Top 10 Things I’ve Learned in Italy in the First 10 Days
I have had quite an adventure over the last week and a half!!! Already in just the first 10 days I have seen the Last Supper in Milan, I took a beautiful boat ride on Lake Como where I got to drink delicious wine for 2Euros while cruising by George Clooney’s house, climbed 300 stairs for a beautiful view of Lake Lugano in Switzerland, I have seen the alps in Torino for a 24 hour visit, traveled 5+ hours by train to the other side of the country, seen the ancient island of Caluggia, taken a water taxi (vaperetto) to one of Venice’s islands to eat a homemade Italian dinner prepared by my host family’s nonna, and finally, I have been able to take several self guided walking tours (i.e. walking aimlessly) around downtown Treviso, the city where I will be staying for the next three months. In just the first week I have learned so much about this beautiful country, I had no idea about any of this until getting here.
- Smoking is allowed nearly everywhere. I hate the smell of smoke. I love America for the fact that smoking is restricted to out of the way places. Here, people walk through the city with a cigarette in their hand…they even permit smoking in every outdoor area of restaurants I’ve been to. Even the kids at my high school can be found smoking outside after school and nobody takes a second look. However, I am very lucky to be living with a family that doesn’t smoke!!
- Every bathroom I have been in is different. It is not as simple as pushing a lever or even as easy as it automatically flushing when you get up. Some bathrooms have two buttons…for the two different amounts of water to flushed out (depending on #1 or #2), some have just one button, some have these buttons on the top of toilet, some on the side, some on the wall next to the toilet, I’ve even used one where I had to step on a button on the floor!! It has often taken me multiple minutes to figure out what to do. And I still don’t know/don’t want to know how to use a bidet
- Rugby is 10 times more dangerous and more awesome than American football. Don’t get me wrong, I love football. The week before I left America, I was at a Tampa Bay Bucs game…but after watching my first rugby game today where my host brothers team was playing, I am definitely a fan. Of course I didn’t understand everything that was going on and I have no idea what people were screaming on the sidelines but it was still pretty awesome. (They won, by the way)
- Pronto! I love that Italians do not say hello when they answer the phone, they say “Pronto.” My online translator tells me this word means “ready”. They get straight to the point. I might start using this.
- This did not happen to me specifically, but it did happen to the people I was with and it is a lesson learned! If you see a wine menu and the price is equal to a nice glass of wine in America, you are not ordering a glass of wine, you are ordering a whole bottle! 4 bottles of wine for 4 people showed up to the table and it was hilarious.
- Places exist where they not only leave their doors unlocked, they leave them wide open!! Pellestrina, an island of Venice, is stunningly beautiful, quiet, and apparently filled with trustworthy people.
- Every region has their own language. They have their own dialects, their own accents. As if learning a new language wasn’t hard enough!!
- Everything is delicious. Literally everything. From bread to vegetables to wine. I hate green beans. I have hated them all my life. But I tried them here and I couldn’t get enough. Same with the freshly caught fish I tried.
- Everything is beautiful. Literally everything. The history is astounding. There is something new around every corner. I get goosebumps on a daily basis. My eyes get watery. It is a breathtaking country.
- Say yes to everything. Every time my host family asks me to do something or try something, they never force me to. But I have been very adamant about saying yes. I order whatever they order. I drink what they drink. I try everything. If they want to take me somewhere, I say yes. In just a few days time, I have been able to do and see so much that I wouldn’t have been able to without them.
I am so excited about the next few months! I started teaching school at the beginning of this week. I have been able to run a few times, and I’m slowly learning the city. I’m hoping to make my first trip to Venice this weekend! Stay tuned!
Learn more about Teaching English in Italy here: