Usually, I try to be pretty positive in this little corner of the internets. At the moment, I’m taking a siesta from work, living in Rome and traveling around Europe, eating good food, drinking good wine. I know I’m lucky. Life is very good. So let’s be real: I don’t have that much to complain about. And, really, no one would want to hear about it if I did.
That being said, I hope you’ll offer me this one small minute and allow me a brief venting session. A little time out, if you will.
Sometimes life in Italy is just hard. As I often hear from people here, la dolce vita has two sides.
The food here is, for the most part, excellent. But the service? It generally ranges from indifferent to flat out hostile. Many waiters seem genuinely annoyed that you’re at their place of business, expecting them to take your order and bring you food in exchange for money. Yesterday at lunch, I waited 45 minutes for someone to offer me a menu or a glass of water. Two hours later, when I got my check, it had a “cover charge” on it (aka a charge just for sitting down at a table, in addition to the service charge which is included). That’s been illegal in Rome for years, but no matter, I’m not an Italian, so charge me anyway if you please!
Even worse, over the weekend, we went to a restaurant with a Michelin star, and waited close to an hour for a waiter to come over and take our drink order. When he did approach the table, it was with a fake smile (really, more of a sneer), that he said “I suppose you know everything you want, now?” Yeah. We did. We’d been staring at the menu for an hour. Oh also? When we asked if we could order cocktails, the answer, simply, was “no.” Okay then. Onto wine it was. The food was good, but I was so disappointed. I’d been looking forward to going to the restaurant for so long. I thought surely if this place had a Michelin star, the service would be different than what I’ve become used to in Rome. Nope. The experience had totally been ruined, and I felt totally taken advantage of.
Also grinding my gears is Rome’s residential trash system. It’s insane. Yesterday, I went to take my trash out, and a guy on my street screamed at me in English, “What are you doing? Don’t you know it’s not time?!” Yeah, I did know that it wasn’t technically time to take my trash out (note: the appointed time is between 8:30-9:30am). But there are no trash cans outside for you to put trash in; you’re apparently expected to keep your trash festering inside your tiny apartment aside from the one hour window it’s allowed to be on the street.
And, to make it even more complicated, there are five different categories of trash and a different pick up day and trash bag you need to use for each. So, be sure to keep five separate trash cans inside your small residence. And, if you have organic waste to throw out (aka food), there are only two days a week, for a one hour window, that you can put it outside your apartment for pick up.
Does all this trash stuff sound too annoying for Italians to keep up with/care about? It’s because it is (at least in my neighborhood). My Italian neighbors leave their trash on the street corner whenever. It’s no big deal. But if you’re me, the American? Keep it inside, you idiot!
Lastly (this is it for now, I promise), these pictures I’m posting here? They may look pretty, but in actuality, I was kinda disturbed as I was taking them. Lately, around dusk, there have been massive swarms of birds zooming around the treetops, squawking crazily, and worst of all, pooping everywhere. You’ll see people walking around with umbrellas up. It’s not to keep them dry from rain. It’s for the bird s**t. And it’s black.
I literally got stuck in a sh**storm on Monday night. It seemed the perfect representation of how totally crappy I feel like foreigners are treated here a lot of the time.
But, I spent all day today in cooking class. Tomorrow, I’m going to Naples pretty much just to try the pizza. I’ll be ok. And I hope you’ll forgive me for this bratty tirade. Grazie mille.
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