A friend of mine repatriated to NY after 14 years in Italy…well, he lasted only 7 months. He’s now happily ensconced back into the apartment he never gave up upon departure. He longed for the days to come back to a place where you worked hard, but you don’t give up your life as you once knew it.
The funny thing is, while he didn’t experience much culture shock in NY (he claims he didn’t have time for it), it was upon his reentry that he found the problems flooding in.
How quickly he had forgotten that 'Sì, Signore' - 'Yes' doesn’t mean 'yes, right away', but rather 'in a few weeks' time', and that people will not only put you on hold for 40 minutes, they’ll hang up on you outright if you so much as pipe up to complain about it or the trouble you're calling for in the first place. He has by now spent the better part of the month trying to delete his New Yorker ‘squeaky wheels get the grease’ attitude, and rebooting his Milanese mannerisms – always stay cool and collected, or they will turn against you. Horribly.
So, since coming back to Milan, he’s had to wait (patiently) for his phone to be hooked back up, to get a lease contract, to do this, do that, but most of the time, he simply has to wait for other people in the food chain to come back from the seaside.
He says if he hears the word “mare/seaside” one more time he’s going to go postal. The funny thing is, in Milan, it’s not an excuse, it’s reality.
Trying to buy a car, get a plumber, even rent an office. The ads are posted, but nothing can be done, Signore, they’re all at the mare.
His only recourse: he got in a car and drove himself to Forte dei Marmi’s seaside for a nice long weekend.
His outgoing message, “I’ll have to get back to you. I’m at the mare.”