Natasha's notes - the first days in Rome Life & Style

1/5/2009 by Natasha Sanch United States

I've always loved Italy. Ever since I can remember, pockets of Italian culture would show up in my very-American, east-coast lifestyle. Sundays, my mom would listen to Neapolitan music while stirring the pot of tomato sauce. She had spent some time in Napoli in the 1960s, and so all of the Italian music I'm accustomed to hearing just so happens to be Massimo Ranieri, Patti Pravo and, the ever-mournful, Luigi Tenco. Throughout my early childhood, I promised myself that I would one day make it out to that special place that looked like a boot.
Yet, the idea of Italy that I grew up with and the actual reality of everyday life here are completely different. I arrived in Rome last August out of a direct flight from Miami. I was in flip flops, a short skirt and a tank top native Miamian attire, you could say. I had a lot to learn about Italian dress style. I had watched enough Fellini movies to understand that to appear like a 'cool Roman', all I had to do was wear Chanel and a lot of eye liner. Thankfully, one of my Italian cousins took me aside and explained to me that not everyone dressed like a Fellini movie. At least not on the weekdays. Taking off my flip-flops and putting on Etam boots was my first lesson as an expat.
Since that August, I have not worn flip-flops out in public, even though there were days in September that I swear, I could see the walls sweating. I've learned that taxi drivers are the bane of my existence, even though every now and then I'll have an encounter with one of them that challenges my prejudice. I've noticed that coming across fellow Americans in Rome can be either incredibly annoying or welcoming- depending on whether the encounter is via a tour bus or at the FriendsinRome group. But as an expat, the most deepening experience has not been what I've experienced, but what others have experienced through me.
The fact is- I'm not just any person while I'm Rome, I'm an American. The opportunity to describe where I'm from- and my own cultures and traditions - has made me appreciate my little city in South Florida in ways I didn't expect. An expat's life is as much describing the lifestyle we left as it is living in the lifestyle we've chosen.
I hope to continue to enjoy life in the Eternal City. Please feel free to ask me any questions about life as an Italian, Polish, German and Ukrainian-American living in Rome. I've got stories, and this blog has only just begun.
Love to all

Natasha Sanch United States

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