…it’s all a matter of perception.
Now I can say that every time I come back to Italy, I see it in a completely different way.
I give you an example: I used to complain about the lack of nightlife in Genova, the Italian City where my apartment is. I can’t say “the Italian city where I live”, because I actually spent more time abroad or in other parts of Italy than here.
Then I went to Scotland for 9 months. I loved it, but shops closed at 6 pm and pubs not later than 11. I attended the University of St Andrews (yes Prince William was there!) and there was just one club in the whole town.
When I came back to Genova I thought “wow, this place is so much fun! Look at all this people in the streets, and clubs, and bars, wohooo!”
Then I went to New York City for 6 months – the only thing I can say is that when I came back to Italy everything looked so cheap. And weather felt so warm. But also, I don’t know why, I had this feeling of being somewhere in the past. Like, the city looked a bit too old and falling apart.
I remember one night I went to a pizza take away and ordered one “pizza margherita”. When I saw the price – €3,50 – I ordered another one. Yes, because in New York City I was used to pay $21 for it, in my favorite Italian pizzeria!
I used to go to supermarkets and be amazed by how cheap fresh products were – and buy, buy, buy.
People looked so friendly and simple.
Then I went to Cairo, Egypt for 9 months.
I came back about 3 weeks ago, and here in Genova everything now looks so perfect, shiny, clean, new to me.
While everyone else complains about the 5 minutes delay of the bus, I am amazed that there are bus stations with bus routes, and a display showing approaching buses.
People are all so well dressed and I find myself giggling to myself, wondering – do you really need high heels to stroll down the promenade?
And me? The first time I went out, I found myself carrying a plastic bag with my stuff in it, in a perfect “Egypt street” style.
Plus, believe me, I am still kinda shocked when I see one of the following things:
- Couples kissing in public (sometimes pretty hardcore)
- People walking in swimming suits
- Girls in mini skirts/shorts
Everything looks outrageously expensive – gas, food, clothes, taxis (which I don’t ride at all here). And I can’t even haggle!
People look so cold and shallow.
And there is another thing – the main one: Streets-are-empty. Where is the traffic? Where is the noise? Where are the crowds? In Downtown Cairo, you constantly have AT LEAST 50 people (+ a dozen cars) in your visual field. Here… it’s HORROR VACUI.
The city that looked so cheap on 2009, looks so expensive now.
The city that looked so messy on 2009, looks so perfect now.
The city that looked so crowded on 2005, looks so empty now.
The people that looked so simple and friendly in 2009, look so cold and shallow now.
But the place is still the same! I’m getting confused. *scratching my head*
Oh, travel, this is another one of your tricks huh?
Well, at least this means I will always be curious to see how my home city will look like after the next trips.:)