Culture Shock Lesson #174Siena, Spring 2009

  1. Don’t talk loud on any mode of public transportation. Especially not when you’re talking in English. Most especially, do not dance or sing on a train (but that’s neither here nor there).

  2. If said mode of public transportation is late, get used to it. Time is incredibly relative in Italy.

  3. Notice and appreciate the old men and women who occasionally carry around bunches of flowers.

  4. Follow this mandatory rule: on a sunny day, go for a walk or run. Even if it means not doing your homework.

  5. Eat gelato every day, twice a day if you feel like it.

  6. Since you’re eating so much gelato, try every flavor. Mix and match strange things.

  7. But…tiramisù and chocolate gelato is the jam.

  8. Travel as much as possible, but always be thankful to return to a home-cooked meal and your family.

  9. Never forget that Siena is better than any other city in Italy. Most especially Florence.

  10. To save lunch money, eat gelato for lunch. A cone of gelato costs roughly 2 Euros, whereas a sandwich costs around 3.50 Euros. See # 5, and you’ve “earned” yourself a lot of Euros.

  11. Sometimes hang out with only Italians. If you would prefer constantly surrounding yourself with other Americans, stay in America.

  12. Try to ask questions and/or directions in Italian. Even if you speak poorly, they’ll appreciate it more than you know.

  13. Go to a discoteca, but don’t wear a turtleneck. Wear sequins.

  14. Don’t be a typical loud, obnoxious American. We’re not loved as much as we like to think we are worldwide, so don’t make it any worse.

  15. Try every type of food you’re offered.

  16. Even if you think you can play the “dumb American” card and get out of a 40 Euro bus fine for not having a ticket, you can’t.

  17. Understand that “no” to an Italian Stallion really just means “try harder.”

  18. Americans “live to work.” Italians “work to live.”

  19. If you want to hear English on every street corner, go to a big city. If you want to be enveloped in real Italian culture, live in a smaller town.

  20. People-watch. It’s fun.

  21. Embrace the differences between the cultures and don’t try to Americanize Italy. It’s already Americanized way too much.

  22. Make friends with a pizzeria owner. He’ll yell “Ciao” to you from across the grocery store until you realize he’s trying to get your attention.

  23. If you can climb to the top of a building, do it.

  24. Enjoy every single second and if you get sad that time is almost up, be thankful that you had such a life-altering experience that you’re this sad to say goodbye.

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1 Comment

  1. 17.Understand that “no” to an Italian Stallion really just means “try harder.”

    Remember that last night at Barone Rosso???

    Miss you lots, Aaron

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