As the blog so clearly states these past few weeks, Marco and I recently (and finally!) had our wedding ceremony.

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We decided to have it in Columbus, Ohio, where I’m from, and we were lucky that so many Italian family and friends were actually able to make the trip. Our friends took the opportunity to see other parts of the United States (I can’t blame ’em!) and visited places like New York City, Niagara Falls, Miami and even California! Some have already been, for others it was their first trip. Others, like my in-laws, have already been but were amazed nonetheless.

Mostly, they were amazed at us weird aliens known as “Americans.” The vacation was different from a normal trip in America, because they were surrounded by everyday Americans to celebrate an extremely American-style wedding. We were like a sociologist’s ideal petri-dish experiment!

Some of their comments and questions I expected. Others, I have to admit, completely surprised me.

Cross-cultural communication. and lemonade!

Cross-cultural communication. and lemonade!

Want to know what Italians think about Americans and America? Their biggest questions and concerns? Here are some I fielded during the week I hosted nearly 20 Italians (most are from my extremely curious father-in-law who also happens to be an engineer. I’m sure you’ll be able to guess which are his). 

1. The roads are so big! 

2. The cars are so big!

3. The people are so big! 

4. No seriously, how are these people so fat?

5. But, they don’t walk anywhere! I just watched a group get dropped off by a hotel shuttle in front of a restaurant, shuffle inside, sit on the bench to wait then get up only to go eat. The shuttle came to pick them up afterwards! How do they digest?

6. Oh my gosh this food is so rich. How do Americans ever digest it all? 

7. The portions are huge! 

8. This is delicious.

Confetti

Italian wedding traditions

9. Cake! American cake!

10. What is this blacktop made of? It’s smoother than Italian blacktop. 

11. Why aren’t the shingles here made out of clay, like ours? What are they made out of?

12. On every street there are manicured strips of grass. They look like they’re cut daily! 

13. Americans use chopped up wood in their flower beds called mulch. There’s mulch everywhere.

14. Oh my gosh look how big that house is!

15. There aren’t any fences or gates – everything’s left open! 

16. Of course they’re able to have screens to block the mosquitoes, they don’t care a thing about energy consumption.

20. Gas-guzzlers

21. So efficient! 

22. What do you mean the bride shows up on time? She’s not going to show up even a little late? It’s tradition! 

23. American house party! 

24. Hamburgers! 

25. Cornhole! Wait, what’s cornhole? 

26. This corn tastes totally different. 

27. There’s corn everywhere! 

28. Now is this house on a septic system or a sump-pump system? 

29. Look how big this mall is! 

30. Americans are SO NICE! 

31. Seriously they are so helpful. Everywhere we went they offered to help us. 

32. Why are Americans so nice? 

33. And look how slow they drive! 

32. There are police officers everywhere.

33. They drink beer directly from the bottle!

34. You have raccoons, squirrels, ‘possums and groundhogs?!

35. Look how big these oak trees are!

36. You actually swim in ponds?

37. How is that pond aerated and treated?

38. The pasta is overcooked.

39. The rice is overcooked. 

40. Seriously do they not know how to cook anything al dente?

41. Oh my gosh there’s garlic in this. 

42. There’s garlic everywhere! 

43. Oh this pizza is good! 

44. What’s that? 

45. I’ve never heard of salad dressing. 

46. Where can I get regular extra virgin olive oil?

47. I miss Italian coffee

48. Americans sure know how to party! 

49. Everything is just so much farther here. The country is so big! 

50. Everything is bigger here! 

IMG_6339 Our week-long event was exhausting, fun and entertaining. Italians learned a lot about American culture that they likely didn’t fully grasp before. About the distances, the driving, the way we dress and what we expect. They learned about our personal space and idea of size. Probably the biggest shock was the food, but I think we were still able to get a few compliments here and there! At the same time, we helped my American friends and family to understand the Italian culture a bit more. They listened to the language nearly non-stop. So much so, that my nearly 9-year-old nephew gave me a hearty “ciao bella!” which he had learned on his own. They learned about kissing on both cheeks, about saying bye for full minutes instead of just once and that Italian dressing for salads doesn’t actually exist in Italy. They also learned about Italian wedding traditions like confetti and showing up late.

The week was a thrill. Totally worth the unanswerable engineering questions! 

 

 

Written by ginamussio

8 Comments

Amanda

Brandon came home the other day and was so excited to tell me — “one of the Italian guys found me on Facebook!” — I told him that I was glad at least one of us hooked a nice Italian man and that it better benefit me by way of a nice long trip to Italy some day. He was very pleased with himself.

I keep my mini polaroid of me & Marco in my purse so that when anybody asks how the wedding was, I can whip it out and show them my friend’s Italian husband.

– XOXO

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ginamussio

haha I love it! It was so great to finally meet Brandon – I’m so happy you two were able to make it!

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W. Scott Stanley (Uncle Scott)

What a great wedding. You and Marco have remarkable family and friends from Italy. Those from USA aren’t too shabby either. We are so hoping your honeymoon ventures are incredibly fabulous.

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Boris Merman

When Italians (and all Europeans) arrive in America for the first time, they are usually star-struck by how much larger everything is compared to in Italy or anywhere in Europe. First off, our appliances are huge compared to European models. They have tiny refrigerators and “toy-like” washers and dryers. Our homes are generally much larger, especially in the suburbs. A four bedroom, four bath home would be basically unheard of in Europe ! In the cities however, small apartment and condo sizes are comparable to other European big cities….but rent is far more expensive in the U.S. Today, most cars internationally are pretty much the same, however, huge gas-guzzling Suv’s and big Road-Vans are unheard of there. Our food portions are also colossal and our all-American “All you can eat buffets” simply do not exist in Italy. either. Our supermarkets and large box-stores like Target and Walmart are much larger and places like Home-Depot and Lowe’s for hardware and housewares makes Italians eyes pop out ! Costco sells in bulk and at wholesale prices with huge packaging and in Europe this is still unheard of. In Europe, pharmacies are small and local and you must ask for something and it is procured behind the counter by a store employee. In Italy, and Europe, these huge CVS and Rite-Aid and Duane Reade drug chains do not exist either. When they see shelf after shelf of endless products and choices that you pick and choose yourself….their hears skip a beat (or two). You see, we Americans are really very spoiled and have seemingly endless choices of brands, varieties and sizes of almost anything possible under the sun and we pay much less for most of it, too !

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ginamussio

Yes, I’ve heard more than once about how us Americans are “megalomaniacs” and my Italian husband still marvels at the quantity of cereal brands!

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Peppermint

I really enjoyed reading this list. But, I have to say that outside of fast food, Wal-Mart, and having to drive everywhere. Americans are so different from each other. I was born and raised in Ohio and now live in New Mexico. I’ve lived and visited everywhere in between and beyond. In Europe, it seems the people are so similar. Quiet, petite, and crammed in. Though I absolutely love Europe and the people. The most diversity I’ve ever encountered is right here in the U. S. of A. Different accents, different foods, different styles, strange traditions and plenty of culture shock in every region. From NYC, to Los Angeles. From Alaska to Hawaii. The Dakotas all the way down to New Mexico. Completely different! The people the accents the weather. When I take my New Mexican husband to Ohio. The first thing he thinks is Wow it’s so green and lush. Why don’t these people have fences or walls. The houses have plastic siding and tar shingles (clay here as well) I love all the comparisons. But one thing is for sure. Americans can’t be classified or categorized or even stereotyped into one group. We’re sooo different from each other across the board. This is why I love it here. Thanks

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ginamussio

You’re absolutely right! And of course, this is just a brief post teasing both Italians and Americans – Italians who have traveled little of America and Americans from the point of view of a Midwesterner (read: squirrels in number 34). That said, compared to Italy (which is obviously what Italians are comparing America to) just about everything really is bigger, especially the roads! Thanks for reading :)

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