I'm not feeling particularly negative today, but I think it's important to give a balanced view on what life's like in Milan as a foreigner. As I've been telling people for months, living in Milan is just like living in any other city in Europe at least, it's got its ups and downs; just because I'm in Italy doesn't mean that I'm constantly living the bella vita as some people would like to think.
1. It's a dirty city
I'm talking rubbish on the streets, cigarette butts everywhere, overflowing bins and people not cleaning up after their dogs. Mind where you step.
2. It's expensive to rent
I've written about this before, but it's worth emphasising. Average monthly salaries in Milan are 1000 euro, but you'll be lucky to find a bilocale (a two-roomed flat) anywhere in the city for under 800 euro a month.
3. Public transport stops early
Things have improved since Giuliano Pisapia was made mayor, finally some new night buses have been introduced. But the main form of transport in the city, the metro, still shuts at 1am on weekends and midnight on weekdays.
4. The stares
Seriously. I'm blonde-haired and blue-eyed, not an alien.
5. The people selling things on the street
I'm not talking about the dodgy bag sellers, but my gripe is mainly with the people selling books in the city centre. If I say 'No' politely I do not want to be followed down the street, that's just rude.
6. The greyness
There's been a freezing fog sat over Milan this week. Winter's very grey in general, not just fog-wise, but we don't really get much of those crisp autumn or winter days.
7. Being a pedestrian's difficult
For some reason crossings always seem to be at the stupidest places, usually right on junctions. And it's a miracle if anyone stops to let you cross.
8. Going out's expensive
I know at aperitivos you have food, but it's still the idea of paying 8 or 10 euro for a drink (even a beer at some places) that shocks me.
9. You're never left in peace
Take a hint random (and almost always middle-aged blokes) no means no, ok?
10. Chinatown's difficult to get to on public transport
The trek from the metro and the fact that the buses that pass don't go anywhere useful for me makes me a sad Nerys.