Having now lived in Italy for exactly a week, it kind of goes without saying that, even though I have totally fallen in love with the Italian way of life, I still stick out like a sore thumb. I’m sure that many others are experiencing the same feeling: that I am, sadly, just a little bit TOO British to ever pass for a true Italian – my large box of Tesco teabags in the cupboard can definitely vouch for this. Just short of a large sign around my neck that says ‘I AM ENGLISH’, here are some of my more obvious foreigner faux-pas moments.
11 Telltale Signs That You’re Still a Tourist on your Year Abroad
1. Seeing any stereotype come true makes you excited beyond belief.
It makes you feel like you’re the lead role in a cheesey rom-com. Case in point: today I saw an old Fiat 500 parked on a cobbled street. I, of course, dived straight for my camera. I also still grin like an idiot every time someone says ‘Ciao, bella’.
2. Every meal is an opportunity to eat pizza.
I know that I’m here for a year, but that definitely won’t stop me from ‘making the most of it’ and eating pizza for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and in-between snacks. N.B.: pizza with chips on top is a thing here, and I’m 1000% here for it.
3. You’re still dressed as if you’re on holiday.
It’s 18 degrees and sunny – practically bikini weather – and everyone is wearing roughly 6 layers of jumpers. How?!
4. You have to browse the menu before ordering a coffee.
I’m still not accustomed to quite how many different types of coffee there are, and everyone seems to have a regular coffee order. But, be warned: if you ask for a ‘latte’ in Italy, they will give you a glass of milk. Disappointed doesn’t even cover it.
5. You still don’t understand a thing anyone says 90% of the time.
Nodding and smiling is an underestimated response that seems to get you far. Throw in an ‘ahhh, va bene’ every so often for good measure. But, of course, this only works if you’re in Italy.
6. You drink your espresso in sips.
As someone who takes an hour to drink a cup of tea, I really do struggle with espressos. It’s basically like doing shots (which I also struggle with).
7. A Google Maps tab is constantly open on your phone in case of emergency.
I have no idea how anyone found anything before smartphones were invented. I’m not sure I’d have left Trieste airport yet without it.
8. It takes you a lot of fumbling with your keys to get into your house.
You then have to check over your shoulder in case a member of public saw that you have no clue what you’re doing.
9. It is still acceptable for you to take selfies with the monuments.
Not that I plan to stop any time soon. They’re too pretty.
10. At the supermarket, you have to Google Translate household products.
Because no one ever arrives knowing the word for ‘washing powder’ or ‘conditioner’, and we don’t want any nasty surprises in the shower.
11. The waiter in a restaurant still gives you the English menu.
Even more heartbreaking when you ask for it in Italian and your accent gives you away. However could they tell that you’re not fluent?!
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