You know you’re becoming Italian when…

Rome by Night - Vatican Dome Silhouette

… It’s 10.30pm and you’re still deciding where to go for dinner.

… It’s May but you’re still wearing stockings and closed shoes and a jacket because otherwise signore will look at you and shriek “troppo estivo!!”

… Instead of responding with real words your reaction to anything in life can be communicated with the elegant concision of either ‘Mah!’, ‘Beh!’ or ‘Boh!’

… Your friends ask you what you’re doing Saturday night at 8pm and you reply: “It’s too early to say. Ti faccio sapere piu’ tardi.”

… You ask other expats if they’d like to ‘take a coffee’, ‘go to the sea’, ‘take sun’ and when they ask you your age you say ‘I have __ years’.

… You type ‘hahaha’ as ‘ahahah’ and go from sounding like a normal human being laughing to a hyperventilating aroused maniac.

… You freak out when family comes to stay and after dinner they order coffee AT THE SAME TIME as the dessert.

… You know all the words to ‘Com’è bello far l’amore da Trieste in giù’.

… 4am coming out of a discoteca your tastebuds are ready for a carb hit of pizza and/or fresh baked croissants.

… You’re sweating like a pig and standing beside a pool but you feel that there’s a strong possibility you might die from hypothermia if you dipped your toe in.

… It’s Sunday, after 8pm, there’s a strike and it’s a national holiday – but your pantry is fully stocked because you ain’t no ‘what-do-you-mean-all-the-supermarkets-are-closed?’ straniero.

… Your freezer is jammed with homemade lasagna, eggplant parmigiana and pasta sauces all neatly labeled and individually packed by your boyfriend’s/girlfriend’s/flatmate’s long-suffering mamma.

… You forget what a coffee plunger looks like.

… You forget what a kettle is used for.

… Your heart rate doesn’t even waver when you take your 8th coffee for the day… at 11am.

… You start thinking that the weird green stuff they call avocado sold in a jar at Despar might be a dignified substitute for guacamole.

… You write text messages like: “Nn sn pronta. X te va bene + tardi? Tvb. Baci.”

… You’re coming around to the concept of drinking without throwing up at the end of the night.

… There’s a public holiday Tuesday and you decide you really should take Wednesday, Thursday, Friday off too… you know, because the ‘ponte‘ just makes sense.

… You own a knee-length puffy jacket that makes you look like a moon-walking snowman.

… You’ve stopped asking “where is everyone?” when there’s a partita.

… You’ve started spelling ALL English words phonetically.

… You know that ‘aperitivo‘ means you can skip dinner.

… You know that cacio e pepe is so much more than cheese and pepper pasta.

… You eat a pizza ‘back home’ and get upset about how many toppings it’s laden with.

… You’ve started believing Nutella is a food group.

… You’ve arrived at a dinner party an hour late and you feel rude because the hosts may not be ready.

… You feel you might be a bad person for walking home in your gym clothes.

… It’s 35 degrees outside but you’re concerned bad things will happen to you and your loved ones if you leave the house with slightly damp hair.

… You’re starting to believe a cream-filled glazed pastry really might be a nutritious breakfast.

… You can’t handle mozzarella if it’s not from a buffalo.

… You go to a beach and can’t emotionally deal with putting a towel ON THE SAND for free.

… You know that nice old man who could be your grandfather still thinks he’s got a chance with you.

… You’ve stopped sending out your CV and going to interviews and started attending more aperitivi as a legitimate career tactic.

… You’ve stopped asking what someone does for a living because you know there’s a 98% chance they’re an ‘avvocato’.

… You finish conversations with friends and family back home by saying you want to give them a ‘smack’, ‘a strong hug’ or ‘a fat kiss’.

… You’re out at 2am on a Sunday night and you don’t ask anyone “Don’t you all have to work tomorrow?”

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  • I would also add – when you know that anything mildly bureaucratic will require an entire off work and when you conclude nothing after standing in various queues for over 4 hours you say – pazienza!

  • Hello, Kylie 🙂
    Your article is very nice, this isn’t all Italians’ lifestyle though. Lifestyle is very different in north, middle and south Italy.
    I’m from northern Italy, we consider to be rude to be late at a party, even worse at an appointment. There is no way I arrive at a dinner party an hour late. I’d rather arrive there 30 minutes earlier. Our hosts are ready when we arrive.
    Of course there are some annoying northern Italians that love being late…we don’t like this attitude.
    We have dinner at 7 pm during the working weekend, having dinner over 9 pm is unnatural to us and if we haven’t had any dinner at 10.30 pm we’re starving.
    In May, we CAN wear whatever we want, open shoes, closed shoes, if the weather is hot, it’s insane to wear a jacket…nobody judge your clothing, but, trust me, if it’s very hot and you wear a jacket, or Autumn clothing you sound weird.
    My friends and I have clear idea about what to do in the Saturday.
    (I don’t understand the point of the pool)
    We don’t drink that much coffee, at least I don’t do it…I have a cappuccino with biscuits for breakfast, at lunch I have a coffee at the end…and that’s all. If I drunk so much coffee I’d get very nervous. Unfortunately some Italian I know drinks too much booze in disco or bars and throws up during the night (not me).
    Aperitivo, here, means you’ll have dinner. It’s called spritz, where I live.
    I’ve never had cacio e pepe.
    You CAN walking home in your gym clothes. Nobody makes you feel guilty.
    We’re not concerned about humid climate. We’re used to it, as well as pretty cold Winters.
    If you go to beaches in north-east Italy (Emilia-Romagna, Veneto, Friuli Venezia Giulia), you CAN put a towel on the sand for free. I had your same experience in Tuscany’s beaches and I was VERY shocked when I put my towel on the sand and I was told by the lifeguard I wasn’t allowed to do it…
    And…when we’re out at 2 am on Sunday night (not only Sunday, we’re out in Tuesday and Friday as well) we don’t ask each other if we have to work tomorrow…we know we have a job…we like hanging-out with our friends because life isn’t just work.
    Ciao 🙂

  • Three’s already happening. Eleven you better believe it: guess what holiday it is today and guess what the inside of my fridge looks like. Yep to fifteen but I was that way in America before I even moved here. Twenty-eight in Rome during summer is untrue; the whole city is wearing gym clothes; as an American, I was horrified first seeing this.

    Now I have succumbed and been assimilated.

    Thirty-three? Try about eighty grandpas. To thirty-seven, definitely yep.

    The rest, I am actively fighting and resisting. The entire 20th century political history of Italy is one of active resistance. We’re here in century 21, but I should fit in fine.

    Funny list!

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