One of the first things you get to know when you learn a foreign language is how to greet people and ask them how they are. Typical things that can have a different outcome depending on the country.
For example in Poland you risk hearing a whole bunch of complaints on how the world is unfair, the government sucks, the prices are too high and the salaries too low. Alternatively you might also hear a story of an entire family of the person you asked with a simple jak leci? (“how is it going?”).
In Italy I noticed that once you ask someone come va? in response, except of the customary bene (“good”), you can hear also… sono stanco/a (“I’m tired”). I mean, I can understand this answer if the person is asked in the afternoon/evening, because you have all the right to be worn out after a day of work, but why, WHY do people tell me they are tired in the very beginning of the day? No matter what day of the week it is, what hour, if they actually did something before or just slept until 12pm, they are ALWAYS tired…
Ok, sometimes, if you haven’t slept well or enough, you can feel like that. But if the same person tells me the same thing everyday in the morning, there is something wrong here, seriously.
Dear Italian friends, what do you do, that you are always so tired?
Before all this started I was considering travelling to Italy with my own car (and using it here afterwards). In the end I decided not to do it because of various reasons (one of them being the craziness of Italian traffic), but since I love to drive a car and I can’t help noticing everything on the road, I pay a lot of attention to many different details, comparing the rules and customs to the Polish ones.
One of the pecularities that I noticed first were the traffic lights. Well, there’s nothing odd about them, they are the same as in Poland: green, yellow and red (and in theory they also mean the same, even though people here don’t seem to care if it’s red or green…), but what caught my attention was something else.
Ok, so, when you approach the crossroad with traffic lights and they are about to change from green to red, it normally goes like this: you have green, then it changes to yellow to let you know that in a couple of seconds it will be red and you should already stop breaking. And it’s the same both in Italy and Poland (also with the detail of everyone crossing on yellow instead of slowing down).
Now the opposite situation: when you are waiting for the lights to change from red to green. In Poland it goes like this: you have red, then along with the red the yellow turns on to make you aware of the approaching change to green. In this time you get prepared, so that you can move smoothly when the green turns on. To illustrate:
In Italy they made it simpler: you have red and then, when it’s time to go, green. Like this:
There won’t be any brilliant conclusion to those observations, sorry. For the usual traffic in both countries, it doesn’t really make any difference: you see green, you go.
Just that probably the Italians are saving some money on the light bulbs for the yellow light.
It has been completely crazy this past two weeks. Not only was I flooded by work of different kind, but I also had some serious health problems with a tooth that led me to root canal treatment (and also to some interesting discoveries about my coordinating and host organisations). I haven’t really had time yet to have a proper walk around the city center of Bologna, but I painted some rooms, fixed some bikes, made a couple of flyers, help to organize some parties and code a newsletter. And I also attended a pretty interesting festival in the end of October as a journalist. It was Gender Bender Festival and I hope to have some articles about it published within short time (probably in English, but possibly also in Italian).
But I have to say that one of the things I appreciate most about being here (even though recently I had to face very challenging situations and deal with serious problems that might have made me doubt this whole EVS thing for a second) is the fact that I can just go to the supermarket right outside of my place and buy some prosciutto di Parma, parmigiano or olives and not pay as much as I would if I wanted to do the same in Poland (not to mention that it can be hard to find prosciutto crudo or parmigiano in a random Polish grocery shop/supermarket).
Yep, the food is for real one of the best things about Italy.
If you would ever need a private dentist in Bologna, I can recommend you the one I went to after I was told at the public hospital that they will not treat me, because I’m not an Italian citizen.