This week has been somewhat of a turning point for my time in Milan. October has arrived, and so has the colder weather, the final flock of mosquito’s and the homesickness that was bound to hit sooner or later (time for a bit of a rant) .
I’ve now lived in Italy for around 5 weeks and despite the time absolutely flying, the novelty of it has worn off a little. Back at my university in the UK, in the prep leading to the transition to study abroad, we were warned about this very moment. After the initial high comes a monumental low and there really is no escaping it. Everyone has shit days, sure, but my new-found lack of patience with Italian culture is becoming very very annoying. I’m very much hoping this is temporary!
Being British, there are certain habits that I just can’t seem to get out of, even more that I can’t get into and aspects of Italian life that i just don’t understand in the slightest. So:
- Queuing. Doesn’t seem to exist here. A concept that I’m finding very difficult to deal with.
- Manners. Also don’t appear to exist.. although i think this may just be Milan. Saying please and thank you or holding the door for someone may be the norm back home but it’s very much not the case here.
- Cups of tea. Try ordering one in a coffee shop. Go on, i dare yahhh… (very rare to come across.. just FYI).
- 8.45am lectures. Lecturers are never on time, like, ever. They usually wander in to teach the class somewhere around 9.10… Except that one morning you have a little extra sleep and turn up at 9, only to be greeted with a look of disgust. Can’t win.
- Opening hours. Lunch breaks between lectures are pretty common, and a very handy time to get all your admin done. However, no prizes for guessing what time the admin building closes…
- The WHOLE Italian culture is just bizarre. This twitter feed seems to sum me up perfectly, and here it’s the COMPLETE opposite
I’d consider myself a pretty patient person (try playing volleyball enthusiastically for two hours with 8 year olds at a summer camp where EVERY ball hits the net – no volley at all), but this is just something else.
October seems to be the month where everything starts getting a bit more real. Fresher’s weeks/fortnights are finished, deadlines and midterm exams are looming and the weather is getting a little bit shit. (Weather chat – typical Brit). Despite all the little things that get on my nerves from time to time, I know that the year abroad experience is a once in a lifetime experience and I know the skills and experience I’ll get from it will be so beneficial when i go back home next summer…
I also know i’m not the only one getting frustrated and missing home. A lot of friends on their year abroad are also feeling the stress, and to be honest, i’m kind of glad. There really is nothing like a good whine on Skype to vent frustrations, and the past few days I’ve accepted that this is the way it is, and to just sit down, shut up and get on with it :’)
By the end of the year i’m sure i’ll have the patience of a saint and the determination to get through every frustrating situation under the sun. #win.
Any tips on embracing a new culture would be very much appreciated. Really, anything at all!