Sunday, February 19, 2012

Three Years

Monday was my three year anniversary of living in Italy!

It is bizarre to write that because it does not feel like it has been that long. I remember deciding to come here and how nonchalant I was about it. I had no idea what I was getting myself into and how this experience would change my life. At first, I was to stay here for six months but that turned into a year and then another year and all of a sudden I have lived here for three years. In the end I guess in large part it comes down to expectations. When I came here I had certain expectations (I would quickly become fluent in Italian, I would easily make the transition into the Italian culture and lifestyle) and of course, as it usually happens, the reality was very different. I guess I am still trying to bridge that gap. There are still so many things to learn and challenges to face that it feels impossible that I have been here for three years - aren't I suppose to be an expat, Italian expert by now?

To commemorate this anniversary, I thought it would be fun to share some excerpts from a journal I was keeping when I first arrived. These are some of the things that surprised me about life in Italy during my first few days here:

"People dress fancier here than in the US (i.e. no flip flops, hoodies, regular jeans)."

"Coffee always equals espresso and people drink it like shots of liquor. Nobody gets it to go. You stand at the bar, drink it quickly and leave."
"The keys to the front door look like they are for a castle."

"Eggs are not refrigerated at the grocery store."

"There are no dryers. You see people's laundry hanging out of their apartments everywhere."

 The funny thing about writing this post is how normal all of these things seem now.

So maybe in the end I have learned more and integrated more deeply into the lifestyle than I notice or give myself credit for.

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