Five years ago I packed my worldly possessions in a case and my battered old school backpack and boarded a plane from Bristol to Milan Malpensa. The original plan was to stay in Italy for a year or two to improve my language, and then return back to the UK to find a serious graduate job. But that never happened. The more time I stayed here the more I didn't want to leave, but I never imagined when I got on that plane that five years down the line I'd still be living in this crazy country.
And to celebrate my fifth Italianniversary, here is a list of 25 things I've learned during my time here so far!
If you're blonde, you're pretty. I've lost count of the amount of times I've been called 'bella bionda'.
Post Office workers are some of the rudest people you'll ever meet.
And if Dante were alive today one of his gironi would be an actual Post Office. Seriously.
People read books EVERYWHERE
The Italians don't know my country exists.
Never rely on the trains. Especially not on them being on time. Always have a backup plan.
Venice is quite possibly the most bonkers place on earth. And also one of the most beautiful.
Italian TV is full of people arguing or cooking. And sometimes doing both at the same time.
There are also half-naked women everywhere on TV for no apparent reason. And recently also half-naked men. (Bring them back Striscia!!)
Italians never end a phonecall with a simple ciao, it's always ciao ciaociaociao ciaociao ciao.
Milan's vintage trams are awesome.
Beware of cold drafts. They practically has the ability to kill you.
Italians are extremely supersitious.
The number 17 is the traditional unlucky number, not 13.
Italian cats have seven lives, not nine.
The fax is still very much alive and kicking.
Cake is a perfectly acceptable breakfast, especially if you're an old school mamma.
Italian clothes are tiny.
Real spreadable butter is like gold dust.
Electronic goods are so much more expensive here.
There's graffiti everywhere.
Swearing is generally much more accepted than in the UK. Blasphemy however is an absolute nono.
A lot of children go to school on Saturday. (Poor things)
Ferragosto is basically Christmas in August.
A lot of different dishes are eaten at Christmas, but everyone eats the same thing on New Year's Eve - lentils and cotecchino.