Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Two Italys

The first is the one that people want to see on vacation and the one they want to remember. It is that Italy of small villages perched on hilltops where everyone is happy, drinking an umbra (a shadow or small glass of wine) in the piazza, shopping for fresh seasonable vegetables everyday, squeezing their own olive oil, and doing most of what they have to do without a car. There are people in Italy who actually do live like this. For some it's a life style decision and for others it's just the way their life has always been.

But I see most Italians living a much different life, a life not so different from the life one would find in the US. We for example live in a city of 35,000 which is rated one of the best in Italy to raise children and has one of the best records for environmental issues. There are many physical differences from the US, people live mostly in apartments, roads are narrow, parking is difficult, walking is an acknowledged means of transportation, etc. But otherwise life is very similar. The soccer mom is predominant, kids are expected to participate in at least one sport while taking lessons in another, they take after school music lessons and generally keep their parents busy driving them to and fro. Major grocery shopping is done in the supermarket, clothes are bought in malls at department stores, people drive to work and go out of town to find better prices if they can. And there are outlet malls. I'm telling you there are some huge ones that funny as it may seem have the same pseudo Italian style architecture as the ones in the US. The biggest I've seen is in Tuscany the heart of the picturesque Italian country side.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

It's a Beautiful Day

It's a beautiful sunny day here in Belluno and the temperature is already a warm 5 deg. C. Some might not call that warm but it's all relative. Tomorrow Giovanni has a race at Allege so I think this afternoon we will drive the camper up there and spend the night. At least this time the race is in the area where we have our ski passes so we can all ski together after the race. And finally it seems that we are all more or less well. It's been a rough winter since before Christmas with a cycle of viruses hitting us all. Luisa and I had a cough like I've never had in my life. I suspect some new virus that no one wants to talk about.

Friday, February 18, 2011

It's The Simple Life

Well I read a long post on a Facebook friends blog today which is the kind of stuff that most people love to read about life in Italy. It's all about how a person can give up the fast paced life in the US and move to Italy a country where people live a much simpler, back to real values kind of life style. I have to say that from my point of view this is really a crock. What it is really about is giving up the lifestyle that most people around the world aspire to and living like a poor person. Being poor is not necessarily a bad thing if one has at least the basics and a good attitude about it. That is if one can accept the simpler things in life and be happy then it's fine.

But I can assure you that most Italians would happily give up the wonders of the simple life if they could afford it. What is it that makes someone think the people of Italy are any different from others in the world. Italy does offer a lot of things that make living simply easier but you don't have to move here to give up a faced paced life style. Just buy yourself a little place in the foothills of Arizona or some such place and raise chickens and goats tell your heart is content.

I am in the north of Italy so maybe I see things differently. People here work hard some at more than one job just to survive. They live in small apartments, very small by US standards and to me their lives don't seem so different from the lives of people I know in the US. Except that they do have more days off for holidays and vacations and they often have parents available to take care of young kids while they work. Most families have at least one car, well in fact if they both work they generally have two. They don't go shopping every day for fresh vegetables, they shop at the super market once a week. They shop in the malls, they buy wide screen tvs and spend too much on high priced clothing - sound familiar. I could go on.

Don't get me wrong, Italy is a beautiful country and I like living here. But all this hype I read about the beautiful and simple life style in Italy just tends to rub me the wrong way.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Beautiful day for a Race

It was almost like Spring today. Lots of sun and after the races the
kids all had fun playing in on the snow and eating.