When me and Stephen are joking, often I call him “my barbarian”, playing on the fact that in history Romans were considering Celts as a barbaric population. We have different uses and culture indeed, some little differences that sometimes make our story funnier, sometimes make us even argue.
For par condicio and for a laugh, here there are five things that I’m pretty sure make him think I’m the true barbarian between us 😉
- The food – Italy has a very varied and good cooking. We have thousands of different foods, recipes, from the most classical to the regional ones. Pasta, pizza, breads, sweets, even liquors and cocktails. At the beginning it was very difficult for both of us to get used to the different cooking: for him italian cooking was too heavy and strange; for me to have just only meat and vegetables was an heresy. Now we are pretty used, he cooks even italian, I eat just a plate, but still there are three things that are creeping him out: I eat raw meat (like sausage, carpaccio and dressed mince…not steaks xD), I eat cold food and I dress almost everything with oil. Also, he always says me that I’m pretentious. Oh well, Stephen, you are becoming pretentious too after two years of italian food, aren’t you? 😉
- The bidet – In Italy every house has a bidet: for us is a base of daily personal care and hygiene and something we take for granted. When we leave the country it’s a bit of a tragedy, since a lot of other nations not just only don’t use it, but they don’t have it (sigh!). So I had this problem with Northern Ireland too. The first time I went in the country I was annoyed for the apartment we rented not having it and when I booked a hotel for the last day of staying I thought that for sure there I was finding one. I mean…a hotel is an international place…but nope, no bidet even there. The fact is I found out that for us is kinda an obsession: all the italian people I know that were out of the country complained about this. So it was normal for me to ask my boyfriend how they can live without. Then the first time he came in my house in Italy I found that he doesn’t even know how to use it. Not just this: we have opposite ways of thinking on this story. For me it’s something that makes me feel uncomfortable, for him is just something weird, even a bit disgusting: what’s our problem with being obsessed with this? Can’t we just have a shower every day? In time we reached a compromise: if we will ever go to live together in Northern Ireland, for my mental health we will place a bidet in the house.
- To openly complain about things – When we started to see each other, for me those were the first times I was meeting the Anglo-Saxon world. So, obviously, I was acting like an italian, but in a completely different society, with other uses and ways of relating and acting with each others. In Italy I’m a very polite and good-mannered person, but we all know that sometimes you have to be a bit rough to have what you ask for. It’s part of our manners, we are more hot-tempered with each others and we have different limits regarding politeness. Now, after two years with Stephen, I know that he solves even the worst situations with calm and kind manners. I admit that sometimes I was about to take the phone from his hands and starting to scream, for example, at the bank messing with his things and taking ages to put them back to normality. But it seems that in Ireland and UK it pays more to be “zen”, so I go to put my head in the pillow and scream instead of doing what I would want. Nonetheless, first times I visited him I was continously embarassing him (even if he is too much polite to say me clearly 😉 ): in London, as he was calmly cursing our fate in the street, I insisted to go back in the hotel to complain for our taxi not coming (they were also talking with another client, I think Stevie will consider me guilty for this outrage forever xD); in Northern Ireland I complained loudly because at the restaurant, not only we didn’t have the tablecloth *orrore!*, but the table was dirty and the waitress didn’t care at all (in Italy that’s the harbinger for being fired); and every time – I mean, EVERY TIME – I decide to have a coffee out, I start my “coffee review”: I ask for a short espresso, that will always arrive at my table in the form of an infernal watery broth and I complain about the place cheating on me since they wrote that they make “italian coffee” when it’s not true. I’m sorry, I can’t help my faith in mankind, but it continously gamble on me. [Also, since I started, I have a message for Dublin Airport: about that horrible, expensive thing you call “espresso” when it’s just brown water: for all that money, if I didn’t have what I asked for, at least I payed for sure my right to complain (it’s the use of my city, but I’ll talk about this another time) 😛 ]
- The jealousy – Italians are mostly passionate people. For us, being hot-tempered, jealousy in a love story is not really a surprise (sadly, we have even problems with the number of passion crimes committed in our country). Plus: I am from a city of the North, where people are socially closed, but sicilian blood flows in my veins too (The Godfather…do you remember? It’s not a case if the Trilogy is at the top of my favourites 😉 ). Irish people are very social: it’s incredible how they can sit, talk, joke without problems with people they just met. They are more “physical” than us, too: they hug each other with big hugs that to me are very weird. Also, Stevie seems to not know the exact meaning of the word “jealousy”. Now, take all these informations I just wrote, mix them together, shake and…think of the result. I become instantly the devil that keeps him in a true, daily hell. On my side, for us jealousy is so normal that the right amount of it makes us feel that the relationship is healty, so sometimes we argue because I think he doesn’t care about me. By the way, the fact is he doesn’t know that I’m very low/averagely jealous for being an italian woman 😀
- The drama – Irish people take things with a (for me) very strange life philosophy. If we have to recap it in few words, it’s, in any case, “dont’ worry“. Stephen is exactly like that: I always say that one of the things that I love of him, probably even because I can’t understand it, is that he wakes up every morning *with the rain or with the sun, in trouble or not, whatever is happening in the rest of his life* smiling. I mean, every morning, I’m not joking! On the other hand when I wake up in the morning, before the first coffee it’s better I don’t even see you around. After that, you are lucky if I don’t bite you as you talk. What has him to smile every morning? What that smile is about?!? Ecco. We are at the core of the problem. I’m overdramatic: I’m in Italy, I curse the heat. I’m in Ireland, I curse the rain. Good food, I’ll die fat. Bad food, I’ll die sad. Friends telling me a word too much that day, I’ll die alone. Clothes are not fitting my wardrobe, my life is a continue pain. I love my work but, if I really think about it, I hate it. I can continue for years, if I want. All is a drama, a sure tragedy, a sign of my life going to end bad…for two hours, then I forget about it xD But that’s enough: he always says that before meeting me he didn’t even know what anxiety was; now he does.
There would be a thousand more weird differences between us that are making him think I’m mental, unpolite…and maybe a bit barbarian, yes. But unluckily now I have to go setting up my next tragedy, we will talk about those another time 😉