at lunch. I once went out to a restaurant during my lunch break at work and saw a fellow with an entire bottle of wine to himself. No judgement at all and I appreciate that.
8. Neighborly chats: in Canada, we don’t chat to our neighbors. I know, it depends who your neighbors are and what kind of rapport you have with them but I just speak for my family when I say that we’re pretty closed up in our houses in suburbana bliss. We sometimes pretend not to see one another to avoid conversation. In Italy, I have to literally hide or wear camouflage in order to NOT have an hour-long daily conversation with my neighbors. It’s going to become over-bearing five minutes in, but I’ve put it on this list anyways!
9. Driving: I’ve adopted a more Italian-like driving style and I suffered alot in Canada from everyone following the rules and the speed limits. I’m excited to not feel guilty about going over the limit or not signaling 200m before your turn or refusing to let people in just because you can.
10. My Italian husband: self-explanatory.
Did I miss anything? Let me know! Or else tell me what's on your Top 10 when you return to your adopted country!
If you enjoyed this post, you may also like to "dare un'occhiata" at these ones or the Category "Expat Life":
Annoying Things Non-Canadians Say About Canada
Two Sides of the Italy Coin
Dating Diversity: Italy vs. Canada (and North America)
My Canadian Identity Abroad in Italy: The Conundrum