Finally in Modena!
The first days in my new home for the next 5 months have gone relatively smoothly. Mainly I have tried to figure out my way through the streets of the historic city center, trying to comprehend Italian lifestyle, and trying to speak my way through restaurants, supermarkets, and coffee shops. Although difficult at first, I realize that Italians are very kind and take into consideration that you are not from town, therefore helping others struggling to speak the language find their way through. Every local who I have struck a conversation here has gotten very excited to know I have chosen their city as my destination to study and have at the same time recommended to do’s and not to do’s when it comes to Italian everyday life.
Probably one of the biggest culture shocks for me was the fact that in Italy there are different eating schedules. I figured out as the days passed that you cannot go out and eat your meals outside at any time you please. Breakfast usually comes anytime in the morning up to noon, followed by lunch which usually goes from noon to 2:30pm. After that, every restaurant closes for a few hours, and people go take the spanish version of the siesta, the ‘pisolino’. It is then followed by aperitivo, an afternoon activity meant to incentivize social interaction; aperitivo is accompanied often with a platter full of small snacks such as ham, fries, and small sandwiches, and you cannot say you had an aperitivo unless you had an aperol spriz, the well known Italian cocktail. Most Italians will have dinner after 8pm, and most restaurants will stay open late to serve it.