Italiosyncrasies

Ha. Well, our quest for Etruschetta pizza last night came to a halt when we found out it was closed on Tuesdays. Just one more little thing that makes life interesting here in Perugia!!! Store hours are so strange, and really they open and close when they want to. Tuesday?!!?! We found another pizzeria (no problem) and I ordered peperoni pizza– “but you’re a vegetarian!” you say– peperoni here is not in fact salami but peppers, and I was aware of this when I ordered it, but the waitress, whose English was quite good, came and double-checked to make sure I knew that it was, indeed, peppers, and not salame.

There are a lot of interesting goings-on here that Italians just consider life.

Also, we have a gas stove. I know this isn’t so unusual… but at my lovely townhouse, we have a nice, flat-top stove that you just have to wipe clean after you use it. There’s just a lot more to remember… primarily, remembering to turn off the gas knob which is inside a cabinet… haha.

One of my favorite things about Italy is waking up every morning and opening my inside windows and then pushing open the shutters. It feels very… Disney, or something… waking up, bursting through the window and looking up and down the street, across the hills, waving at our neighbors who are doing the same thing– seeing what the day may have in store. This morning, though, I got a bit wet because it was (is) raining. And cold. I still enjoyed it.

In addition, there is perpetual noise from the surrounding apartments… we cannot seem to identify which apartments they are though… and sometimes, there’s banging above us which I really do not understand because our bedroom ceiling–well, criss-crossing enormous wooden beams and brick– is very clearly the underside of the roof.

We’ve all heard horror stories about European bathrooms. We are a bit fortunate in that we got two very tiny bathrooms, and of course the shower head is right in the middle of the bathroom with a drain in the floor. We have to mop (yes, MOP) every time we take a shower, but it doesn’t do much good. We are also fortunate in that we have toilets with seats on them… many toilets here just have a rim but no seat. My thighs have gotten quite strong… haha. Yes, lots of squatting. Apparently there are a few places here that are just holes in the ground but I haven’t seen those yet. In general, toilet flushing is consistently confusing. The flush is either above you, on the wall, or on the toilet, but it’s usually a strange, white button that often blends in with the toilet itself. I know, I sound like such an American– but come ON!!! And actually, there is usually a set of buttons. You have to choose which to flush. And if you can find some toilet paper, you’re lucky.

Doors here are different as well. All of our school buildings require a code or a buzzer to enter, and the doors themselves are enormous… about two stories high– it takes my entire body weight to open the ones of two different buildings. Haha, also, because of the energy conservation laws, you will oftentimes walk into a public place or a school building and the lights will be off, because they are all on timers, causing you to then have to feel your way around a strange place until you find the switch. Not to mention, we don’t do door knobs here in Italy. We just do locks. And we give our tenants about 20 keys, 18 of which are mystery keys to absolutely nothing… and half the time, the right keys don’t even fit, much to our dismay… and to the humor of the constant lingering Italian men in tight pants who follow you home and then lean against the wall outside your apartment and say broken English phrases and laugh when you glare at them for laughing in the first place at you, trying to just get inside. And don’t forget the Italians that hang out of their windows from up above, who also laugh, and say things like “Hi Everybody!” in English when you pass. Or, “Ciao, bella ragazza!!! Ragazza!!!! CIAO BELLA!!!” And of course… you keep walking.

Haha. Believe it or not, the male attention does indeed get old.

Remember the mysterious nozzle on the wall in Under the Tuscan Sun? We have one, too, right outside our apartment door (still indoors, in our hallway).

Overall, I find Italian ways to be mostly hilarious, and only a tad frustrating until you laugh it off. And now, I am going to go sink into one of my new Italian ways… spending hours in a lovely caffe in a piazza not at all far away…

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