There are many things that I had forgotten about living in the US. Mostly they are little things that were at one point second nature to me. Living in Italy has instilled me with different habits, so during my trip to the States, I have felt a bit awkward at times and have made a few faux pas.
I forgot that at some stores, I'm supposed to swipe my own credit/debit card. The first time it happened, I stood there handing out my card and the woman stared at me and said, "You swipe your card here." I smiled and swiped it in the machine she was pointing to.
I forgot that at grocery stores they ask me if I want paper or plastic and then they proceed to bag my groceries for me. At some of the grocery stores, they've asked me if I want them to walk me to my car and load it up for me. I wish I had someone in Florence who would lug my grocery bags down the street and up the stairs to my apartment.
I forgot that when I go to a restaurant, the waiter or waitress tells me his/her name. I forgot that many waiters and waitresses in the States are working to make money and it's not their profession. In Florence, most of the restaurants I go to all have the same staff working year after year. I went to a restaurant seven years later and the same waiter was still there waiting tables.
I forgot that servings in restaurants are much larger than in Italy and I'm usually unable to order an appetizer and an entrée; I usually can only order one item and maybe a side salad if I'm hungry. And, I almost always have to forget about dessert as those have become so decadent that I'd have to skip my meal altogether to eat one.
I forgot that when I'm driving that if I put on my turn signal to switch lanes that the car next to me that I wanted to get in front of will suddenly speed up and not let me in. I forgot that if you drive in the fast lane, people will not move over to let you overtake them. You sometimes have to slow down or undertake (pass them on the right) them, which I hate doing.
I forgot that I can wash and dry my clothes in only a few hours. The washing machines I've had in Europe seem to take at least two hours for a full cycle. And since we don't have a dryer, we have to put our clothes outside or on a rack in the house and it takes hours to dry. Generally, when we do laundry, we don't get to wear any of those clothes for at least a day.
I'm sure that there are many other things that I'm forgetting even now, but it has been amusing for us both to get reacquainted with the customs in the States. Soon we'll be back in Florence and we'll have to reacquaint ourselves to life there again, but I'm sure many things I haven't yet forgotten as it has only been a few weeks.
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