We had the incredible opportunity of immersing ourselves in another culture. A vacation gives you hints of a culture, but navigating your daily life in a place takes you deeper. We dove in, opened our hearts and minds and learned from our new friends.
And as a family, life in Italy gave us the best gift we could have asked for - time spent together. Time that our lives in California did not afford us. We cried, laughed, explored, and learned together. The time that we’ve had together In Italy is immeasurable. And, our time together made all the rough bits worth it.
A few lessons that we have learned from Italia:
1. In life, it is good to be flexible.
2. Food should be fresh, without preservatives, chemicals or additives.
3. Meals should be eaten at a table with family and friends and should be enjoyed over a few hours.
4. Parking and driving rules are mere suggestions.
5. Which explains why, in life, it is good to be flexible.
6. When you drink alcohol, you should also eat. Wine should be enjoyed with your meal.
7. Under certain circumstances, it is perfectly acceptable to yell and scream at another person. Then shake hands and carry on with your day as if nothing ever happened.
8. Ice cold drinks are bad for you and lead to illness. This is why you do not get ice with your beverage. Also, you should not guzzle ice water or it will lead to illness. No matter how hot and humid it is outside.
9. There are at least 15 different ways to order a coffee.
10. Which is why, in life, it is good to be flexible.
11. One musty wear a scarf year round or you risk catching your death of cold
12. You really shouldn’t dip your bread in olive oil. In fact, don’t eat bread before your meal. Instead, use it to sop up the delicious sauces at the end.
13. Universal health care can work efficiently and well.
14. The morning coffee experience is almost a religion. You can expect your banker, doctor, hair cutter, barista to take a coffee break in the middle of serving you.
15. Which is why, in life, it is good to be flexible.
16. High quality gelato is not on display in the window. It is in tubs with a top and you cannot see it.
17. It is really nice to walk and bike instead of driving everywhere. When you walk or bike, you see friends and neighbors. You take a break and stop for a coffee and a chat. You enjoy your day a bit more.
18. The sound of opera being piped onto the sidewalks really makes doing your errands far more enjoyable.
19. Sidewalks are not only for walking. They are also for bicycles, scooters and the occasional car.
20. Which is why, in life, it is good to be flexible.
21. You don't really need a lot of space or a lot of stuff to be happy.
22. There is no such thing as a line/queue in Italy so don't bother standing politely waiting for your turn. Get in there and grab your coffee, bathroom stall, seat on a train. The same can be said for life in general.
23. Fettuccine alfredo, garlic bread and Caesar salad are not from Italy.
24. American football can be played on a rugby pitch (if one deletes a few yards here and there).
25. Which is why, in life, it is good to be flexible.
Ciao to all the dear people in Italia who made our three years so much fun. We will miss each of you so much and we will hold you in our hearts forever. We are better people for having known you.
Until next time, baci e abbracci.