What I don't miss about America

Written by Danielle March 11, 2014

The first thing that comes to my mind when I think about what I don’t miss about America is pizza. Pizza has always been one of my favorite foods, but the pizza here is nothing like I have ever tasted before. No matter where I am in Italy, each bite of pizza leaves me wanting more. The crust is always cooked to perfection. Crunchy on the outside, but soft on the inside. The sauce is what has won my heart over. In every bite I can taste a blend of herbs and spices, as well as fresh tomatoes. I have yet to eat a pizza here that tastes like it is smothered in processed tomato sauce. And the best part, the cheese. Right off the block and onto the pizza. It is gooey and stretchy and is melted to perfection. If I am feeling brave, I will even top it with some spicy salami. Don’t even get me started on the spicy salami. It adds the perfect kick to my already perfect pizza! One thing I never was a big fan of while at home was dipping my crust in olive oil, but oh has that become one of my favorite parts of the pizza. Especially if you can get the more flavorful olive oil, which has red pepper flakes mixed in. The pizza here is irresistible and is going to be my number one most missed thing about Europe when my time here is done. I am dreading that moment already.

Another thing I don’t miss about America is my data plan. There is a lot of times when my friends are out to eat at a nice restaurant and they don’t have free wifi. I know that sounds unheard of, but it is actually quite nice. Back in America when I get bored of dinner conversations, I take a few moments to refresh my Twitter feed or scroll through Instagram to see what everyone is up to. Most of the time I don’t even bring my phone out to dinner here. Usually it is because I don’t anticipate there will be wifi, but also because I have learned to adapt to the Italian culture. I remember the first time I went out to eat in Italy. I did a lot of people-watching. Whether it was a family with small children, a young couple out on a date, or a lone guy sitting at the bar, no one was on their phone or watching a TV show on their iPad while they waited for their food. Everyone seemed to be so immersed in their conversation. I feel as though I am not obligated to text someone back right away or make sure I am updated on the latest and greatest on social media. It has been nice to sit down at dinner and really get to know the people around me, the people I have been living with the past few months. At the end of each meal, I feel like I have learned something new about almost everyone at the table. It is going to be a weird transition to get home and constantly have access to the Web and my phone apps. A transition that I am not sure I am ready to make. I am finally starting to enjoy real human interaction! (Just kidding… but seriously.)

Paderno is a small town with a very small population and a few number of places to go. I have really come to appreciate the town of Paderno and I am not looking forward to going back to my chaotic and on-the-go lifestyle. Normally at Iowa State, when I am done with class, I will have a list of places I need to go and things I need to pick up. Here in Paderno, after classes are done, I get to relax and enjoy the beautiful weather. A lot of times I will sit in my windowsill and just enjoy the sun shining down on my face. Or I will take time to admire the beautiful view of mountains in the distance. Yes, I have homework and tests and have obligations while I am here, but it doesn’t feel like I am being thrown around from place to place trying to get things done. Having my bedroom, my classrooms, and my lunchroom in the same building is way more ideal than I thought it would be. Not because I am lazy, but just because it feels like I am spending less time trying to transport myself from place to place. Americans live such busy lifestyles, which can be nice for some people, but it is nice to be able to sit down and take a break from all the chaos. I love being able to take time out of each day to either take a nap, take a nice walk to get some gelato, or spend time journaling about my experiences. Paderno makes me feel like I am in an imaginary world full of bliss!

While there are many things I do love and miss about America, there are definitely things I am going to miss about Europe when I have to leave. I have really immersed myself in the European culture the last couple of months and I am just starting to get used to this relaxed lifestyle I have here.