Before I Moved To Italy I Was “Normal”

Hey guys! So, we’re back this week with a collective post about being an expat in Italy. This week we’ve decided to go with:

“What Used To Be Weird But Is Somehow Totally Normal For No Fucking Reason” 


Italy (Photo credit: Moyan_Brenn

1. Before I lived in Italy I pretty much always rode a unicorn and kept my capybara Dwayne in a sidecar. He wore fashionable glasses for the wind. That’s what the US is like, everyone respects you and you get a personal unicorn escort. (None of this is true).

Let’s start again. Ahem.

  • Screaming. Screaming used to seem loud, impolite, and kind of terrorizing. I don’t mean being loud, Americans are kind of famous for being loud, but I mean screaming, like AT another human, or dog, or unicorn, or sidewalk. When I first moved to Italy I was convinced that everyone was trying to fight me. When someone would scream at me I’d nearly cry or punch them. Now I’m completely used to it. I also catch myself screaming a lot at both strangers and loved ones because if you don’t scream you get kind of ignored and then your Mother-in-law is all, “a real woman would scream at her husband,” and I try to figure out how that makes sense and it’s time consuming. So, better just to scream. The reserved American in me has died. OH MIO DIO! Ma che cazzo fai!? CHE CAZZO FAI!?
  • Wildly gesturing, in my mind, was reserved for Salt Lake’s gay pride parade or broadway performers. Now I have a difficult time keeping my hands to myself. I used to be kind of reserved about movement, now I use the Italian gestures a lot. I don’t even notice unless I’m speaking to a non-Italian and I catch them staring at my hands or hiding from them.
  • Watching the sidewalk. Italy is pretty dog friendly, especially in Florence. Since there aren’t a lot of grassy areas in the city the dogs kind of end of crapping all over the street. Some people are responsible, others are ASSHOLES. I obsessively watch the sidewalk to avoid dog shit. I don’t even remember what it’s like to walk without looking down. If someone were to ask me what I saw in Italy I could say, “the sidewalk,” and it would be partially true. I even do it in my house now. I don’t even know what my husband looks like anymore.
  •  Space. I used to have enormous space issues which is a pretty common American thing. I hated people to be near me, touching me, breathing in my air (I still kind of have a phobia about breathing in other people’s carbon dioxide. Yeah, I know, it’s weird). Now a stranger on a bus could practically sit on my lap and I’d probably hardly notice. When I’m in the US I have a tendency to corner people, while making threatening eye contact. I talk two inches from their face. I’m totally creepy, and yet I can’t stop.
  • Me Talk Funny. The way I speak and write is really weird now. My cousin just started to point out how often I mess up my syntax or say things in an Italian way. “Babe, go make a shower,” or “he took a degree in” or “take an appointment.” Sigh. And that’s when I’m only speaking one language. Usually at home I sound like this, “Francesco! We need to go to the store for CIBO. Ho FAME and Oliver too!” I’m sure I probably sound drunk all the time, even when I’m not.
  • I’m way more aggressive. This is scary because I’ve always been aggressive but now I could see myself hip checking a granny to get an apple I want at the market. Honestly, it’s not really scary at all. It’s kind of refreshing. I get all the apples I want.
  • Cans (and not those kind, pervs). I can no longer drink from cans. Everyone puts things from cans into a cup. When someone hands me a can I think, “What the hell am I supposed to do with this?”
  • I’m a drunk. If wine doesn’t magically appear on my table around dinner time I’m convinced the world is ending. Before moving to Italy I only drank when I went out dancing or to have cocktails with friends.



Maria. Here’s my bio: ‘M’ is a 30-something (something low) American Texpat, living and working in her husband’s tiny hometown in the province of Reggio Emilia. Her blog, Married to Italy, is home to her rants and raves and serves as her therapeutic search for hilarity amongst the chaos.

M. Elizabeth Evans of 'Surviving Italy'

This is me .You just read mine.

M. Elizabeth Evans of ‘Surviving in Italy – an American expat trapped between two worlds with her badass husband, his chest hair, and their poodle. She is a writer and partner of House Of Ossimori. Her award-winning blog Surviving In Italy, aims to honestly portray her life in Italy, the sober times, the drunken times, the yelling, food, family, and on occasion her obsession with the majestic Capybara. She’s also terrible at writing Bios. Someone do it for her next time, okay?

Rick Zullo - Ricks Rome

Italian Habits I Used To Think Were Strange

Rick Zullo of ‘Rick’s Rome – an American expat living in Rome. Born in Chicago and raised in Florida, he came to the Caput Mundi in 2010 and forgot to go back. When he’s not exploring his adoptive hometown or writing for his blog, he spends his time teaching the world English, one Roman at a time. Rick is also the author of the silly little eBook, “Live Like an Italian,” available on Amazon.

Georgette Jupe

Things I Didn’t Do Before Coming To Italy

Georgette of ‘Girl in Florence – an American social media strategist, copywriter, blogger and a certifiable ‘Tuscan Texan’ living and breathing all things Florence. Social inside and out, she lives in the moment and eats way too much pasta. She blogs about life in Italy, travel around Europe {and the world}.



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19 thoughts on “Before I Moved To Italy I Was “Normal”

  1. Pingback: Becoming Bold and Italic… collectively. | Married to Italy

  2. LOL! Great post! The yelling thing followed my parents from Italy to the US. When my Irish friends would come over during holiday dinners, I think that they were intimidated my the general loudness of my family! Ahh, the memories it brings back.

  3. Yes!! The space one. I forgot about that… I cracked up when I went back to the US and someone like 8 feet away from me said, “oh, excuse me, you go ahead.” HA!

    Good stuff.

  4. Pingback: Things I didn’t do before coming to Italy | Girl in Florence

  5. “Babe, go make a shower,” sounds 100% what comes out of my mouth on a daily basis, thank god I write and blog for a living or else my english would be zapped! Ps. I am also a ‘drunk’ wine in the afternoon is always ok and I can relate to everything you wrote! Shall we go scream about digestion in public?😉

  6. This makes me mad because I hate unicorns. However, the capybara is adorable.

  7. Am I that cousin? It takes one to know one, though; you should see how I talk to my students, trying to match their English–“I think, maybe it’s okay. Maybe in England they say, but in America we don’t say.”

  8. Pingback: Italian Traditions: From Romance to the Art of Eating

  9. Too funny!🙂 Especially the speaking funny part. I’ve been noticing more of that in myself lately too by incorporating English sentence structures or words when speaking German with my sister or using German words that my Italian boyfriend and I commonly use at home with our Texan friends who look at me like I’ve finally lost it.

  10. Pingback: Italian The Hard Way | Living In Italy.Moving To Italy. Loving In Italy. Laughing In Italy.

  11. Pingback: Dining In Italy: How To Avoid Making An Ass Out Of Yourself At The Dinner Table | Living In Italy.Moving To Italy. Loving In Italy. Laughing In Italy.

  12. Pingback: 9 Differences I’ve Noticed Between The North And South Of Italy | Living In Italy.Moving To Italy. Loving In Italy. Laughing In Italy.

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