Expat life

Things I have learned about Italy since moving here.

So since this blog it’s all about changes, let’s talk about my most recent and drastic change: moving to Italy.

Even though I originally came to Italy for what was going to be a one-week-holiday at my sister’s place, who lives here, the coronavirus lockdown resulted in an extension of my visit, which eventually lead to my decision of staying here to start a new chapter.

This is not the first time that I move abroad, though. At 21, I decided to fulfill my life’s dream of living in England and I moved to Manchester to finish my university degree there (and ended up staying in the country for nothing less than 7 years!).

Learning a new language and a new culture is something that I really, really enjoy, so the fact that I have not been able to explore Italy as much due to the virus has been a bit of a downer.

However, during the last two months, things have been returning to the “new normal” and I have been able to explore a bit more what living in Italy is really like.

And I must say that there has been a few surprises along the way! I erroneously believed that the Italian lifestyle was not going to be that different to the Spanish one, but I have to admit that I was not quite right about that. In fact, what I am learning is that the lifestyle in the north of Italy at least, has quite a few commonalities with the English life-style.

Here are some of the new things that I am learning from my new host country:

Eating times

One of the things that I found most difficult when I moved to England was getting used to their eating times. Lunch was at 12 and dinner could be at anything between 5 – 8 pm. In Spain, however, our main meal would be lunch, which we would normally have around 2 – 3 pm, and dinner would be something smaller at around 9 pm. This, added to the fact that I moved to Manchester where lunch was called dinner and dinner was called tea, made eating a tiny bit more complicated than expected at the beginning. And, to my surprise, Italy has the same eating timetable than England! Luckily, I am already used to it from my experience in England and, to be honest, I much prefer this timetable to the Spanish one, but if you are coming from Spain and you are expecting the same eating times…beware!

Communication styles

In Spain, generally, we tend to be more informal in our speech and tend to be quite direct, loud and passionate. This was something that would cause confusion and misunderstanding when I first got to England. There, they tend to be much more polite, not so direct and much more quiet (unless there is a pint or two involved ;D), and so I found that my way of talking was seen as a bit rude at times, even if that was not my intention. I am now learning that in Italy they are also quite polite in their speech, specially at shops, restaurants or with people you don’t know, and since I rather not get into confusions again, I’m trying to pay special attention and use more polite language to match the Italian communication style.

Humid weather

Being originally from Madrid, which has a very continental and dry weather, I’m not used to humidity and don’t cope that well with it. In England, being the rainy island that is, humidity is a constant, and now I’m learning that the north of Italy has a very similar humid weather…but with much many more sunny days to be grateful for!

El/Il aperitivo

El aperitivo in Spain is a very common tradition where you have a little snack (tapas) with a drink just before the main meal of the day which is lunch, so it is normally taken at around 1:30 pm. In Italy though, the aperitivo is normally in the evening before dinner time and it usually involves an Italian cocktail called Spritz. So for those coming from Spain, remember to check the times if you get invited to an aperitivo!

These are only a few little nuances that I have been observing during this time, since unfortunately with the virus and without knowing many people here yet the discovery of Italian’s culture is being a bit more slow than what I would have liked to! Nevertheless, it feels good to be abroad again and I can’t wait to learn many more details of such a historical-rich culture as the Italian one! So, if you are interested in learning more about living in Italy…keep an eye on this blog. 😉

3 thoughts on “Things I have learned about Italy since moving here.

    1. Glad you found the post useful! 😀 It is a beautiful country, I’m really enjoying my stay here so I do recommend it, even more so having cousins living here! Although the situation right now does make living abroad a bit more difficult, in terms of going out to explore and meeting new people. I’m writing a post on the free resources I’m using to learn Italian, it might interest you if you decide to move here in a future, just thought I’d let you know 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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