For the last three years, I fought my Texas ways and struggled to become Calabrian. I practiced their language. I mimicked their habits. I absorbed their culture. Then it hit me. Calabrians are really just Texans … you know, without the hat.
Last week at Affordable Calling Cards, I talked about three ways living in Italy is different from living in America. And as promised … here is the follow-up.
Here are three ways Calabrians are like Texans.
1. What You See is What You Eat … maybe
My sister loves to tell the story about the first time my extended family met my husband. It was Thanksgiving Day, years ago, and my sweetie was still struggling to keep up with the fast-talking Texas accents of 50 of my closest relatives.
My grandmother, in an attempt to make him feel at home, shoved something of everything onto his plate and being the good, obedient Calabrian he is, he dug in. Half an hour later he asked me in private what he had eaten.
“What was that meat?” He asked. “It was … strange.”
“Didn’t you ask for it?” I questioned him, feeling a little nervous.
“No. Your grandmother gave it to me and told me to try it.”
“What was it?” He asked again.
So I laughed. And laughed. And couldn’t stop laughing.
“It was a squirrel.” I told him. “Did you like it?”
He looked confused.
“You know, the little animal that …” I wiggled my nose at him.
“Noooo!” He screamed! “They are so cute! I am a monster!!!”
I guess I had it coming when he tried to sneak some morzello on my plate a few years later.
2. And speaking of eating, we have our own ways of talking about it, too.
In the words of one of Texas’ greatest heroes, you are likely to hear this cryptic message just before lunch.
Whereas, in Calabria, the message might play out more like this.
“TTuuu.” (Accompanied by an upwards head nod.)
“E buh?” (With both hands raised in the air like their are about to snap their fingers.)
3. It’s the Wild, Wild West
Texas’ reputation for rodeos, horses and gun-slinging cowboys has reached the shores of Calabria’s capital city. On more than one occasion, I’ve told someone I was from Texas and was met with,
“Ahhh, like Valker? Valker Texxxas Rrrrrranger. Si?
Oh yea, we are wild and for the most part, we are “west.”
And so is Calabria.
As you know, Calabria is west of Puglia and anyone who is saddled the driver’s seat of their car knows how wild it is out there.
Speaking of cars, a Calabrian’s vehicle is notoriously clean. They love them. They take care of them. They wash them, often. Much like a Texan … and his horse.
* This post is written on behalf of AffordableCallingCards.net. Click here to read similar posts written by other expats in the ACC expat community.