So today I have written a list - a list of things I find strange, or interesting, or annoying, or just different about my life so far in Italy. Here's what I've come up with:
1. Sugar. There is a lot of this stuff around. At breakfast, which for us doesn't really seem to exist (see thought 8), the choice seems to be biscuits or...nothing. Once or twice the girls have had Rice Krispies - however, they covered them in sugar. I don't know if it's just the way I was raised (no sugary cereals (or sugar on cereal), only allowed sweets and crisps at weekends, etc) (which I am glad about) but the excess of sugar, to me, is mad. There seems to be a never ending supply of chocolates, biscuits and puddings in this house! Which I'm sure most people wouldn't mind but the thing is that I don't really have a sweet tooth...so I'll just stick to my fruit after I've had my lunch, thank you.
2. The family don't really make much use of the oven (so far, I've only seen in it action to bake a cake and cook a calzone), so what they're left with is frying things. Last weekend we ate these bistecche (steaks) that were cut extremely thin, covered in egg and breadcrumbs, and fried in a huge amount of butter. Don't get me wrong - they were fantastic. But when I'm cooking I tend to avoid frying, or if I do I certainly don't use quite as much butter or oil as they do here!
3. TV programmes. I've noticed that nearly everything the kids watch, and even one or two of the documentaries that Mama B watches, is translated from it's original language - which just so happens to be English, or if not then American English (apart from I Daltons, which I believe is French originally). So why on earth does the language department at uni insist we watch and read things that are originally in Italian, when they don't do that over here?! (No, I don't really mind this. And it's certainly entertaining watching iCarly, Zoey 101 and Peppa Pig in a different language)
4. Catholicism. I hadn't really thought much about the religion of Italy prior to coming here. Mama B has told me that about 95% of Italians are Catholic (her estimation anyway). Last Saturday night, whilst still in the mountains, I actually attended a Catholic Church service. I didn't have to go but I thought it would be interesting (in truth, something got lost in translation and I didn't quite realise where we going until we were out of the door. But ah well), which in truth....it wasn't really. There was a lot of repeating things back to the err....hrrm....the guy at the front; some singing; communion; and at one point we had to turn and shake hands with our neighbours - and unfortunately I didn't really understand most of the rest of the service. Interesting, maybe. But next time I think I'll spend that hour on Saturday night at the house.
5. No kettle. I repeat: no kettle. Let's get one thing out there - I drink a lot of tea. Or should I say, in England I drank a lot of tea. Here not so much. It took me a couple of tries to fully grasp the art of making the perfect cuppa without said necessary item: 2 minutes 40 seconds (at least) in the microwave, leave the tea bag in (shudder) and just a small amount of milk. Well, it's not perfect, but it will do.
6. Swimming caps. So on Monday G and I went with four friends (ages 13 - 19, thankfully) to the centro sportivo, which was essentially a small waterpark attached to a gym, a pool and some tennis courts. Mama B gave me a swimming cap to wear and I was thinking "No friggin' way am I wearing this shit". But, I wore it. Why, you may ask? On a hot day in a waterpark? Because everyone was wearing them. Literally everyone. It was the most bizarre thing: considering I haven't worn one since being forced to at school, and I figured I would stand out like a sore thumb if I had worn mine - but nope!
7. There are lizards. Everywhere! And NO ONE that's right NO ONE seems to notice!! (Besides little C that is. She, just like me, loves the little buggers) They are adorable and I want them all. They sit in the grass in the sun and wriggle around in the bushes - fascinating. But here? Normal!
I attempted to get photos of them but they're just too quick. So here's my artistic impression of them:
8. Lack of breakfast. This is something that displeases me greatly. I figured it would be different (when on a school exchange in Germany I ate tiny pieces of toast with Nutella or fruit for breakfast), however I wasn't expecting nothing. My breakfast these days comprises solely of a cup of tea (if you can really call it that), sometimes a biscuit (I can't bring myself to eat biscuits for breakfast. It's wrong. My boyfriend, however, would just love it!) and sometimes a coffee when the cleaner arrives (which is 2 - 3 times a week).
This morning I received a Snapchat from a good friend who is currently on holiday in Malaga - it was of an English cooked breakfast. My stomach actually rumbled at the sight of it.
9. Recycling. Something I'm very glad about. As I attend a pretty green uni back in the UK and practising recycling at home, I'm glad to see that the Italians like to recycle everything - even at the waterpark there were separate bins! Yay!
10. Mosquitoes. Now this is mildly interesting - I have never really been bothered by mosquitoes. They usually leave me be, bar the odd bite or two. Italian mosquitoes, however, are different. It would seem that they thrive on English blood. I get at least ten bites a day - and I'm not exaggerating! I've now taken to spraying myself with insect repellent as soon as I'm dressed in the morning - at least they get to have breakfast, the lucky little buggers. Thankfully in the mountains it's a bit too cool for them, so at least I'll be safe there.
Hope this list has shed some light on how different things are for me over here! I'm sure there are other things, but I thought that these would be the most entertaining to write/read about.
Tomorrow morning we return to the mountains - I promise lots of photos!