Quick visual, cultural, and how-I-changed memories from final days in Italy:
Early summer apricot trees loaded with fruit in front yards, on city streets, and flying past the train windows.
Immigrants – many African – selling the same junk everywhere. Onus on you the consumer if you buy an illegal knock-off. The men in their tribal dress toting their cache of women’s purses between vending hot spots will live on in my mind!
Squat toilets in surprising places – especially common in the more downtrodden public facilities and sometimes even the upscale ones.
Splayed sausages – Italians aren’t much for the phallic, apparently. They butterfly their wurst before grilling.
- Snazzy duds – Many travelers to Europe fret over how to dress to fit in. To my surprise, Italy isn’t full of people wearing only the finest fabrics. Their reputation for looking good comes from only buying and wearing clothes that fit them precisely. It is this cultural esteem for precision that leaves the Mario’s and Maria’s lookin’ mighty fine.
- Feeling everything – Italian is a language of feeling. Even sounds and tastes are ‘felt’ – Did you ‘feel’ that noise? Can you ‘feel’ the cinnamon in the cake? And of course feelings and physical touch are ‘felt.’ Mama mia!
ITALY’S MARK ON ME
To assume is still to make a… well, you know (or don’t you?). I realized on many-a crowded bus that I automatically categorized anyone who didn’t fit my description for an ethnic Italian as American. Imagine, then, my narcissistic surprise when obvious Asians, Middle Easterners, etc. opened their mouths and Italian – not English – flowed forth. #subconciousidiot
I’ve become accustomed to eating a wide variety of excellent cheese for pennies. I’m anticipating painful withdrawals.
I can finally eat proscuitto! All my life I’ve wondered about this mystery meat, and only partook when a more worldly acquaintance did. I mean, is it raw? It looks raw. Do you have to cook that stuff? How? What do you mean it’s dry cured and served raw? Doesn’t look trustworthy to me! Thankfully, after watching paper thin slices be shaved from leg after enormous leg of prosciutto for a month, I expect to be pursuing this delicacy for the remainder of my years.
Goodbye Italy. I’ll remember our time fondly. You’ll write, won’t you? ♣
Photo credit link: prosciutto.