Prior to moving to Italy, Brandon and I were pretty much clueless about life abroad. We didn't know about the expat life we were about to experience and it slowly hits us in waves. The first few weeks/ months felt like a vacation. Sure we had to work but it wasn't the work we were used to. We didn't sit in a car on the busiest freeway every day and waste 3 hours going to work and going home. We didn't see familiar faces or speak English. We didn't really understand how different this life would be. I decided to write this post about all the things we were NOT prepared for… ;)
- The h u m i d i t y ….I know I sound like a big baby when it comes to this topic but GUYS it was brutal. The weather app should not give the percentage of the humidity but instead tell you the hours during the day of when you can breath. No.joke.
- Tourists. Ok, so clearly we knew there would be millions of tourists since we moved to Florence but they are intense. Tourists walk around as if everyone here is on vacation. No people! We are not on vacation. I'm trying to walk to work with my coffee and breakfast and these tourists will bump in to you, stop in front of you and my favorite…take your picture. I mean what is that? Will a picture of me be printed and put in your house? It better. I may have broken several tourist rules in the past but living here has shown me that tourists think the world revolves around them and we should all cater to them because...well because they are on vacation. Wrong! Have some respect!
- Speedos. Ok, ok call me childish but there is one piece of clothing I will not ever be able to get used to and it's speedos. Sure when you vacation in Europe you're bound to see them here and there. But when you live here…oh my. It's just awkward and weird and I can't. Sorry.
- Paying for drinks…It's the weirdest thing to us Americans that when you buy a drink you have to pay right then and there. There is no 'put it on my tab' talk. It's simply...you drink, you pay…now.
- The lack of mexican food is rough. Withdrawals rough. Being from Cali and being a teeny part mexican and being married to a half mexican and being obsessed with mexican food…ughh it's just so hard. The tortillas, the beans, the enchilada sauce, the burritos, the CARNE ASADA…ugh. Vallarta, I miss you… Tears! Italian's don't know what they are missing and I do. Merda!
- Chap stick is locked up in glass at the grocery store. Swear to god. Not the alcohol or the olive oil or the tic tacs. Chap stick. No capito.
- Americans being so obnoxious. There have been more times than not where I have actually been embarrassed to be American. In the states we have the crazy age limits to drink, drive or go to a night club. You can drive a vehicle at 16 but can't drink until 21. You get carded everywhere if you look a day under 40. What!? Here it's a free for all unless you get out of hand of course but you can really do what you want. Drink in the street, party at 16, etc. We (Americans) would drive to Vegas to be cool and drink in the street. Here it's natural. Brandon and I still feel weird to this day walking around with a drink on the street. But when we see the loud/ crazy/ obnoxious/ screaming people who are throwing up during lunch time…they are 99.9% American. I'm sorry Italy. I am. Americans come to Italy and unleash these inner beasts that wouldn't exist if the laws weren't so backwards in the US!
- Food to-go. Oy…in the US we always always always ask for our leftovers to go. Can we get a doggy bag please? I miss Gladstone's and their foil swans. sighhh. Here in Italy…it's considered rude. We asked for some of our pizza to go when we first arrived and they were mortified. They asked us if it was ok, what's wrong, why, why, why? They didn't understand. Italians take their time and don't rush 24/7 so if they get full at dinner they can sit there until they finish. In the US you eat in record timing and take half your dinner to go.
- Bacon. There is no bacon here. and by bacon I mean BACON. The legit fatty bacon that smells like heaven bacon. BACON people!
- Hours of operation. I knew coming here Italians had siestas and coffee breaks and cigarette breaks and mental breaks and gossip breaks and potty breaks and snack breaks...but one night Brandon and I were hungry and went to this place since they stayed open late. We still had about an hour or so and when we walked in, they said they were closed. We said...'oh but the sign says 12 and it's only 10:30' and they responded "well, today we are closed early". Oh, ok. cool. Wait what?
I am not complaining, just adjusting. You have changed my life and I am grateful.