Ah, Italia, how I’ve missed you so. Just one year ago, my blog was flourishing with day-to-day posts about my 7-week stay in the birthplace of The Renaissance. 409 days later (…but who’s counting?) and I still have yet to forget Italy’s soul-stirring and heart-thumping food, landscapes, people, and art.
I’m knees-deep into my second year of studying the language, I eat pasta at least three times a week, and oh… did I forget to mention I’m dating an Italian-American who is as nuts about the boot-shaped country as I am? Yes!
Here are signs that you lived in Italy in a past life (or you’re just like me, and consider yourself spiritually Italian).
1. Everything you say is punctuated with a perfectly orchestrated hand motion. Sometimes, hands replace words entirely. Difficult boss? A shake of the fist. Don’t understand what someone wants? Purse your fingers together. Absolutely starving? Tap your tummy.
2. You dress to make an impression. Sweatpants in the grocery store is a fashion no-no, and you don’t believe in wearing sportswear unless you are at the gym.
3. Most fabulous person in the room? That’s you. But you already knew that. Your confidence is off the charts!
4. Something worth saying is worth saying loudly. “Inside voices” don’t allow room for expression. Sometimes it is hard to tell if you are yelling out of joy or anger.
5. Family comes first. Period. Holidays or events are just an excuse to celebrate together. You use dinner time to catch up and reconnect.
6. Personal space—what is that and why would you want it? In restaurants, you pick the one table next to other diners. You are not afraid to squeeze into an impossibly small space on the bus. You hug and kiss friends with abandon, and greet everyone with two kisses on the cheek.
7. Coffee is espresso. Do not underestimate the power of the dark side — the intense, sweet, brutal little vice that is an espresso sweetened with cane sugar.
8. Say no to diets. Bread, pasta, pizza: you love it all. You believe there is nothing wrong with a bit of indulgence and feel no meal is complete without a hearty helping of carbohydrates. You embrace the “perchè no?” philosophy. Would you like a second glass of wine? Why not!
9. You will literally give the shirt off your back (even if it’s Armani). You have infectious generosity and hospitality. You find yourself at the airport at 1:30 a.m. picking up a cousin’s friend that his girlfriend met in college six years ago.
10. Love is your purpose. You let yourself get totally caught up in the emotion and appreciate the beauty in the small things. Love is a critical part of the good life, but does not have to be of the romantic variety.
Italy is the place dreams are made of. You daydream about Italian vacations and buying Tuscan villas. When you can’t be there in person, you still know how to adopt Italian customs into everyday life.