Life in Italy is beautiful Yes, for sure, I love traveling to Italy whenever I can. The more I visit Italy, the more I learn from the Italian people and their beautiful lifestyle. You gotta love the Italians.
I find some situations amusing, even if, at the time, they might also be frustrating. But I’ve learned over time, to go with the flow, to be flexible, and to accept that this is part of Italy. And you gotta love the Italians.
So here are a few things I find that happen quite often and make me smile. Are you ready?
- Nothing happens fast in Italy I’ve had friends tell me they emailed a business in Italy yesterday and haven’t heard back yet. My reply is “nothing happens fast in Italy.” Italians like to enjoy life, and take their time to do so. Hence the expression, “il dolce far niente,” or “the sweetness of doing nothing.” Maybe in a week, or even later, you might hear back. But don’t give up. Eventually you’ll hear something. A second email might be a good idea, but don’t expect an answer any sooner. You gotta love the Italians.
- Italians love to minimize things. Especially what you might consider to be a “problem.” I can’t tell you how often I have asked “how far away is that?” or “how long will it take?” or “how long a walk is this?” Inevitably the answer is the same, every time, “five or ten minutes, “cinque o dieci minuti,” or fifty or one hundred meters down the road,” cinquanta o cento metri lungo la strada.” Okay, approximately a football field. I can walk that. Ten minutes later, I still haven’t reached my destination, and I’m thinking, “was I just played or what?”
And they always say it with a smile, to make it a positive thing. Gotta love the Italians.
- Italians love to simplify things, at least in their minds. How many times do I hear “va bene, va bene,” repeated for emphasis. It’s meaning is “it’s okay.” But the flip side happens when I wish to do something that I assume might be a simple thing, like find the register for the year my grandfather was born in the small commune in Italy. Now the answer is either, “molto difficile,” very difficult,” or “non è possibile,” it is not possible. “Why?” I ask. The person looks at me with and with a facial expression and hand gesture, and utter one word, ‘boh.” Boh can mean a hundred things but in this instance, it means, “no reason,” and there is no explanation. “Boh” is slang for “non lo so,” or “I don’t know.” The simple word can come in handy very often in Italy. I find that I’ve used it myself.
Funny? Not always. Frustrating sometimes. This is why I say that it’s different for those of us who travel to Italy for a visit and for expats who decide to take up residence in Italy. They have to deal with the frustrating part much more. But you gotta love the Italians.
What have your experiences been in Italy? Funny? Frustrating? I’d love to hear your stories.
For more on my experiences as a solo traveler in Italy, you may enjoy Memoirs of a Solo Traveler – My Love Affair with Italy, winner of the Florida Writers Association award.