Tuesday, May 11, 2010

This Mediterranean Life

Mediterranean sounds better than Adriatic somehow. After living here for 8 months there continue to be things about this lifestyle to which I can seem to adjust. Let me begin with the one that inspired this post:

1. The Mollusks - They are large, disconcertingly large. They come out after the rain and surround the house. Seriously I find 3 or 4 of them on our front door mat after a good rainfall as if they are just waiting for someone to enter or leave the house so they can dash in. And I do mean dash - the guys (actually I vaguely recall that they are hermaphrodites) that hang out around our house redefine the phrase "snail's pace". I left one for 30 seconds to get my camera yesterday so I could take the picture below (dollar bill for scale) and when I came back it was gone... gone... gone. And I loathe the sensation of accidentally stepping on them, though not undoubtedly as much as they loathe the sensation of being stepped on. I've only done it once but will not soon forget the sound of that crunch.

2. Never, ever being entirely dry. My body, our sheets, the laundry, the stroller, nothing in our lives is ever entirely completely dry. I actually miss the feeling of my skin cracking and peeling in the desert-like Montreal winters.

3. The Siesta - Perhaps to identify with its warmer sister cities to the south, Northern Italy respects the siesta concept. Many businesses are shut between 12.30 pm - 4.00 pm. Okay this makes sense in Sicily where one must escape the heat of day but it seemed a little strange to be as the mercury hovered below freeezing for weeks on end this winter. I know, I know, it's a whole lifestyle and this lifestyle comes with many positives, like more emphasis on family time. I am not criticizing, just saying I cannot seem to adjust. 8 months in I still take a 10 km bus ride to get to my favorite running store at 2 pm only to realize I have to kill 2 hours and have not brought any toys or snacks with me.

4. Dinner at 8. Okay, this lady is NOT a tramp but I DO get too hungry for dinner at eight. And eight is actually EARLY for dinner, it is more often eaten at 8.30 or 9 pm. I have had acquaintances call me at 8.30 pm and ask they managed to catch me before dinner... um, yeah, I actually we ate 2 HOURS ago and I am just about to go to bed. Whatever. We eat dinner when we want at home but if we are having dinner out with friends, it STILL catches me by surprise that the meeting is set for 8 pm or later. Most restaurants don't even open until 8 pm. This has been a huge money saver for us.

5. Little nothings for breakfast. I guess if one eats at 8 or 9 pm then come 7 am there is not much appetite. Most people have coffee and a teeny, tiny little sweet nothing for breakfast. A typical Italian breakfast satisfies me for about 30 seconds.


  1. I can definitely relate to some of those things here in France, especially dinner hours. I am way too hungry to wait till 8-9pm to eat and then when we go out I do not eat because I am already full and people are concerned that I do not eat at all.
    And about the mollusks- you should benefit from that and make some escargot appetizers, yummy.

  2. When you go out, I think a snack at your normal dinner time helps, then real dinner at 8 or 9 (it's more chic, admit it). Also, never tell anyone here how early you eat. They'll accuse you of living at Cattinara (the hospital)!! haha!
    You'll adjust to the closing hours at some point so much you'll be like "grocery shopping? Are you kidding? I'm sure the store's not OPEN!" at any time of the day. It's a great excuse to do anything else!!! :D