10 Things Italians Have Taught Me

by Jobbatical July 12, 2015
Valley of Castelluccio di Norcia at sunrise by Moyan Brenn

By Nora Matland. Republished by Jobbatical.

“I travel to learn. As I move around the world the beliefs and traditions each culture values stay with me. Through cultural musings I revisit what I have learned.”

—Nora Matland,

a globetrotter who has worked in six countries and picked up five languages and lots of different tastes. She now blogs about cultures, languages and food at The Forgotten Recipe.


10 Things Italians Have Taught Me


Be proud.

Lately, I have been reading a lot of articles about French waiters. There’s something to be said about the amount of pride they take in the food they serve. Italians take great pride in their cuisine, their football, and their clothing. They demand excellence and thus receive it.


Enjoy Beer. Enjoy Wine. Don’t enjoy them together

In college, everyone spoke about “not breaking the seal.” Which basically meant drink as much alcohol as possible before peeing. In Italy, they never once mentioned that, but always of the dangers of mixing. This tradition really struck me. It was my first indication of how important digestion is for Italians.


Buy less, spend more. Shop in stores, not online.

I like shopping. I like buying clothes. However, my clothes almost never last more than a year. Because I buy on impulse (online) and do not invest in the clothing that I buy, I tire of it a year later and do not feel guilty about throwing it away. Italians on the other hand only have one go to suit, or only a few impressive pieces of clothing. This allows them to invest in tailored suits, cashmere sweaters and other much more expensive pieces. They know they will be using these pieces year after year.


Everything is better when enjoyed outside.

There is very little air conditioning in traditional Italian houses. This means that meals, beer and wine are all enjoyed al fresco. If you’re willing to sacrifice a few flies in your meal, you can enjoy the wonderful weather and interact with the world around you.


Don’t snack.

ITALIANS CAN EAT! Yet somehow, even when they consume a Kilo of pasta each they are unbelievably attractive. I think part of it is they don’t snack. By being much more concious about each meal they do not overeat and therefore do not gain weight the way we Americans do.


Drink espresso.


Invest in life, not materials.

When we die, whether we lived in a big house or a small house, we will be remembered by our deeds not by our riches. At the end of the day, we will also remember our experiences not the beautiful bed, plate or picture that we purchased. So, if you have a choice, always invest in events, not on material.


Listen to Italian Music

I might have a reputation of switching from Rihanna to Rino Gaetano at parties, but what can I do? Their songs are just so great!


Create a community online, but don’t forget your community offline.

Remember Malcolm Gladwell’s story about Roseto Valfortore? We can live longer, but to do so we can’t only be consumed by our own passions. Our community is important and in the end will give you longer life.


Live and love passionately.

You can be a curmudgeon. You can think everyone is below you. But what good will that do you in the end? Embrace life for all that it is and isn’t and you’ll be happier in the end.

More thoughts about Italy here.


Experience living and working in a new culture for yourself on a jobbatical in Italy or check out our other amazing opportunities around the globe.




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