I have been loving Top Ten lists since my husband bought me Nick Hornby’s High Fidelity. It was our first date and I’ve been loving him since then (my husband, but also Nick Hornby, but in a different way). In this gloomy March day while waiting for a snow storm I’m having fun thinking about things I miss and things I don’t miss about Italy. Not necessarily in order of importance. Not necessarily a serious post.
Ten Things I Miss About Italy
Mozzarella (please, don’t call it mozzarella cheese) – Help me understand: of the MILLIONS of Italians who emigrated to Canada since Caboto… not a single one knew how to make a proper mozzarella and took the secret with him in the New World? Not even ONE?
Mulino Bianco™ biscotti – I’m not talking about “cookies”, that are too sweet and taste too much like butter. I’m talking about friable, crunchy, delicious biscuits perfect to dip in milk/tea for breakfast (YES. SWEET BREAKFAST).
Friends&Family – I do have good friends in Canada, but what I mean here is long-time friends you grew up with. Personally, most of mines are all living abroad (Spain, Sweden, Switzerland). Family to visit during the weekend, to be close to in case of need, to spend holidays with. Somebody who comes when the kids are sick or when you just need them.
Beauty – too difficult to describe. Just damned beauty everywhere.
Bologna – my adoptive city, my crazy University life city, a vibrant colourful incredible place that will always be in my heart.
Bidet – If you ask ANY Italian abroad, he/she will include it in the things he/she misses most. It’s just cultural, I won’t say anything else. I just can’t believe Italy is the only country to use it.
Ryanair – Wanna go anywhere in Europe? Fly low cost with Ryanair. If you don’t mind military-style rules about cabin baggage, miniature space for your legs and expensive snacks, you can go everywhere!
Concerts – You know concerts? Those things you buy a ticket for and just go? Not like in Toronto where you see a concert billboard and try to buy tickets and regularly find everything sold out or in re-sale for crazy prices.
Warm weather – Spring in March. Winter goes on for about 15 days and still feels like March in Canada.
Wine and where to buy it – Good and cheap bottles of wine with a proper cork. An incredible variety of them to buy in every grocery store, deli, bar, souvenir store, gas station,… And no, we’re not all alcoholics because of this.
Ten Things I DON’T Miss About Italy
Bureaucracy – I hear Canadians complaining about Canadian bureaucracy. They’re so cute. Italians INVENTED bureaucracy during the Roman Empire and probably some paperwork is still being processed from that time.
Selfishness – Generally I see in Canada a stronger sense of community. Of belonging to the same neighbourhood, the same school, the same club. The only time when Italians are united is when the national soccer team plays.
Politics – See bureaucracy. Probably some politicians are still there since the Roman Empire.
Organised crime – Pizza, mandolino and… mafia! It really hurts to hear that word associated with Italians. It’s a disgusting organisation difficult to destroy. Luckily, there are brave women and men fighting against it.
Warm weather – I know I included it in “things I miss”. But think about 40° for 3 months and having to go to work and not having A/C or free pools.
Catholic Church – Gay marriages? NO! Remove the crucifix from public (and laic) schools and workplaces? NO! Living will? NO! Marriage for priests? NO! Investigation on sex abuse cases? …
Pollution – especially during the winter, Italian cities experience a crazy air pollution. After almost 3 years in Toronto I found Air pollution in Bologna quite intolerable.
Earthquakes – The idea that it can happen at any time and the relief of knowing Ontario is geologically dead.
Work – or the idea of it. Everyone is on a fixed-term contract. When you finally become the chosen one with a permanent job, you don’t change it. Ever.
TV – sooo sooo bad. Not that Canadian TV is that better (except for Peter Mansbridge and TVO of course).