No Parlo Italiano
I cannot even lie. Adjusting to the culture in Milano is still something I must work on everyday. I don’t think I thought too much about it before arriving, but it is certainly something I think of now that I live here. Things that you don’t even realize are a part of our American culture change instantly in Italy. The first thing that came to mind was dinner time. I get “hangry,” that I do. I still remember the first night my roommate, Ashley and I attempted to eat out for the first time and we were starving at 6:30. We could not find a single place open! We did eventually find a place which to this day has served me one of the best meals of my life. But I still have not gotten used to eating dinner so late. I spent all of last semester in New York City eating dinner around 6pm, so this new nighttime dinner thing has proved to be a challenge for me. Especially on a day like today that I didn’t eat lunch!
I am very fortunate to have attended such an open minded University such as New Paltz. However, I can say another cultural adjustment for me has been attending a Catholic university. Don’t get me wrong, I love Unicatt! But it does take some adjusting for this born & raised Jewish girls to have Jesus staring at her from upon a cross whilst I am in class. This university is beyond beautiful though, which has helped with my adjustment. Beyond this though because Italy is a very religious country, we have found more places to be closed on Sunday as well, which was a big adjustment coming from New York City where everything is open 24/7.
My body has had a tricky time adjusting to all the carbs this country loves to eat. Italian pizza & pasta is unreal, but there have been many times where all I want to sink my teeth into is a salad, something that is only commonly seen as a side dish here.
The jetlag and time difference worked itself out within the first week. As hard as it is, one really should try to resist naps within the first week. I have adjusted well to the metro system here, which is not only easier then the NYC subway system, but is also cheaper. Which is something I no longer take for granted in Milan! The prices for things are mostly very, very reasonable. Taxis and peanut butter are overpriced in this country! Espresso and pasta are cheaper than I have ever experienced! I also have been adjusting to not having a dryer for my clothes, paying per plastic bag at the supermarket, and sorting my trash. Italy is very environmentally conscious. I also have been adjusting to the lack of tap water served in restaurants. Adjusting to an apartment wasn’t too tricky considering I have lived in that style my whole life. The language barrier has been tricky, but manageable. I will say I thought being in such a cosmopolitan city that more people would speak Italian, but after taking a two week pre intensive course in Italian, I do have a better grasp on fixing language gaps. But I would be lying if I were to say I have not set off an emergency exit before, since I cannot read most signs. I have been able to buy frozen yogurt, ramen noodles, and last night managed to order delivery Chinese, so those adjustments have been few and always make me feel at home.
Basically, yes in turn there are lots of adjustments to be made upon joining a new culture. However, with a lot of patience, support, and acceptance I have taken all adjustments in stride and continue to bloom where I have been planted. Thanks for reading!