Grandma's comment on my last post made me think: church does start on time. Not only the American church we found, but the Italian ones too. And when we went to the Vatican they were quite punctual. So Italians might be relaxed for the most part, but when it comes to religion, they listen to those church bells.
For my Italian class we not only learn the grammar and vocabulary, we also do cultural activities. For our quiz next week we have to go to the grocery store and observe Italians there. I've been doing some of that, not only in the grocery store but on the street as well, and you've been hearing about all the differences, but there are more.
Some other differences between American and Italian men, besides how forward they are (last night when we went out an Italian put his arm around Rosanna and proceeded to tell her she was sexy and that he loved America), is how much they care about appearances. For example: the other night in my stats class the Italian kid sitting next to me (the one who walked in late like it was nothing) took out his laptop and proceeded to use its glossy black top as a mirror to fix his hair before opening it up to take notes.
Walking along the street you will notice not only stores with women's designer clothing, but men's too. They don't generally have department stores here at all, so there is a store for men to buy ties, another one for their dress shirts, another for pants, and of course one for shoes. They are big on their shoes here--the fine Italian leather and all. It's safe to say the majority of the men I see are dressed pretty spiffy. I think I've seen one Italian wearing a hooded sweatshirt and maybe a few wearing sneakers.
Differences between Italian and American women: Italian women get dressed up to go grocery shopping. In the States, most grocery shoppers wear whatever: jeans, sweats, etc. Today I saw a woman in a fur coat doing her grocery shopping. They go all out, even just to take the garbage to the curb.
It can be kind of tough being surrounded by beautiful people all the time, but it's been good too. I think I've grown a lot more comfortable in my own skin, even just being here one month. (I'll have been here for one month on Wednesday! Wow. That calls for a glass of vino.)