Top 10 Things I learned My First Week In Italy
10. There are fewer people in an Orlando theme park over Spring Break than in the Torino Ikea on Sunday evening.
I have never seen anything like that parking lot. Cars were double and triple parked. Hundreds were circling waiting to stalk departing families for their spots. Inside, the half million or so of us looked like cattle being led to slaughter as we walked that predetermined, circuitous route through the brightly lit tiny kitchens and bedrooms. We HAD TO HAVE LIGHTS so we shuffled on with the rest. What I will never, ever forget is how much I wanted this experience to be over, the length of the checkout line and the lady in front of us checking out and purchasing…..3 small boxes of potpourri.
9. People in Turin, Italy really love potpourri
8. We have never been so interesting to others in all our lives
[caption id="attachment_107" align="alignleft" width="225"] Out and about in the city, Gardner remains true to her own style.[/caption]
Folks ain’t never seen nothin’ like us walking down the street. I know we aren’t in Milan, but Gardner in pink leopard print pajama pants on via Roma was almost as interesting as the street artists for the locals. I love her individuality and hope she keeps it! Folks are wildly interested when they hear us talking to one another (we aren’t that timid or quiet or shy, you know)
7. The air Shipment was too small/I packed the wrong things
Receiving the air shipment was like Christmas and we tore into those boxes like they contained gold. I let out yelps of joy when I saw the teapot I truly loathe. I was downright giddy when I saw two coats I had forgotten I packed.
But why is there a metronome??? (It was sitting too close to the air shipment pile)
What good is this TV going to do me when I’m 20 days away from any service? (We were SOOO excited to be able to fit this in the AS)
Why did I think I needed silverware we NEVER use when there is zero storage??? (I should have packed the REGULAR silverware)
My advice to others who are packing an air shipment: Make a list of things you touch every day. Like the cooking utensils, the things that make your life your life and include those. Our warm, cozy blankets that make our living room comfy while sitting on the couch should have been in that shipment. Certainly things you need should be in there, too, like extra shoes and clothes, but I really wish I had packed our blankets.
6. Italian radio isn't so great
And there’s no Pandora. Or satellite radio. Even as an itty bitty child I listened to the radio or my Smurfs Allstar Show album while playing with Barbie. I still treasure the Motown 45s that I would immediately put on my turntable as soon as I got home from school. Music is such a part of my life that I preferred Pandora on the 15 minute drive to school so I didn’t have to hear morning DJ chatter. I am currently reading The Rap Yearbook because I love rap music.
I think it’s because music rights are too expensive so we listen to Phil Collins and some shit you’ve never heard of even when it was released in 1978. Certainly Cincinnati radio wasn’t forging any new roads or cutting new edges, but I’m going to rely on Facebook and TheSkimm to keep me updated on pop music while in Italia. Or use a VPN.
5. The wine really is THAT good
[caption id="attachment_106" align="alignright" width="225"] .....mmmm....vino![/caption]
I can’t believe how good the wine is! 30 at a restaurant or 15 at the Carrefour will get you the most amazing bottle of red you’ve ever tasted. The even better part? Tomorrow’s a new day and there’s more wine to try. And while we’re at it, the food is that good, too.
4. My DNA has been altered to include the internet
I’m incomplete without it. Before getting too judge-y, please keep in mind you aren’t reading this on paper. I need to know what’s happening in the world and to be able to download things and access the cloud and all the other things I have to wait 20 days to do. I want to send and receive emails and access the app store and share on Facebook and post this blog post!
This is a continuing education kind of thing, but the amount of help we needed simply leaving the airport put kindness for others into a new perspective. Had we been alone, I believe we would have found a way, but having help from a local was one of the greatest gifts we could have received.
2. I wish I had learned the language
Sitting at home on my couch back in December, Christmas tree glowing, fire in the fireplace, I was feeling pretty good about myself. 52% fluent DuoLingo said.
In reality, 52% translates to about 5% in practice.
It didn’t teach me, “Do you have a van to transport all 4 of us and our 156 bags downtown?”
It didn’t teach me, “You aren’t expecting me, but I’m meeting the landlady and moving in today. Can you store these 468 suitcases and boxes until our meeting?” (Because once you’ve hauled luggage that far, it grows)
It didn’t teach me, “The fuse has blown and I have no electricity.”
The best piece of advice I got before leaving home was to just try to speak the language. Don’t worry about messing up or using the wrong tense or ending or word. The only way to learn is to do, so I’m doing. It must be horribly painful for the recipient of my efforts and I appreciate anyone who will listen and tolerate me.
Our adventure has only just begun and I can’t even imagine the ways our family will change and adapt. I’m embracing the discomfort of it all as best I can (thanks, Claudia) and the girls are so positive that they really recharge me. They have zero complaints about our change in housing, the language barrier or doing new things. They really aren’t even complaining about sharing a room. They aren’t crazy about the school uniforms and often complain about all the smokers on the street, but who can be mad about that?
That leads us to the top thing I learned the first week:
1. We’re all going to be just fine.