Okay, I have to hurry and write this before it gets too hot (I should have approximately 23 minutes) and Rome isn't quite so charmingly quirky.I have been having a difficult time here because I am unwilling to let go of my American expectations of efficiency and instant gratification( I love you America. I love your instant gratification and efficiency. I promise I will never again take you for granted.)
I want to do things and/or I want things to be done and it just doesn't happen that way here. Things happen when people get around to it and they get around to it when they feel like it.
Even a simple thing like walking is a cultural struggle. I am used to walking fast. I have things to get done. I am usually squeezing in errands between other things and so I walk fast, I eat fast, I grocery shop fast. I don't stroll, I walk at an Olympic pace. People walk very slowly here. It is not just because it is so unbelievably hot; it is because it doesn't matter when they get to where they are going. Where is there to go that one needs to rush, rush, rush? Things in the city are thousands of years old. Does time really matter so much? What is the real difference between 8:15 and 9:30?
It is an endeavour for me to adapt to this way of thinking. But if I do think about it, where was I rushing to in the States? It is one thing to be on time to pick-up John, but rushing through grocery shopping just to hurry and get home to....put away the groceries?
I have been assured that if I do not approach Roman life with a sense of humor, I will go insane.
So today I am trying to focus on the small things that have been unusual and/or amusing: the giant bin at the grocery store where patrons may scoop up the tentacles of an octopus as though it is a bins of candy or dried fruit; the whole fish and squid and other creatures of the sea that I like to view through glass at an aquarium and not behind the glass in my grocer's aisle (but which made John and I struggle to hide our horror and laughter behind our hands while people looked at us with annoyance); the way people walk their dogs in a way that they are at one end of the street and the dog is at the other(see below);
But I suspect I may eventually make peace with the Roman approach to life. For example, one of the bathroom drains in our apartment was completely clogged. After several hours of work, it is now only sort-of clogged. And I felt like reaching an only sort-of clogged drain status was a true achievement. And I haven't bothered to work on it again.