Elon, North Carolina|Thursday, January 26, 2017
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Welcome to Italy 


Living in Lugo, Italy for two months made me realize how different the culture, the food and the people are. The Italian way of life was difficult to adjust to when I first landed in Italy. For me, personal space and organization seem to be non-existent. Public bathrooms rarely have toilet paper and sometimes do not even offer you a toilet instead there’s just a hole in the ground.

The Italians are very eco-friendly. I lived with an Italian family for my summer adventure. My family and all of their neighbors and friends separates plastic, glass, paper products, regular trash, and food trash. If you want a plastic bag for your groceries, it is .10 euro per bag. The summer is very hot in Italy so most people hang their wet clothes on racks in the courtyard behind their houses. I did not meet anyone here who uses his or her dryer in the summertime.

Transportation was very different than what I was used to. In Italy, I rode my bike and if I did ride in a car we always carpooled so the car was full. The petrol price is very high in Italy right now. According to money.cnn.com, the price for a gallon of gas in Italy, in U.S. dollars, is $5.96. According to eia.gov, the current price for a gallon of gas in the United States in $3.427.

Everything seemed more expensive in Italy. If you sit down at a restaurant in Italy and order water to drink, you will most likely get a bottle of water and some glasses. You will notice on your bill that you were charged for not only the water, but sometimes also a service charge, or cover fee. I asked the waitress what this charge was for, she said it was for the dishes and the tablecloth, as well as her service. This is why nobody tips in Italy.

Italy is known for its amazing food and to Italians food is extremely important. The third day I was in Italy I went to a “BBQ” with my new friends. The meal consisted of vegetables, meats, breads with oil and vinegar, salad, espresso, wine, gelato and other cakes for dessert. There was no shortage of food! The food is usually local and very fresh. In America you can buy certain fruits and vegetables year round, but in Italy once a fruit or vegetable has finished its season it is no longer sold here.

Most of the people I met have been nothing but kind. However, many people in Italy won’t hesitate to tell you how they really feel, even if you can’t understand what they are saying. At the market, people will jump right in front of you to look at something in your hand and you could have 10 people pressed up against you shouting in Italian. However, many Italians are fascinated to meet an American and want to practice the few English words they have learned.

Italy is a beautiful country and has a lot to offer. The trains can get you almost anywhere you want to go for a fairly cheap price. People invite you into their homes and share their stories with you. The Italian way of life can be hectic, sometimes frustrating, and overwhelming, but it is always exciting. When something goes wrong or unplanned, my friend Guido just smiles and says, “Welcome to Italy.”

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