Quick Update From Italy

The Duomo, Florence’s main cathedral.

I am not yet in Munich, but couldn’t help but post again. Besides, I have been wondering why most of Oktoberfest is actually in September. Deciding to be more literal, I booked my Oktoberfest trip for this upcoming weekend in the month of October.

I am immensely jealous that both presidential candidates campaigned on Cane grounds and that this year’s Homecoming concert will feature Lupe Fiasco while I am abroad. But I am finally adapting to Italian culture and beginning to feel as if Rome is my new home. Besides the fact that it is difficult to find restaurants that offer cuisines other than Italian (had my first sushi meal here this week … an extremely rare find here), and that I have been told off a few times for “running” when I feel as if I am practically walking backwards, I do not feel that Italian culture is TOO far off from my own. They listen to American music (the “Whistle” song by Flo Rida seems to be their overplayed mega-hit) and they are very tuned in to American politics. Here are my updated notes on American perceptions of Europeans, European perceptions of Americans, and how our customs clash:

  • Italians for the most part, think Obama made too many promises he could not keep, and that he disappointed many people. For them though, the answer is NOT to turn to Romney, but to give our incumbent candidate four more years to show them what he’s got (although many of my study abroad friends like to debate this political stance, I am pleased to agree with the locals).
  • Italian men are not like the ones in “Jersey Shore.” In fact, if you come across a buff guy in Rome, chances are they are not Italian. However, Italian men do come on to women … STRONG. They stare until we are out of site, become a little too touchy a little too fast, and are much more determined than any drunken frat boy we are used to shooing away. (Note: Most American women think it is creepy, and Italian women who have been dealing with it their whole lives, do not give men the time of day. If you are a male study abroad student in Italy seeking an Italian woman … good luck).
  • We Americans are vulnerable and not as street-smart as we may think. Rome is not known to be a city with much violent crime, but it does have a fair share of pick-pocket thieves. Protect your wallets here much more than you keep an eye on your iPhone at Mansion. The pick-pockets in Rome and other parts of Italy are professionals; you never know when somebody might be stealing your money and, accidentally, your passport. The U.S. Embassy  in Rome always has a line of angry Americans outside waiting to report a stolen passport. Be aware of your surroundings in crowded public areas, do not wear cross-body bags, and these days … even be careful when visiting your own embassy.

I have now seen even more of Italy, including Florence which is a smaller-town feel, and very nice. I am a city girl though, so the fact that I still have yet to see half of Rome does not bother me. I have two and a half more months of eye-opening, mind-blowing sightseeing and travel time – beginning with my after-school activity tomorrow: Oktoberfest.

Wish me luck!