Of course this blog post is a MAJOR generalization, given that the Europeans I’m basing my opinion on are the Italian and international university students I’ve met so far in Milan. These students come from Italy, England, Germany, Poland, Moldova, Montenegro, France, Belgium, Denmark, Bulgaria… you name it. Here are some qualities I’ve noticed (and have come to majorly respect) about Europeans.
They’re Beautiful People — Inside & Out
Europeans are beautiful: they’re well-groomed, they iron their clothes, they dress nicely, and never in a million years would they think of wearing a sweatshirt, sweatpants, and sneakers out in public unless all of their other clothes were stolen or destroyed. Europeans present themselves well; life is short, so it’s important for them to dress to impress.
The phenomenon is that, although Europeans dress well, they aren’t obsessed with social media like most American teenagers. In America, it’s seen as strange if someone goes to an event without creating a post about it. As they commonly say, “pics or didn’t happen.” In Europe, the joy comes from spending time with friends and going to events. The satisfaction doesn’t come from the number of likes received on the photo about the event. Actually, I’ve noticed that finding photos for this blog post has been difficult because I’ve barely taken photos since I’ve been here. I’ve kind of forgotten about it because it’s so uncommon here!
Additionally, European teens don’t use their phones when they spend time with friends. Of course they’ll check the occasional text message or change the songs on the playlist they’re listening to, but never will they dare to ignore what you are saying to check Instagram or send a Snap Chat. It’s too rude, and it’s antiproductive because they already chose to spend time with the people they’re with.
When you share a meal with a European, you don’t just share the meal; you share most of the night. In America, it’s common to go with some friends to a restaurant, eat food, maybe order drinks, and then go home afterwards. In fact, the waiters and waitresses usually prefer that you leave right after you finish your meal to make space for other diners. In Italy, this would be crazy talk. It’s common practice to go with some friends to dinner, order the meal, and stay for several hours. Then, after the meal, Europeans spend several more hours, if time provides, together at home or out and about. In Milan, there are endless places to go — the infamous Piazza del Duomo, tons of shopping areas, the beautiful Milano Navigli, gelato shops, squares, bars, and restaurants where people tend to take the party. It’s wonderful how people here truly use meals to bond and take the opportunity to talk about intellectual topics, exchange stories, and spend time with the people they’re out with.
Europeans in Italy
Of course, I’ve only been in Milan for three days, so there’s no way I can speak for all of Europe (or Italy) with the experience I’ve had so far. However, one of the characteristics I’ve noticed about life in Milan is that everyone is so relaxed; it seems like everyone here is on vacation. In the States, if you go to the supermarket, you’re bound to find several employees who hate their lives and don’t want to be at work. You’re also guaranteed to find some stay-at-home mothers yelling at their children to stop playing with the toys in the toy aisle, and you’ll probably find some businesspeople using their Bluetooth devices for after-hours meetings. Although many people are relaxed, there are always people who are stressed, overworked, or focused to the point at which they seem stressed.
In Italy, I can safely say that no one is (or appears to be) stressed. I’ll take the supermarket, for instance. The employees at the supermarket I’ve visited four times in my first three days here are extremely friendly and helpful, and their smiles are truly genuine, not forced. The cashiers have chairs, so they can scan the customer’s items in comfort. The employees working around the store always smile, and they are extremely happy to assist customers in locating any product. Even the people in the store seem like they are on vacation. Everyone walks not at a slow pace, but at a pace indicating that they’re in no rush to leave. Going shopping, as any activity, is seen as a time to relax and bond with the people they’re shopping with. Even on the city streets, buses and trams, and practically all other public areas, it’s evident that the Milanese and residents of Milan are happy to be here.
Life here is different, but it’s beautiful! Thanks for reading; there will be more posts coming soon.
xoxo Carly ❤
DISCLAIMER: Americans are awesome, too.