Similarities

As a follow-up to yesterday’s post about all the things that are different in Italy, I thought I should throw out a few similarities. There are, after all, a lot of things Italians do that seem very familiar to me.

1. Potato chips are commonly served with aperitivo in Bologna. Who knew?
2. Stores pump American pop music through their speakers just like they would at any old mall in the US.
3. On that same vein, I see a lot of Italian women window shopping and commenting on what they see, but not going into the store.
4. Bologna has quite a few McDonald’s, and I saw a Burger King in Rome.
5. Buying things like soap and conditioner at pharmacies is still more expensive than finding them at the supermarket.
6. PCs are still more prevalent than Macs. Although the iPhone has really taken off, and many wireless providers service iPad.
7. Thrift stores smell the same – just like your grandma’s house.
8. Kids still love recess. I can hear them running and yelling just like I used to (and, let’s face it, still do when I get the chance.)
9. Groupon has a branch in Bologna, so I can still get my daily deals.
10. After a shopping trip or two, Christina and I are convinced that stores like H&M and Zara, which both have US branches, charge the same price in euros and dollars. Which makes their stuff more expensive here.
11. Rather like the US, pretty much anyone can walk into the library and use its resources. You need a library card only to check things out.
12. Italy does have wi-fi hotspots. Instead of being in cafes, however, you find wi-fi at places like McDonald’s.
13. This one comes from Sarah: Both Americans and Italians (believe it or not) are bad at learning other languages. We study them in school, and then forget.
14. The Bolognese really like to go to the movies. There are a lot of movie theaters in the city.

I also have a few more differences:
1. When shopping, you typically find a salesperson and tell him or her what you want to try on. You don’t pick things up for yourself.
2. Children go to school on Saturdays.
3. You pay utilities every other month, and most Italians don’t use checks. Instead, you can set up direct pay through your bank account (the same as the US) or take cash to the post office for a bolletino.
4. Italian ovens are tiny! I’m going to have a heck of a time roasting my Thanksgiving turkey…which I will have to pre-order at least a week in advance because most butchers don’t have them.
5. Spas here are really cheap. We’re kind of/sort of planning a weekend at one. Or maybe nine weekends, so we can go once a month.
6. You can’t touch produce at the grocery store. If you go to a stand or a market, the vendor picks it out for you. If you go to one of the self-service places, you have to wear gloves.
7. In Italy, you don’t have to tip the waiters. They’re paid well already, so they don’t expect anything in addition to your bill.
8. Italian sirens are incredibly loud. You can hear them from kilometers away.
9. A/C and elevators have yet to really become common. You’re more likely to find stairs and open windows here.
10. Italian professors aren’t quite as accessible as American professors. It’s not that they don’t want to talk to you or won’t e-mail you back, they’re just far more likely to invite you to their office hours than they are to set up a whole separate appointment.
11. Italians eat outside way more than Americans. Even now, toward the end of October, many restaurants are breaking out heat lamps to avoid indoor seating. Mostly because many of them don’t have it.
12. Italian students go home on weekends. Not just one a month, but every single weekend.

I have a feeling this list will grow and grow. Expect more posts on this topic.


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