Comfort foods. That’s a huge obstacle to overcome when studying in another country. I’m fortunate, seeing as how my parents raised me on pasta, but I still miss certain aspects of the American cuisine. It’s very easy to drop into a cycle of thinking about food you miss, then complaining about it, which re-reminds you how much you miss it. I’ve seen it happen, it’s not pretty.
The key of course is to enter into the culture around you and appreciate that for what it is. You must throw out what you know and start anew.
My greatest difficult lies in cereal. It’s not possible to find Lucky Charm’s, Honey Bunches of Oats, or even Reese’s Puffs (OH THE HUMANITY!!!…alright Andrew, keep your cool, you can get through this. Just deep breaths). Thankfully I have been able to shed my past obsessions for the trends raging across southern Europe. Choco-Krave. It’s new. It’s gimmicky. It’s chocolaty. It feels like home.
It's Actually Quite Fantastic
Bidets. 'Nuff Said.
THINGS ARE DIFFERENT HERE!!!! I know, crazy right? I already touched on fashion for a moment, but there’s so much that’s different besides that. For instance: when you walk into a store, it is rude if you don’t offer a greeting upon your entrance. “Buon giorno” or “Come sta?” are adequate.
Also, there are bidets.
But differences exist that are not always beneficial. For instance, I visited Firenze last night to play Ultimate Frisbee with a team from Firenze (yay! cultural similarities!). Afterwards, because I didn’t want to spend money on a hostel, my friend and I slept in the train station. Prior to our train’s departure at 5:50 AM (we had to get back to Perugia for my class at 9…crazy, right?) both of us needed to use the restroom. Little did we know that the Firenze train station doesn’t believe people might need to use the bathroom prior to 7 AM–when the bathrooms open. Needless to say, I was much relieved when I found out our train had a water closet.
I’m tempted to write this post in Italian, but I figured I would cut out your stop to Google Translate in the interest of time. Before I go on, you should know a few things about me. I’m a Creative Writing Major. My classes consist of reading literature and writing both research papers and works of fiction. Except for one class–la lingua di Italiano.
I have studied the language and culture of Italy for the past two years, and fallen in love with that boot shaped country. Professoressa Lucchi-Reister is behind the magic of the class. A native to Rome, she has worked diligently with me and my classmates to help us to enter into the historically rich culture of Italy.
In the interest of pursuing this part of my education, I plan on studying abroad there in the spring. This is a fine example of how Butler encourages its students to expand their horizons beyond their major, to develop a more holistic understanding of the world, and the communities that surround us. I’ll leave you with this short video, one my favorite examples of the idiosyncrasies of the Italian culture.