1. Everyone is trying to steal from me. This includes children, animals, and department stores.
2. The best way to get something done is by going through a long network of connections. “I know a guy,” means, “this will take four or five hours but by God we’ll save a buck-fifty it is kills me.”
3. People REALLY want to see into our apartment. At this moment there are probably hundreds of people in the bushes with binoculars just waiting for me to open the blinds. That’s why the blinds always have to be shut. Always.
4. Nothing expires ever. Salmonella doesn’t really exist. Many people have died from air conditioning.
5. The best way to accessorize a t-shirt is with chest hair.
6. Wildly waving hands, screaming, making intense eye contact, can be used not only for anger but also to ask, “Where are my glasses,” or, “You have an adorable dog.”
7. You can still be masculine while wearing a pink shirt and riding a bike that has a wicker basket.
8. Google knows significantly less than any grandmother or mother.
9. Pesto does not go on bread. EVER. Seriously, like fucking EVER.
10. You can catch a disease from walking barefoot but not from going to the bathroom without washing your hands.
11. Every activity has to have a special outfit. You cannot wear your day clothes to the park. The park requires your park outfit which is basically your day clothes but with ugly tennis shoes.
12. Everything can be done tomorrow. There’s little or no reason to do anything today.
13. There is no privacy when it comes to family. This includes lengthy discussions about my underwear choices:
Father in law: I can see your underwear. Does your husband know that your pants are transparent?
Me: Uhm, I don’t think so. He didn’t say anything.
Father in law: What color are your underwear? Red? Black? Blue?
Mother in law: BLUE!
Father in law: Red!
Me: Uhm…They are black? Okay. I get it.
Mother in law: You cannot wear black underwear with that. You need to buy white, or skin-colored, or off-white, or a thong. Maybe not a thong. You need something like this, [leaves and returns with a pair of white granny panties].
Me: Awesome. Yeah. I’ll buy some. Okay, thanks. I’ll change before I leave.
Father in law: Because if you can see your underwear people will stare at your bottom.
Mother in law: And your HUSBAND should know better! Everyone is looking at his wife! SHAME! Shame!
Me: Dear god. I said I get it. The whole town is not staring at my ass. I’ll change.
Father in law: You can’t wear black with that.
Mother in law: White or nude colored.
Father in law: Your husband! Shame! I would kill my wife!
Mother in law: He would. He’s jealous! Francesco should care more!
Me: Sigh. [Face in hands].
And this is the life of marrying an Italian man and being an American expat in Florence. Did I miss anything?
- What I’ve learned from Italy: Eating Local (thisameritalianlife.net)
- Italian Families. This Is Not Really What I Meant By, “You Should Play With Your Niece.” (survivinginitaly.com)
- When in Rome…don’t be a daughter-in-law (romandespatches.wordpress.com)