Friday, December 2, 2011

Re-Entry After Italy Trip

One of the friends I met while in Italy returned to the USA a few weeks before I did and she talked about her "re-entry". She was also away about 3 months. I think "re-entry" is the right word. When I would come home from a regular vacation, I would be a little down for awhile but then back to my routine. As with this trip, often my luggage wouldn't show up, but would finally be returned to me. So, my luggage was delivered within 24 hours of me getting home. Seymour was really happy to be home and would run while taking his walk (as far as his leash would let him), but he also learned that when he didn't want to walk anymore, he could refuse to walk anymore unless it was to my arms - to be carried! But Seymour was thrilled to finally get his chicken tenders treat again. I surely would bring a package next time!

For me, after being away for 3 months, I got used to many things that I now miss and/or want to try to incorporate into my current life.

1. Believe it or not, I miss the language barrier I often had to deal with. I smile thinking about all of the gestures I added when trying to communicate. Most people then tried to use broken English to clarify and often we ended up with wide smiles. They did appreciate me trying to speak Italian and I appreciated when they would correct my pronounciation. It was actually a closer bond than one would have by just knowing how to speak the language. But it does make me want to get out the Italian language CDs I bought (and didn't use) before the trip.

2. I really miss the espresso. The first morning back, I tried using 2 different coffee makers and 2 different kinds of coffee to get that flavor back. Neither worked. My friend told me that there is an Italian Grocery in Austin, so I will have to stock up there.

3. I couldn't find anything I wanted to eat for breakfast the last 2 mornings. After 3 months of either pasteries or crusty bread and wonderful jam, nothing else sounded good to me. I finally made a loaf of French bread with my bread maker and got some jam. It's almost satisfying.

4. I did buy some fresh pasta and pesto that I will try out. I also saw that I can make pasta with my bread machine. Will I?

5. I found some olive oil imported from Italy as well as some Modena balsamic vinegar. I made a salad last night and it did bring back some of the memories of that wonderful flavor. Their best salad had tuna fish, fresh olives, tomatoes, and a little hard boiled egg. Not really any different from what we have here, except the olives are fresh. The olives I used last night just did not taste right. I'm sure I'll get my taste buds to ge used to them again, unfortunately.

6. I really miss walking for a purpose. I miss walking to the train or bus and walking around - even lost - to see the sites. I'm not sure how I can incorporate that back in my life here. We really do need to have better public transportation.

7. I miss walking past history - old town walls, beautiful churches, etc. Just the idea of heading to the small grocery store and passing 4 century building that are still intact or have been restored, is awe-inspiring.

8. I don't miss waiting in lines for long periods of time, but I think it has helped me be a little more patient. I hope that lasts for awhile.

9. I really miss taking Seymour in to most of the places I go and people smiling and talking to him, which opened up communication between us. I almost put him in his sling to go te grocery store here, before I remembered - - -

10. I appreciated that many people opened up to me about their feelings of world issues, including how they viewed the USA. I think it is important for us to know those feelings and then try to change them. I hope I left them with some more positive thoughts of Americans. When I saw signs like "American breakfast" and "ice" - although I sometimes craved both - it made me a little sad because I think that when you go to a different country, you should try to adapt to it.

11. I really miss the price of groceries there! I came back and had a hard time putting things in my cart because they were so expensive. $3.40 for a loaf of bread when I could get a couple crusty small loaves of bread for about 60 cents. Fruits and veggies there were also much less expensive, as was good chocolate and wine. What I did miss from the USA was the variety of foods and "stuff" we have here. And I actually missed being able to run into one store and get everything I need. I also missed finding a variety of dog food and treats in the stores. I did notice that the veterinarians sold some of the higher quality dog food. But, on the other hand, it is a bit overwhelming to go into big stores with lots of merchandise now. It is brain-overload. I think that we have too much and too many choices. It ends up that we never have enough "stuff" - and I am particularly guilty of that! I hope to change that.

12. I don't miss the stores being closed for 2-3 hours during the day. I invariably goofed around enough to finally get the shops by 1:15 pm - when they had already closed. They then opened again from about 4 pm to 6 or 7 pm, so the hours weren't that long. Some of the larger department-type stores did stay open, but those weren't the ones I wanted to shop in.

13. I miss the simplicity of life; going to the grocery store every other day or so to get what you need for the short term. Seeing people out in large groups in the city squares socializing in the evenings and especially on weekends. I saw a much stronger sense of community. You often saw young people pushing older people in wheelchairs, letting them sit in the sun and watch people. I know that part of the reason for that was financial since many homes are passed down from generation to generation and they probably all live together, but it still was nice to see. I did see one nursing home run by nuns. It was located in a very nice part of town. I personally wouldn't want to have to live with my kids, but I also wouldn't want to have to live in a nursing home, so I don't have a good solution for aging.

Overall, I have many thoughts running through my head, just trying to adapt my life to include more of what I experienced in Italy. I do hope to return.

1 comment:

  1. Susan, I am so glad that you guys are home.
    I'm glad that you had a great trip and I have really enjoyed traveling with you through the internet. what a great invention. See you in the hood. mary