My first impressions of Italy & Italians in general wasn’t great. I thought they were loud. They are. I thought they were obsessed with their own beauty, country or otherwise. They are. I thought they were obsessed with “their” food. They are. In fact, I already told you in a previous post that my brother-in-law was so bemused my preference of Indian food over Italian, and my preference over Buenos Aires to Bologna, that he hasn’t spoken to me since!
As mine and the Italians relationship grew, I started to notice little things that increasingly annoyed me. There were traits in his character that were just, well, odd.
For example, he would never, EVER, eat a meal without having a serviette by his plate. If there wasn’t one, he would rather his meal go cold whilst he got one than start eating a hot meal without it. He thought I was odd for not using a serviette.
“You’a need it’a for cleaning’a you’re mouth’a” he told me. Yes, that would be true if I missed my mouth and got my food all over my chin like he did.
After five years of being together and almost two of those married, I now realise how important the use of a serviette is.
Italian food consists of so much spaghetti sucking, sauce splashing and olive oil dripping that without a serviette to mop up the aftermath, Italy would be one messy place!
I, like any good Italian wife, now provide a serviette at every meal.
Still on the wiping topic, our kitchen is always full of cloths and tea towels. To this day, it drives me totally insane. The reason, the Italian claims, is because you shouldn’t wipe the work top with the same cloth you washed the dishes with. You shouldn’t dry your hands with the same tea towel that you dried the dishes with. Therefore multiples of everything is required. It’s the same in his mothers house, every cloth has a purpose and woe betide if you use the wrong cloth by mistake!
After all this time I have grown to accept, maybe not yet love, the nuances that make our cross cultural relationship different. The little things no longer annoy me but every now and again I feel it’s my right to have a rant about the things that make us who we are.
I have grown to adore Italy and much to the Italian’s delight, I now see it is my second home. I love the people (mostly), I love the food and I love the culture. I especially have fallen in love with and have adopted the Italian sense of family values.
I want Bambina to grow up embracing her two cultures and understanding that the differences are what makes our little family unique.
I’m pleased to say that I was mistaken about Italy and its race all those years ago.
First impressions don’t count!
* Check out this picture on my Pinterest board, La Mia Bella Cucina