I know what you’re thinking of this headline… I’ve only been in Italy for three nights and now I think I’m Italian… On the contrary, I know very well how long it’s going to take to get immersed in this culture.
From the half-day I spent in Milan (the day I arrived in Italy), all I can really tell you is that I’ve never seen so many people wear so much black in one place… Everyone wears black – it’s clearly a Milanese thing and there is apparently not just one type of black, who knew? I guess black is the new black in Milan. You can just imagine how I popped out of the crowd with my pink jacket, but whatever, that place needs some colour…
I also couldn’t resist shopping a teensy bit on my first day. Once you walk in those streets lined with stunning shops and winter sale signs fighting for your attention, you simply have to grab a bargain or two. The buildings in Milan are absolutely fascinating. Some much older than other (the lucky ones that didn’t get bombed during the war) and I especially had to concentrate on keeping my mouth from falling open in amazement of the Duomo.
Back to getting immersed in the culture: I’ve come to the obvious conclusion that the easiest way is definitely going to be to learn this language asap, as in ASAP. These Italians do not like to speak English. Most of them are polite and try to speak English, but if I want to ‘get local’ I’ll have to make an effort. Thankfully their hand gestures make all the difference in trying to understand them, or trying to explain yourself (although, if you use them in a slightly incorrect way, you could horribly offend someone).
I started with some intensive Italian classes yesterday at Corsi di Lingue in downtown Varese which I can highly recommend. It’s also a great way to meet new people. I must admit, I still feel awkward just saying “ciao” (hello/bye) or “arrivederci” (goodbye). Don’t ask me why, but I’ll have to get over it presto! And to save me from some mishaps and social embarrassment, the friend I’m staying with lent me a hilarious book called ‘Hide this Italian Book‘ which I’m sure will come in handy.
Yes, the food and coffee is amazing but more about that later…