There is an enormous difference in Italy’s atmosphere when it comes to colours describing the Covid-19 pandemic. Red is always an unpleasant situation. The one that made my life miserable, but now it is the yellow zone and things have changed. Many people are having meals together in bars or restaurants, sitting outside, laughing out loud, and chatting. Even just looking at them while I am passing by makes me feel good. Since I came here, people told me that what I see is not Italy at all. They said the city has such a different atmosphere without the pandemic. Well, now I know it surely does. Even still there is Covid, but the city seems quite new to me. I come up with a list of differences that I found here in Italy compared to where I come from. Follow me!
I like the way Italian people care about eating. They spend a lot of time eating and they care about what they eat. Here in Italy you never see people biting a sandwich while walking in a hurry to work or school. They just sit comfortably and eat. No surprise, but the food I have tasted here differs significantly from the ones that I used to eat in Italian restaurants back home. Here pizza is a piece of bread, sauce, a bit of cheese, and a few toppings (if you’re lucky). Whereas, in Iran pizza is the meal after which you can’t even move because you feel too full.
What I found is that Italians are so obsessed with their food. If you tell them you put ketchup on the pizza or make pasta in a different way, they may feel offended. They believe that they have the most perfect food in the world. Well, I guess it’s true. But I don’t understand why they are so obsessed with that! Personally, I don’t care if somebody tells me they put mayonnaise on Iranian Kebab for instance. I mean, who cares!!
People in here are overly well-dressed. I consider almost all of them as being handsome. I like the way they dress up. It’s simple, but elegant. I even saw a few people wearing classical hats, such as the ones in the old movies. There is even a hat shop here in Padua, which is so interesting to me.
Italians care about being together and having small reunions. I have seen many people, usually the younger generation, who are sitting in a circle of friends, having a small picnic or something. It actually reminds me of my country. However, in my hometown, are mainly families like that!
People here are so friendly and kind. It is possible that you see a stranger talking to you on a bus or someone helps you to find direction if they see you searching for somewhere even without you asking for help. I remember the very first time I went to a lecture in presence, other students asked my name and tried to get to know me. It was so sweet. Like they broke the ice. I am not sure it would have been the same if were in Germany for example (or any other country).
Almost everywhere, any time you may come across people walking with their dogs. It is new to me because I did not see the same thing back home. I feel like having pets here is so common. Or maybe it is something cultural in the west. I am not an expert in this, but does this mean people feel more lonely here?
As you might know, alcohol is illegal in my country although there are still people who make and drink it. What is new for me is the fact that there is ALWAYS alcohol around when people want to have some fun here. I mean, I can totally understand that being drunk can help one feel happy for a while, but I believe one can be happy sometimes even without drinking. And it seems to me that alcohol is a sort of cultural thing here, something like a habit I guess other than a necessity for being happy. In my opinion, you can have fun even without being drunk.
I live in a small town in Italy, Padua. There are about 6500 students in this city, or maybe more. I am studying my master’s here in English and at the university almost everyone can speak English. Much as in grocery store, post office, supermarket or maybe some restaurants or cafes, I have encountered language barrier.
In my experience, it is also easier to make friends with other international students than with Italian ones. I have good Italian friends too, but sometimes I feel they are closer to each other because they speak the same language. I guess if you wish to stay here on long terms, you somehow have to learn Italian because it is impossible to feel included without knowing it. It is such a brilliant language, by the way.
I have heard a stereotype that individualism is more apparent in the west other than east. Well, I think it is more correct to say that individualism is more evident everywhere in comparison to past. But there are also a few things that I noticed. In parties here, people talk to each other in pairs or maybe with a small group of three or four. Some people might dance, some might not. A few might sing while a few don’t. And I almost never found all people doing the same thing all together. Whereas, in Iranian gatherings, people tend to dance together, drink together, ect. So if you don’t follow the group, you might feel a bit excluded. And maybe that could be interpreted as being more united. Maybe!
Have you ever lived somewhere else for a while and notice differences? or have you ever encountered diffrences at the west and East?
Well, I would love to know…let me know!