If you thrive off the fast-paced, high-pressured lifestyle which most big cities subject you to, then don’t even think about living in Italy; a country where the trains never run on time, shop owners enjoy three-hour lunch breaks, places close without warning and every meal is slow cooked certainly isn’t for everyone. It took me a while to adapt too, for I was initially impatient and irritated at the amount of time I felt I was wasting there, but then I gradually began to embrace what I like to call the ‘slow cooked’ way of living.
There were so many occasions during my stay in Italy where time would simply pass by without me being aware: slurping away on a Spritz and nibbling aperitivi in bars with friends, ambling along cobbled stone streets, enjoying a freshly baked pizza while watching the sun go down, practicing the language with strangers on rickety trains, sitting in the plaza and admiring handsome Italian men on the street behind a pair of shades…the list goes on and on. The place I spent the most time, however, was on the balcony of my very own apartment, where I would sunbathe and gaze out over the mountains while conversing in Italian with my dear old housemate, Tullio. Tullio is one of the kindest and most amazing people I’ve ever met, he taught me so much as well as helped me improve my Italian a great deal, and we always seemed to have plenty to talk about. We passed endless periods of time out there and, whereas it may not seem particularly exotic, when you have exceptional views and company, you really don’t feel the need to stray very far from your own living space.
As well as Tullio, I made many friends from various different countries and met a wonderful Italian family who took me under their wing and provided me with a room in exchange for taking care of their three gorgeous children. The kids liked to dress up in fancy dress costumes, sing, dance and draw and I would happily sit and mind them, assist them and compliment them on their artistic accomplishments. Indeed children require a lot of patience, especially when there are three of them and they range from the ages of two and seven, but I loved Lalo, Vicky and Sofia as if they were my own; no time spent in their company was ever dull or miserable.
My reason for going to Italy was to study at the University of Trento, which I picked for its good academic reputation, its proximity to the mountains and its size (large cities simply intimidate me too much). What I wasn’t expecting was to get a mild case of culture shock which would then transform into total acceptance of how this country runs. I stopped feeling like I was wasting time and began appreciating the small things, the times spent just enjoying the moment without feeling the need to always be ‘doing something’ and realising how being with wonderful people in a wonderful place is essentially all you need to feel satisfied.
Although I went to Italy to study Italian, I returned with not only a better knowledge of the language but of a whole new way of life; slow cooked. And I wouldn’t change that for anything.
About the Author: Camilla (Milly) Day is a lively, energetic person who tries to make the most of life. My favourite things include travelling, writing, food & wine, music, dancing and nature. I am currently working as English Content Manager for a travel agency based in Argentina, writing travel articles in English (and loving every minute of it).
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