tutto il mondo è paese
brunch, italo-american style
I might be mistaken, (a rare and unlikely possibility), but I believe that no matter how far from home I find myself, some things never change. Let me explain: Last weekend, I was out to dinner with some Italian friends when I learned the expression “tutto il mondo è paese,” which literally translates to: the whole world is the country. My friends explained what this means: it’s the same everywhere. So then I got to thinking: some things are not the same here as at home: the quality of the food, the historical monuments, etc. But then I started to notice that even though I am thousands of miles from home some things never change.
with one of my two Nonnas (Italian grandmothers)
Exhibit A: dinner table rules
My Italian family here has the same rules as my family at home. No using technology at the dinner table, but feel free to curse like a sailor! Just like when I was the only kid in the second grade who knew a whole laundry list of bad words, I think that my knowledge of “parolacce” (bad words) far exceeds that of my classmates! And this is all thanks to dinner table conversation. I mean, after all, in a country whose Prime Minister refers to another politician as an “unfu**able fat-a**,” it is crucial to be able to understand these words. And, to be honest, these words help us understand American politicians too. Tutto il mondo è paese.
Exhibit B: WOO! Sports!
On Sunday, one of my friends and I went to a soccer match and sat in the section that the ticket salesperson described as the most fun. Most fun at sporting events indubitably implies most rowdy. I learned that American fans are not the only ones with offensive cheers and beer bellies. And in the process, I learned a few more “parolacce.”
Exhibit C: I love my dog.
I thought that Americans were the only people who obsess over their dogs and who dress their pets in sweaters and what-have-you. The Italians, however, are into this sort of a thing as well. Today, a woman at the bus stop did something that I found alarmingly familiar: she wiped the eye-residue out of her dog’s eye with a tissue. And she spoke to him in babytalk. And although many Italians do not approach others on the street with small talk, discussing one’s dog forges an exception to this rule of conduct.
Exhibit D: Joutifits
So much jean-on-jean. International phenomenon, I swear.
Moral of the story: even when I am in Italy, a country where American country western music does not exist, the words of country singer Billy Currington resonate: “g-d is great, beer is good and people are crazy.” I think that translates into “tutto il mondo è paese” but I might be mistaken. But after all, I am probably not mistaken.