This is my plan for my time in Italy: try to live as simply as possible.
That may seem counter-intuitive. For one thing, at the moment I have all these plans and arrangements buzzing around my mind like demented bees. What to pack, what to leave in storage, what personal things to leave with friends. And which friends have the space?
For another, Rome itself does not seem to suggest simplicity. Just think of the enormous amount of traffic and people all going about their business within the close confines of a 2,000 year old city. Recipe for chaos, yes?
Even shopping for the basics of daily life in Rome can be so much more involved than it is in North America. Certainly, I won't be driving to Safeway or Loblaws for a one-stop shop!
For the info of friends who haven't run many errands in Italian towns, here's how shopping lists tend to look (and you can see why running errands takes a day.)
- 1. Need milk and eggs? Walk to the "negozio di generi alimentari," or grocery store.
- 2. Bread? Find a "panetteria"; that is, bakery.
- 3. Out of Tylenol? Walk to the "farmacia."
- 4. Hand cream and shampoo? Head to either the cosmetics store, called a "profumerie," or perhaps the "erbolista"/herbalist. Or that handy little chain, Aqua e Sapone (Water and Soap).
- 5, Running low on contact lens solution? Find an "optometrista."
Italian shops tend to be far more specialized than we're used to in North America. The "farmacia" is a pharmacy, not a cosmetics store/herbalist/grocery store/gift emporium. Most items are still behind the counter and you queue up to ask a solemn-looking attendant for your bandaids or headache pills.
This will not make life simple for me. Yet, I find it charming. At least I found it all very charming when I was a visitor in Italy. Let's see how charming it remains when I'm living there and in a rush to get through the shopping list!!! I may wind up eating a lot of bread, because I didn't get to all the other places on my shopping list. And I'll be sitting in the dark as I eat my bread because I didn't light bulbs, but that's fine because I won't be able to see anything since I can't wear my contacts because I didn't get to the optometrista to buy lens cleaning solution.
Okay, so shopping itself may not be simple. Many elements of life in a big city aren't simple. Yet there will be so many other elements of life that I'm certain I will be able to simplify. I won't have a car; therefore, no worries about parking, maintenance, putting on winter tires, scrapping frozen windshields.
No snow, so I won't need boots or mitts (maybe gloves, but just for their style)
My studio apartment is tiny. Therefore, I won't be able to shop and cram it full of things that I don't really need. I'll be away from the constant pressure to be upgrading my curtains or couch or taking advantage of that great IKEA price for wine glasses that I don't need.
That, at least, will simplify my life dramatically! It will be great.