I have lived in Italy half my life this year which had me reflect on how Italian I have really become. There are definite Italian traits that I have picked up that are true signs of my Italianisation and I thought I would share some of them with you:
Coffee: I never have a cappuccino after 12 noon! No Italian does and it’s so obvious when tourists order a cappuccino after dinner, the waiter is always smiling….to himself!
They say it’s to do with not drinking milk after a certain hour, as it’s better for your digestion. Who knows if that’s true? And I always stand up at the bar counter to have my cappuccino, but then that’s because it’s cheaper and the cappuccino is lukewarm so I can drink it quickly.
Sunglasses: I am addicted to wearing them all year round and sometimes even indoors. What?! Every Italian does, it’s considered ‘figo’ (cool). And Italy produces fantastic sunglasses that are not so dark as to black out the surroundings. Even my prescription glasses are photosensitive to darken as soon as any light hits.
Driving: I drive like an Italian and am proud of it, as I think Italians drive so well. For Australian standards it may seem a little cheeky and daredevil. Fortunately there is no road rage, a go with the flow attitude so the 60 million cars on the road can keep moving. It can seem dangerous for tourists at pedestrian crossings as while the rules remain the same, no one seems to stop until you actually step out. A suggestion is to cross as a group and just keep walking, honestly we (Italians ) don’t get bonus points for running over tourists and will respect your decision…but we may still drive in front or behind you! I only drive a manual and know how to touch park as there is little space to do anything else!
Is that rain?: I am one of the first to open an umbrella at the smallest drop of rain, as do most Italians. I can only put that down to not wanting to mess up our hairstyle; gel, mousse, hairspray or whatever else is keeping it in place. And that goes for men as well as women!
Hand gestures: Italians are very expressive and communicate passionately with their hands. I love it, and while I waved my arms around wildly in Australia, I certainly feel more at home doing it here. Quick gestures communicate so much more than words and books have been written on the subject. Easy enough to learn when living amongst Italians.
Kissing: Italians – men and women alike, kiss all the time, mostly on the cheek, and are forever hugging or giving a friendly touch on the arm or pat on the shoulder. It’s wonderful, and I do it myself. It gives warm fuzzies and can only be good for you! Smooching in the park is common practice too.
Bidet: And I have definitely picked up the habit of using a bidet and hate living without one. No…don’t go asking what, when or how to use it, I will leave that to your imagination, wiki how and what is a bidet!
So a good half of me is definitely Italian and appropriately recognised by my dual citizenship in 2006. The other good half still remains Australian so I can laugh at myself from both points of view. Although I admit that some Italian traits are best used only in Italy!