I've been sort of quasi-tagged for a meme by Mr. Diego, a "just over thirty-something" Roman journalist with a blog that, IMHO, would be worth learning Italian for, because it is just plain hilarious. Mr. Diego, being a journalist, has a real way with words. His intelligent and quirky outlook on things includes an occasional glance and questioning look at daily life in Rome. In fact, I made his virtual acquaintance when I bumped into him while doing some research for my knife-sharpener post. Definitely one of our quirkier aspects of life here. And in terms of his keen eye for the strange (hence the "Dr. StranoWeb" name): I mean, people, one of his most recent posts was part of his running series on "strange jobs," profiling the profession, if we can even call it that, of "armpit smellers." And yes, much to your dismay, there is photographic evidence. Comic gold, no?
But I digress. Mr. Diego has abandoned his faithful Italian-language readers for just one post by writing about this meme in English. He spent considerable time in the US as an expat and as such decided to share the five things he misses most about his time in the States. Not one to shy away from a friendly invitation, I now bring you mine. I invite any and all other expats to participate as well, and feel free to shamelessly promote your posts for this meme in the comments section.
So, let's begin, shall we?
In position number 1, we have the faithful Kenmore dryer.
Oh, how I miss you, Mr. Kenmore! You do realize that the lack of your presence in my Roman life means I am reduced to draping my thicker clothing items over the radiators in my house? Disgraceful. And I have also been forced to become much more calculated in my clothes laundering habits. I.e., need those jeans for Friday night? Ok, must wash them on Tuesday. Aarrgh. I'll never forget when I was learning Italian and I asked Ale something about a dryer. Probably never having actually seen one, or perhaps even heard about one, he didn't know the word for it off-hand in Italian. I had to describe the appliance in my pidgin Italian. "You know, like a big box that blows hot air, like a hair dryer, but for clothes?" Mystery solved: asciugatrice. It's a luxury item. How you measure when you've "arrived." Expensive electricity.
Taking up spot number 2, we have the phenomenon of 24/7.
I'll admit, this one is a blessing and a curse. On the one hand, the lack of being able to get almost any retail item at any hour is part of the charm of Italy. Less consumeristic culture means more of a focus on the "important things in life." Or does it? I miss being able to just hop in my car and run to the store whenever I need something, instead of having permanent anxiety about planning my shopping so it doesn't coincide with the hours of about noon to 4 pm. I'll admit it, I do miss super stores with everything under one roof. I miss convenience, yes, indeedy I do. But, I have learned the virtue of patience and weened myself off the credit cards, so it has been a positive trade-off.
Numero tres, cocina mexicana:
I love me some Mexican food. There are a couple Mexican restaurants I know of here in Rome, but they are mucho expensive and just not the same as the mammoth-sized plates you see here, that, let's be honest, are really the hallmark of all US cuisine nowadays, not just Mexican. More chips and salsa? Yes, please! Did you know that here in Italy it is none other than Uncle Ben who produces salsa and tortillas? That's right, Mr. Rice King himself. And of course I would be amiss if I didn't add 3a., like many fellow expats: cheddar cheese. I tried making a taco dinner here once and when I said I needed cheddar cheese (before I knew it doesn't really exist in Italy unless you find a rare specialty shop), and described what it was like, I was accosted by the response: "Orange-colored cheese cannot POSSIBLY be found in nature." So? It's good.
Numero quattro, the bird:
Thanksgiving was definitely a holiday I took for granted when I lived in the States. Once I realized that my move away from the States had become more or less permanent for the time being, Thanksgiving became a symbol for all my family and friends that I missed. When I used to work with US university study abroad students here in Rome, we would organize an authentic-as-possible Thanksgiving Dinner each year. Can't tell you the looks we used to get from the waiters when they'd bring out "the bird" (complimenti, by the way, to the Italians for humoring us on this one) and all the students broke out their cameras and started taking pictures. With all those flashbulbs going off on Tom the Turkey, I was thinking I should be saying something to him, like, "Work it, work it... good! Now, show me ANGER! You've been cooked for Thanksgiving dinner, you're mad... fabulous! Now, give me sexy!" It was really too much, but I had to smile because it's one of those traditions that is truly American.
And, of course number 5, last but certainly not least, is obviously for me my friends and family! Don't really have any blogging relatives that I can steer you towards, but I hope you have all checked in on African Kelli and Finny Knits, my best gal pals who I miss dearly but thanks to technology am able to keep up with.
Well folks, there it is, I did it. It was inevitable, sooner or later you're asked to share these things.
What do you miss about your home country, if you're an expat? If you're not, what things from your home country do you think you couldn't live without if you moved to another country?