10. New Olympic Sport - Competitive Parking: If there were an Olympic sport in finding a space to park a car, the Italians would consistently take the gold, silver, and bronze. No space on the street? Use the sidewalk. Only half a space left? Just pull in frontwards. And for you pedestrians out there, forget about using the little sidewalk ramp to the street; there's probably a car parked in front of it. And actually, just forget about crossing the streets at all...unless you're really good at the game "Frogger."
|Outside our house. All the other cars o the street were parallel parked.|
9. Communion Procession Coming to Next Year's X-Games: In the US, we're used to taking turns to enter the communion line. Not here. It's a free for all. Pretty much, you enter the line when you want to. At the Vatican, I think I was once hit by a nun! While we're talking about lines, it should also be noted that there are no traffic lines painted on the streets, so lanes are meaningless. Also, traffic signs are mere suggestions.
89. Pasta, Pasta, Pasta: Now, I like pasta just as much as the next person, but it gets a little ridiculous (and old) after day 246. Sure, there are an infinite number of combinations of pasta types and sauces, but really? Must we have pasta every day? (In their defense, I was once taken out to dinner by three Italian friends and we went to the China Buffet.)
|Yes, you can buy posters that have different types of pasta on them.|
7. Worlds Record for Continuous Talking (usually about nothing): The Italians have a knack for being able to talk...and talk...and talk. During a dinner in the town of San Giovanni Rotondo, our Italian host interrupted dinner about 10 times to thank someone, offer a bit of history, or say something that he forgot to say earlier.
6. Can you find the coffee? Oh Starbucks "Venti" (or even grande for that matter), where are you? Italian coffee has the force of a full pot, but the volume of a recommended dose of cough syrup.
|One object in this picture is not smaller than it appears.|
5. It's Never Too Warm: Temperatures are relative over here. Every time I was out jogging in shorts and t-shirt (and sweating horribly) I would always pass someone in running pants and a sweatshirt. And then don't get me started on the lack of an appropriate air conditioning setting.
4. Construction Habits (OSHA Beware):Almost everyday as we walked to school, Bro. Dan and I would comment that the Italians always seem to be doing something to the roads or buildings, and yet there doesn't seem to be anything getting done. I think they just like to set up fences, dig up the road, repave the road, take down the fence, and then repeat next week. And I'm still mad at myself for not snapping the picture of two construction workers wearing orange vests, leaning on a front loader, drinking a Peroni (that would be Italian beer).
3. It's a good day for a strike: There's not much worse than your rector telling you that there will be a "sciopero" tomorrow. That's Italian for "transportation strike." Usually a few times a month, the bust drivers decide to go on strike. There's no mass demonstration, no picket signs, no last minute negotiating. Just a day off for the drivers and havoc on the roads. (Interestingly, they usually happen on a Friday or Monday.) While we're talking about public transportation, I've also learned two things about the buses. First, the schedule posted is meaningless, and there's always room for one more person on the bus (I've even learned to push my way in and then inhale to make rooms for the doors to close.)
|The first rule about waiting for the bus: don't trust the times on the sign.|
2. Forty-five minute masses: Unless you're with the Pope or at one of those crazy English-speaking parishes, mass will last 45 minutes. With music or without. With incense and processions, or just a simple liturgy. I'm not sure how they do it, but I think it has something to do with the homilies (see number 7 above.) Incidentally, I think my brother-in-law Sean might be Italian.
1. Americans eat hamburgers and French Fries everyday: In fact, it's all we eat and the only thing we know how to cook. At least, this is what I've been told.
The Bright Side: With all this being said about the Italians (I hope you laughed once or twice) they are much kinder and accommodating than we make them out to be. For the most part, they have been very patient with my poor Italian, often speaking in English before I open my mouth (I guess I look American). And, they do know how to "festeggiare" (that means celebrate) - it's pretty easy to come up with an excuse for gelato or champagne.
|It doesn't hurt that there's a really good gelato place two blocks from our house.|
Finally, this little video about says it all. Hope you enjoy, and I'll be seeing some of you State-side very soon!
Click here for a video about life in Italy.