I’m currently in England for the holidays, and doing things here everyday reminded me that there there are things I’m doing here everyday that I can’t do in Italy, ever. Just as I can’t visit the Sistine Chapel in Sevenoaks, we do have some advantages over the Italians. They may pretend not to be jealous, they may say they don’t even need to eat beans on toast…but they know that they do.
1) Beans on toast. Not impossible to find these two ingredients in Italy, but the comparative difficulty of creating this essential meal in Italy earns it a place on this list. Now beans on toast with HP sauce — that’s impossible.
2) Wait in a queue. In the UK, you can be very confident that if you stand in a manner that can be considered to form a line, people will not try to bypass you. But you should see some of the attempts I’ve witnessed at Porta Nuova station. Quite beautiful in their shamelessness sometimes, actually. I take this entry back.
3) Sit in a cafe or restaurant without someone coming in and trying to sell you a flower. Notable because this has never happened to me in the UK and has never not happened to me in Turin.
4) Go into a shop and know exactly what the service/paying etiquette is. I suppose we can usually tell what do in our native country by intuition. Not quite the same when you’re out of home field. Do I ring the bell? Do I pay now, or later? Do I leave a tip? Do I understand what’s going on? The answer to all these questions: maybe.
5) Have a cappuccino in the afternoon. You can do it in Italy, but not if you want to blend in.
6) Get to a 9:00am lecture and assume that because you’ve washed, clothed, eaten, and braved the elements promptly that the professors have too. I don’t know about whether they’re washed or eaten, but they’ve likely clothed and presumably braved the elements — so why aren’t they here yet?
7) Know that the buses and trains won’t be on strike. Sure, we get strikes in the UK. They’re announced pretty far in advance though, and they aren’t every. Single. Day.
Still worth it though. Still worth it. Never wanted a cappuccino with my baked beans anyway.