Sunday, May 10, 2009

Bondi!

That’s how the locals greet each other here. It’s a dialect version of buongiorno, which means good day. As the days pass here, I get to know better the locals and their habits. Last Tuesday I helped my colleague G in moving. She has got an apartment in Sabbiadoro, the central part of Lignano Sabbiadoro, over the season (=high season of tourism=from now to the end of September).

She comes originally from a town called Marano, not far from Lignano Sabbiadoro. While I was helping her to move, we were talking about local habits with her flat mate. I found out that here happy hours, Italian happy hours that is, including drinking and eating in bars, is not common even though I’ve always thought it to be a part of the Italian culture.

An Italian happy hour is when you go to a bar between seven and nine o’clock and pay for a cocktail, but including in the price you get the chance to eat finger food from a buffet table. The finger food usually consists of pizza pieces, bruschette, crisps, pasta and so on. Apparently I have been spoiled by always living close to Milan. Damn it! Everyone that has experiences an Italian aperitivo, as they also call it, know how great it is. What a pity! The reason for this lack of happy hours is according to G the fact that the locals care too much about their appearance and they don’t want to eat in front of other people. Come again??? What kind of Italians don’t eat? I have certainly found a place unique in Italy.

Furthermore I heard that G’s flat mate I is a vegetarian, which is very rare here. Poor her, because there aren’t even any supermarkets specialized in “vegifood“ here. Suddenly I felt great respect for Helsinki, a city that offers alternatives for its habitants. One can eat whatever they want in Helsinki. I’ve heard that here there isn’t even one Chinese restaurant! There is no cultural variety here. Sure, there exists one Spanish restaurant here, yey. Not even Mcdonalds exist, something that at least was present in the small town of Castellanza.
I also found out that G doesn’t like cheeses, something I find very odd since Italy has a range of wonderful cheeses. She only eats mozzarella, not even parmeggiano!!! I can eat bits of it without combining it to any other food. I was definitely born in the right country, but as far as my food preferences, I should have been born here, if I like the food more than the locals!
Today I finally had the guts to go to the beach. I had been postponing it since I don’t like the idea of going there alone. But today we had wonderful weather, about 25 degrees, and I already finished at three o’clock so I thought that I had to get a grip of myself and just do it. I’m so glad I did. The beach was full of people and nobody looked at me strangely. From now, I’m going to start going as often as possible!


Yesterday my boss, in her classy way, popped the question I have been avoiding. In front of G, she just suddenly said “So Elisabeth, have you decided if you’re going to stay or not?”. Iik. I know that they have been hoping that I would stay so that they wouldn’t have to search for another receptionist so I found it very hard to say that yes, I have decided. I’m returning to Finland. What I didn’t mention was that I already had the flight booked since I arrived, but there is no need for her to know that. I’m used to being here now, and I like the people, but I can’t lie and say that there isn’t a part of me that wishes that I could return home tomorrow. I know this was something I had to try, and I am looking forward to many things yet to come, like my trip to Brescia and Milan next Monday-Tuesday, and my trip to Venice, the week after that. Still, the life I have in Helsinki, counts for much more.

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