Unique Things of Italy


On Sunday I got to go out to eat two times, which was a lot of fun. For lunch after church, I went to a restaurant in a location where supposedly Napoleon came through (no idea if that is fact or rumor). It was a nice restaurant and the food was so good! We had a couple antipasti (appetizers), one of which was a meat slices with mozzarella cheese. I asked what the meats were, because there were quite a few and they did not look like the ones I’m used to. I was told there was prosciutto (ham), pork, and turkey. Well, he did not tell me what all of the meats were, and I just assumed that it was different kinds of ham, pork, etc. Prosciutto is very common here, and you can have prosciutto crudo, which is cured ham, or prosciutto cotto, which is cooked ham. Both are very good (esp. the cured). I took several pieces of the prosciutto crudo, and I was really enjoying it. After we were done, we were talking about the kinds of meat and I asked what the one was that I liked. He said it was beef. And then there was a disagreement at the table that it was not beef. Then, I was told that usually that meat is horse. I think I might have had a look of surprise on my face, and I asked him if he was serious … and he was. So, even after saying I wouldn’t eat horse in an earlier post, I did. And the funny thing is, I really liked it! J

That night, I went out to eat with a group of Italians (plus one Filipino) at a Chinese restaurant. It just made me laugh that I was going out for Chinese, and honestly I was a little scared. It was really good though, and I enjoyed it.

An interesting fact … going out to eat at a restaurant is a very long process. I believe we spent over 2 and ½ hours at lunch. And I think we spent that long at dinner too! I’m used to spending maybe an hour at a restaurant I the states, 1 and ½ hours max though. And usually in the states, if you spend 2 hours in a restaurant it’s because it’s really busy or there’s bad service, but that is not the case here. The Italians eat in courses, so it just takes a long time. In America our food all comes on one plate, except maybe the salad and dessert.

It dawned on me that I have now been in my apartment for a month, and I still haven’t shown you pictures of it! I will take you on a tour of my beautiful apartment! J

First, we have the living room/kitchen/dining room. I want to show you something unique about kitchens here in Italy. Instead of leaving dishes to dry on the counter, they have a cabinet for drying dishes. It goes above the sink, and the water drips down into the sink. I think it’s a pretty great idea myself. I just wish the dishes would somehow find there way back to the cabinets on their own. By the way, I do have a dishwasher … my very own two hands! J I’m not gonna lie, that is an adjustment that I’m still getting used to.

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And if you follow me into the guest bedroom, you’ll see where you can picture me writing blog posts, emailing, talking on Skype (praise the Lord for Skype – blessings on whoever invented that program!).

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And then there’s my bathroom … which is nice and big (the whole apartment is nice and big). And of course, another unique thing of Italy is the bidè, which is actually used for more than what first comes to mind (if you don’t know what a bidè is, it’s the toilet looking thing next to the toilet). J It’s great for washing your feet, little kids who get dirty in the mud … or a shoe that stepped in dog poop (very useful!).

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Finally, we come to my room. I think this room has some of the most beautiful furniture – I love it! The apartment was already furnished.

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As you can see, the Lord provided a really nice place for me to live, and I am very thankful for it! It’s a really cool story about how the Lord provided it, but I think it would be rather long and complicated to try to explain … so just know that God is good and He provides! J Thanks for visiting my apartment. You’re welcome anytime! J

“Macelleria” is a word I learned after being here for a week or two. I would see it all the time, usually as the name of a store … so I asked Kathy or someone what it was. It is a meat shop.

“Cavallo” is another Italian word I have learned. If you know any Spanish, you might have guessed it is a “horse.”

 As I was walking to Piazza San Marco a couple weeks ago, this window caught my eye.

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As I looked at the words and the painting of horse heads … it didn’t take fluency in Italian to figure out what this store was. I thought – is this really what I think it is? Then I looked through the window at some of the meats. The first one I saw was “Salami di Cavallo.” Horse salami … I was almost tempted to buy some (NOT).

Now, perhaps you are familiar with people eating horse, but I did not grow up with horse on my dinner plate. I think of horses as sweet animals that you ride around on … not serve with mashed potatoes and gravy! Since then, I saw another horse meat shop, but I’m not planning to go to one anytime soon.

About two weeks ago, I had to go into Venice early on in the day in order to buy my book for my language course. After getting the book, I had about 4 hours before my class started. At that point I had the choice … do my homework for class and study Italian … or wander around Venice. I’ll give you one guess as to which one I chose! J I did not take my little copy of a map of Venice in with me, so I didn’t really know where I was going. I decided that did not really matter though. My IBEX professor, Todd Bolen, gave us the advice to get lost in Jerusalem, because then we would see interesting things we never would have seen otherwise, and we would learn our way around. So, with his words in mind, I set off in the general direction of the Rialto Bridge and Piazza San Marco (St. Mark’s Square). Thankfully, it was not too difficult to find, because there are signs pointing in the direction of the big tourist attractions. J I was definitely a typical tourist that day, with this being my first time wandering around Venice and seeing Piazza San Marco. I had my camera in hand, and I took a lot of pictures of a lot of different things. Those of you who wanted more pictures … here they are!

Here are a couple pictures taken from some bridges around Venice of the canals. The second canal picture is taken from a bridge I cross over right by my language school.

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 I really liked the way this picture of the gondoliers turned out. Sorry Steve, I didn’t ask if either were named Giovanni. 🙂 

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This is a picture of the Rialto Bridge. It is a famous bridge that crosses over the Grand Canal. It is lined with shops and many tourists.

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This is the view of the Grand Canal from the Rialto Bridge.

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 After much walking, I finally arrived in Piazza San Marco. In some ways, I was unimpressed with it. Two words I would use to describe this place: people and pigeons. Now, who in their right mind wants to partake in this, I’m not sure! I know that I do not; personally, I think the pigeons are disgusting. But, many others would disagree, as I evidenced that day.

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 Here is a picture of me there. Can I just say that it’s really awkward to be smiling and taking a picture of yourself (and the sun was very bright … and hot!)!! But, I figured some people (like my parents especially) would like to see a picture of me at some point.

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This final picture is one that I just thought was kind of cool. These pigeons were taking a bath, and I captured one of them drying out his wings.

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