Apparently America Is All Bumper Cars And Skype

Since importing my husband to America temporarily for business (me turning surviving in Italy, and Dirty Filthy Things into books), things have been crazy. First, we had to spend two months in my mother’s basement. It wouldn’t have been that bad if my mom’s cat wasn’t the size of an african lion and didn’t HATE OLIVER WITH A BURNING PASSION and if my mom didn’t smoke so much that one could easily confuse her house for an oil refinery (sorry mom). Those two things combined were difficult. Then brother drama ensued when I disapproved of him fathering yet ANOTHER baby (he seems to think he’s responsible for the entire next generation) despite the instability in his life. I told him that I felt he was irresponsible, it broke into a fight and my mom decided after a few beers that the best solution was to lock us into a basement together because we’re five. We haven’t spoke since (and if you’re reading this, STOP BEING SO GODDAMN STUBBORN!). Oliver had his testicles removed in what seemed like the most BOTCHED SURGERY EVER. Seriously, you guys, he couldn’t move for like a week and his entire underside was purple. It was shit-tastic and I felt like a horrible human being. The good news is he has yet to sexually molest any humans, dogs, or stuffed animals since. I haven’t slipped in doggy splooge in over a month! It’s the small things, people. Then my mom adopted Flower, who passed away a few days ago from Lymphoma and kidney failure, I wrote about it here and I cried a lot. Then F found a killer job in AZ so we moved to Phoenix and are currently renting a house. Since my job is writing, I can do it anywhere, but coming back to the US I didn’t imagine that anywhere would be in the dessert in fucking scorpion-land. The second night in this house we found a Bark scorpion (the most poisonous ones in AZ) and we ninja attacked it so hard to death! Oliver stared at us like we were terrifying creatures who were freaking out for no reason and now he won’t go out the patio door. I guess to him it would seem strange for your family to suddenly start kicking the shit out of a wall.

I have some crazy reverse culture shock happening where I have no idea how to interact with people. Also, my space issues are screwed up. I was asking a guy about dog food the other day (nothing sourced OR manufactured in China) and he kept giving me a weird look. I finally realized that I was standing so close to him I could have stuck out my tongue and licked his cheek. My vagina was practically resting on his leg. I was scaring him. So, thanks a lot Italy for making me way creepier than I was before. Francesco seems to be adjusting more or less except that he CANNOT DRIVE HERE and he’s somehow managed to wreck not one, not two, BUT THREE FUCKING CARS. It can happen, right? I’ve been in a number of accidents myself and that’s why I don’t drive. In Italy, Francesco was a fantastic driver but here it seems that he can’t quite NOT HIT OTHER CARS. The first time he backed my mom’s Geo Prizm into her husband’s truck. That time it “was-a deh cars-a fault!” and it cost us a few hundred in repair work. The second time he backed a rental car into one of the cars in my father’s driveway (no damage was done), and the third time was last night at my sister’s house. We were leaving and he just decided to go ahead and back our car into a brand new truck parked across the street while the owner watched in horror. I heard CRUUUUNNNCCCHHH and F jumped out and apologized profusely to the owner and his five friends who materialized out of the soil. Luckily, there was no damage done. I texted my sister, “Oh shit! We just hit your neighbors car!” and she came running out yelling, “These damn foreign drivers!” because it’s my sister and she’s hilarious. When we left the scene of the minor collision F seemed somber. “Babe,” he said, “I have to remember that there are actually consequences here. In Italy if you hit someone you just give them an apology and 100 euro but here they call insurance and stuff. Here is so stupid.” Seriously, guys, fuck laws.

Aside from the driving F has only about 345,323 complaints starting with, “everyone here dresses like dog shit, I’ve never seen more workout clothes in public in my life,” to, “the food here is like deh a plastic,” and, “it’s a too a much a space, eh,” and, “I hate restaurants here! Deh just want you to eat and leave-a! It’s-a stupid!”  He also looks terrified that everyone smiles and waves at him, “What deh fuck are deh waving at? What do deh want from me?” We also got into a fight today that sounded like this:

Me: Please do the dishes.

F: I can’t I’m-a skyping with my dad and organizing their trip to Germany to see me.

Me: You’re going on a BUSINESS TRIP to Germany. Why are you spending two hours on skype every day with your parents to bring them to Germany while you’re ON A BUSINESS TRIP.

F: You wouldn’t understand because you don’t have a family!

Me: Wow. I think what you mean is that I don’t have a family that is still BREASTFEEDING ME.

F: You’re yelling at me for talking to my parents!

Me: No, I’m yelling at you for having shitty priorities. Your job is your priority, not your mom and dad coming to Germany. Also, I’m pissed that you have 3 weeks of vacation and decided that we’re spending all 3 weeks with them.

F: Well, we go to Italy for 2 weeks and they come here for 1 week!

Me: That’s what I said. 3 weeks vacation, 3 weeks with them. That is not a vacation! Being told every five minutes that I need to gain, lose, weight, change hair, clothes, face, personality, etc., is NOT A VACATION FOR ME! Two weeks okay, the other week is pushing it.

F: They are-a my-a parents! I moved away! I need to see-a them!

Me: I’m totally aware. I’m not denying you your family. I’m saying that you’re being totally weird and creepy and your priorities are off, dude. Like, you’re bringing them to Germany while you’re there with your boss at a work fair. It’s WEIRD. And ALL of our vacation? It’s weird. Can’t we just spend one week without them doing the sex in Hawaii or something!?


Then he stormed out to go clothing shopping with our brother-in-law, which is adorable.

And I get it. I love that he’s so family-obsessed and such a dedicated son. It’s one of the reasons I married him because I knew he’d be a great father and husband. But still, a little balance would be nice. 

This is where I’m at in life: You can take the boy out of Italy but you can’t teach him to drive or get him off of skype long enough to vaccum. 

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12 thoughts on “Apparently America Is All Bumper Cars And Skype

  1. I’m glad Oliver’s doing better, you must have been a wreck! Bexley was in the “less than 5% of dogs” that got a minor infection after she got spayed by her (super amazing wonderful and awesome) vet in New Orleans, mostly because she likes to cause me severe anxiety and cost a fortune. Luckily it cleared up quickly enough, but not before I was a wreck over it. If you’re still looking for food, I feed Bexley Wild Calling grain-free food which is made locally here in Colorado. She has food allergies (because of course she does) and this is the first non-Rx food I’ve been able to give her in her life. If you can find it out there, I recommend it.

    I also want to add that I pretty much agree with F in his estimation of America.

    • We felt horrible. The bruising was like nothing I could even find on the internet (Seriously, THAT bad). Bexley and Oli are basically the same. If something can be difficult he’ll make sure it is. I’m sorry about B and the infection! We thought he had one but he didn’t. He did have to be on three different painkillers though. Our vet said that Oli is “a very sensitive dog that is easily traumatized,” like we didn’t know that. We found a food called Merrick. It’s all sourced and manufactured in the US, it’s grain free, and the first ingredient is a whole protein, so is the second and third which is huge for Oli with his hyperactivity. I’ll check out the Wild Calling next time I go in.

      • One day we’re just going to have to get together for a puppy playdate (and maybe some wine for the parents). Bexley and her BFF sometimes pee on each other, maybe her golden shower fetish will extend to Oliver and she won’t mind. As long as they’re not peeing on us, right?

  2. Oh wow, challenging times! I love F’s take on America – so funny! The Latvians say the same thing about the British and their sportswear when they move there – I use the term ‘sports’ loosely🙂 Glad Oliver is doing better and hope no more scorpions attack!

  3. Pingback: Being An American Expat In Italy Means Always Missing “Home”: Culture Shock And Reverse Culture Shock | Living In Italy.Moving To Italy. Loving In Italy. Laughing In Italy.

  4. Lol.. I’m curious what the general reaction of women readers would be if the tables were turned and it was a man writing a post about importing his wife to the states.😄

  5. Hi M.E.. I’m a Texan transplant in Genoa with my 2 daughters living with my Italian husband and his parents. I identify with so many of your posts on SO many levels. I’m sure you can imagine. After we got pregnant shortly after we were married I dragged him back to Texas kicking and screaming because of Hospitals and Boundaries. We lived there for about a year and a half, which went surprisingly well. I had to finally give in and suggest we move back to Italy. I felt incredibly guilty about separating him from his folks as he had talked on the phone or skyped with them (mostly Mamma) a minimum of 3 times every single day that we were gone. Sometimes the convo was a simple good morning call to report on how he slept and let her know he would call her on his lunch break. But the on the weekend there was always at least one Skype marathon where 6 to 15 other family members were present on the other end. I would generally say hi and find something pressing that had to be done. I’m the worst at small talk, and can’t hide the annoyance on my face at being forced to scream at my computer for more than a few minutes at a time… Or hide being bored because he already said anything worth saying practically the moment it happened earlier in the week. I could go on, but I think you get the drift. So the point is thank you, and tell F thanks too. Your stories have helped me feel less isolated and have probably kept me from falling into another depression like the one that sent me running home with my tail between my legs the last time I tried to do this expat thing. I’m in it for the long haul this time and it is such a relief to know that my new family and I aren’t a bunch of weirdos and I’m not a freak because of my cultural differences. Best regards, C.N.

    • Carrie, this is so sweet and I’m so glad it’s helping. I definitely get your drift! Haha. You’re absolutely not alone and I get so many of these emails and comments there’s practically an entire army of expats struggling with cultural differences in the same way you are. Soon, I’m putting a forum on the blog! I hope that will really allow everyone to support each other. 😘

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