LIFE/Zelda Elisco: Lessons I have Learned from Italians

I am embarking on my final month abroad! As I am departing in May, the next few weeks are going to my last here in Viterbo, at least for the time being. The day I return to America will be one of great sadness, however, I will always have the many wonderful memories I made here and the friendships I’ve kept.I decided it would be a good idea to write down some of the most important lesson’s and rules I have learned while living abroad, but more importantly what I have learned from the Italian people. My love and admiration for the Italian people and their way of life has only blossomed and grown while living amongst them for the past nine months.

1. The first lesson I have learned living in Italy is that it is okay to be late. Italians take time commitments as merely a suggestion. If class starts at noon, you can expect the teacher to arrive around 1:15, sometimes longer. I have grown to love this aspect of the Italian lifestyle, due to the fact that I rarely wake up on time and am regularly running late to everything.

2. Cappuccino’s afternoon are seriously frowned upon, however, I like to live life on the edge and indulge every one and while.

3. Italian’s, for the most part, do not have an interest in American-style processed candy and sweets. For holidays, a baked cake or bread is the highlight of dessert, always accompanied by some sort of Nutella. In my experience, I have often heard that American candies are much too sweet and artificial tasting.

4. It is not socially acceptable for women to leave the house with their hair wet. I believe this stems from the theory that one will catch a cold with wet hair outside, but I also believe that the Italian’s believe it is unfashionable.

5. Large American style breakfast’s are not a common routine during the Italian morning, instead a small cornetta or pastry with a coffee will suffice.

6. Worried about getting a driving ticket for speeding through a red light? Don’t worry, Italian’s interpret traffic laws as light suggestions.

7. A wonderful perk to ordering coffee in Italy is not having to pay before you have drank your beverage. In contrast to American style coffee shops where the costumer pays upon ordering, Italians prefer to enjoy their drink in leisure and pay after.

8. Lastly, living with an Italian host family has taught me many valuable lessons, however, one that I still forget sometimes is the importance of separating courses by eating on clean dishes. The logic behind this idea is that upon each new course you should start with a clean dish, as to not mix flavors. However, I have come to realize that many styles of food I used to enjoy in America would go against the “plate mixing” rule.

Zelda is an Environmental Science student from California who is currently studying abroad in Italy. In her free time, she enjoys cooking, photography and painting. In addition to attending school in Italy, she also manages a travel blog where she documents her experience abroad and discusses culture, food, and her adventures.
Zelda è un’americana della California. Studia Environmental Science e abita in Italia. Quando ha del tempo libero, le piace cucinare, fotografare e dipingere. Inoltre ha un blog, dove descrive la sua vita in Italia.