Living here has been so exciting. I haven't been able to get over the ... shock ... of living outside of the United States. I wanted to take this post and talk about some things that I miss and don't miss.
Things I miss:
- I, of course, miss my family.
- I miss my friends.
- I miss having a car, but not for the capitalist/globalization reason. I miss being able to control my own fate, so to speak. Even going to the mall which is quite far from public transport is a hassle. It involves a lot of planning or asking a friend to take me. There's nothing wrong with planning, but it is an adjustment.
- I miss the centralization of things. What do I mean? Imagine you want to buy five things: a frying pan, a mop, some pens, milk, and some socks. As an American, where would you go? You obviously would go to as few places as possible. You could probably buy all of those things at Target if you weren't obsessed with the brand that you were buying. Maybe two places if there were special socks you wanted. Here, I would have to go to five different places (maybe four, at the grocery store they sell mops). A quick "run" to get errands turns into a big project. Sometimes that can be fun, but when you have hundreds of pages to read...it's not always the best plan of attack :)
Things I DON'T miss:
- Americans in the generic sense: sometimes Americans are so obtuse and narrow-minded. I have been following the elections, and sometimes I will watch news video and read stories and just see how friggin' ridiculous everyone acts. People say Italians are rude, but I think that Americans take the cake sometimes.
- Overpriced health care/insurance: in Italy, health care things are SOOOOOOOOOOOO cheap. Sometimes you don't even pay. I had to buy aspirin...barely a dollar. Other medications are reasonably priced. It's rare to pay anything more than $20-30 for medication, at least the things that I have had to buy. I can't imagine ever going back to that the health care hell that is the United States. I have a private insurance plan, and I pay $400 a year. That's pretty damn sweet, and I don't even have a job and there's no employer subsidizing my health insurance.
- Car insurance/buying gas: I like not having a car because I hate buying gas and paying for car insurance.
- American bigness: I don't mean fat people. I mean the bigness of everything. Go to a supermarket here in Italy, and they only sell things that people buy. You don't have long long aisles for of processed crap. No one would buy it. People go into Italian markets and they buy healthy food. Pasta, tomatoes, crushed tomatoes, vegetables, fruit, yogurt, fresh meat. Most of the store is perishable stuff. The cereal aisle...doesn't exist. All the cereal for sale is crammed in with the other grain type stuff. Juices are juices. None of this mixture of water, concentrate, and lots of fake, engineered sugars. It's funny when I first came here I found that all the food tasted funny...but it wasn't the food it was me.
- Overpriced wine: I bought a brand of wine here that I used to buy there. It's $4 here. It's $14 in the USA.
Today someone asked me if I wanted to go back to the USA or stay here and try to find work and make it work. I don't know what my future holds, but I really do like living here, despite the problems.