Saturday, April 4, 2009

Daily Life in Italy and all its inner oddness

This post won't contain many life-changing events, but rather will cover the more mundane, more common, but still interesting and noteworthy points about daily life in Italy. View...and enjoy.

Remember when I told you about how the contrada is building their local hangout under our apartments? Well, as could be said in many episodes in my life, we’re not invited. Because we are not Italian citizens, and don’t live their permanently, we can’t get in. We tried, but they said we weren’t on the list, unfortunately. We asked our resident advisor about it, who said we could meet with the contrada leaders and see if that works. We figured we didn’t feel like going through that much trouble just to get into some parties. It would’ve been fun, but we probably would be out of place anyway.

Today another ‘first step’ was accomplished because I have started buying train tickets to get to the various airports to do some traveling.

On another, perhaps sadder (or funnier, depending on how you look at it) note, you all, reading this blog by now, probably know that sometimes we go to bars or nightclubs. This happens fairly regularly, especially when we have a long weekend or are going on trips. A lot of the times they’re really fun – if you’re a girl, however, it can get tricky. In that there are scores upon scores of sketchy Italian men who get far too close to you for your comfort. This seems to happen every time we go out, and I’ll tell you something: Italian guys are relentless (although, to be fair, there are a bunch of Albanians and Croatians in there too: creepy aggression knows no ethnicity!).

Now, I wasn’t expecting throes of Italian women to throw themselves at me when I entered a club (though I wouldn’t say no…ladies…), but I and the other guy in the program have learned something very important. At nightclubs and bars, there are NO single European women to be found. Ever. They’re always with their boyfriends or fiancĂ©es or whatever. It’s quite frustrating. I’m not asking for much:

“Hi there, Alessandra, can I buy you a drink?”
“Sure! And I think you’re really handsome, too!”
“Oh yeah, big noses are such a turn-on for me!”

Why has this not happened once? Is it so much to ask for? I’ll talk to her in Italian, that’s fine! We go to the nightclubs, I search for that conversation, and I end up getting this:

“Hey, cute Austrian girl who was in my Italian class last semester!”
“Hi, how are you? I just passed an exam and I’m celebrating!”
“Wow, that’s great, you should be proud!”
“I am!” At this point she starts dancing wildly. I look at her hands, and realize she has a drink in each hand.
“Hey, you have a drink in each hand!”
“Yeah, my boyfriend’s visiting from Austria to celebrate!”

I can’t win.

(Note: this last conversation actually happened – last night.)

Ah well, I still have some time here, I just need to keep plugging away. The fight is not out of me yet!

I did another errand today which, in the USA, would hardly chance a second thought, but which here gives one pause. I got a haircut today. Really, it shouldn’t be a problem – I wasn’t looking for anything greatly out of the ordinary for my hair, I just wanted some hair cut. At the same time, when you’re learning a foreign language, none of the lessons you get prepare you for it. How do you say “I only want three inches cut off in the back?” Not only do you have weird vocabulary to figure out, but you have to do English system to Metric system conversions, and who’s got time for that?

Fortunately, the shop seemed to have gotten non-Italian customers before, and so with my only-passably-proficient skills I managed to get through the appointment without them completely shaving some part of my head (I know you’re disappointed, John). Cute hair washers, though…

Also, I’m glad I’ve been keeping up with swimming throughout this semester. There have been times when I’ve skipped, but I think more or less it’s worked out. Giorgio also takes me sometimes for when he works out at the gym (I use the word ‘gym’ loosely; it’s more like a closet with weights). I think it’s helped out:

Yes, it's goofy, but still, there is improvement, no?


  1. there are so many things i could say right now...

  2. John, no blogger sex. in-a-ppropriate.

    And I concur with Mickey, good job keeping it up! That's more than the ladies can say for Johnny boy! (*ba dum tshh*)