Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Embracing Italy

Today I'm a guest writer on Taking Route, a great website for expats (and even for non-expats!), talking about embracing life in Italy and what Italy means to me.

 The biggest lesson that I've learned from these years abroad is to {try} to embrace everything (although that doesn't necessarily mean you have to like it - hello, tiniest sink in the world). And so, here are five things I've embraced about life in Italy:

1. Learning how to drive an Italian car on Italian roads with other Italian drivers passing you along the way.

2. Doing laundry is more complicated than throwing in a load of clothes, waiting 20 minutes and then transferring them to the drier because in Italy, the weather conditions have to be right.

3. The grocery store. Since we've always lived so closed to downtown, I usually walk - which limits the amount of groceries I can buy. I also usually run in to someone I know which means chatting and probably two or three coffees...now I allow two hours for one grocery store run.

4. The appliances. The other reason I can't buy a week's worth of groceries is that our refrigerator is about a quarter of the size of what we think of in the U.S. as a "normal" - sized fridge. And our freezer is the size of a gallon container of ice cream. (Not to mention that for two years we had no oven and only two burners but still managed to cook Christmas dinner for 15 people).

5. The postal system. Inevitably, every time I go to the post office, I have to wait for half an hour before I can buy overpriced stamps for my postcards or letters. They've been known to go on strike at Christmas time. We often have to pay taxes to receive packages. And usually before the package actually arrives, we get a notice that says our package is stuck in Milan until we sign a piece of paper vouching for the fact that there is no pet hair or produce inside of it.

Despite the difficulties or inconveniences or even just the differences, life in another country is always an adventure, and it's always what you make it to be. Here's what I made Italy into - you can read my full piece here.