Assaggiare= To Taste
Gustare= To Taste, enjoy, Savor
Assaporare= To Taste, to savor
Italians have three words to describe tasting. My few weeks in Italy, have taught me I don’t use any of those words. I don’t taste and I rarely savor. I gulp, consume, wolf down…taste? Who has the time, a luxury like that is saved for weekends or for restaurants.
My speediness is not just reserved for one of my favorite pastimes, it is applied to all aspects of my life. My day is broken into items to be crossed off a check list and my daily success measured in productivity. I don’t know how to sit. “Smelling the roses” is a great quote but rarely an action. Efficiency drives me.
I found myself frustrated the first week at the fact that all stores close from 12:00-3:30 each day…how am I supposed to get things done? What do I do for 3 hours, do I take a nap? My quandaries spread beyond pondering normal business hours. I found myself wearing slightly dap clothes because I was to impatient to wait for them to dry on the clothesline. The walk from class one day had me trying to remember how to stroll and not power walk home.
This point was drilled further when I was briskly walking to the grocery store here in Bra and became hyper aware how odd it was that I was moving so quickly compared to those around me. They were meandering, chatting, and spending time seeing the window displays while enjoying each other’s company. The cafes were filled with relaxed laughter and cappuccinos. Their Saturday afternoon was painfully opposite from mine. It was at that moment that I realized I need help in taming the Type A in me.
The Italian culture is meant to be savored and I have not allowed it to saturate my personality in the slightest. My brain is not in the moment, it is three items ahead on my scheduled to-do list. No matter how much pasta I eat or wine I drink I realize I am not embodying anything remotely Italian. There was no “La dolce vita” (the sweet life) in my bones.
But maybe, just maybe, I can use the Type A to my benefit. I can plan to enjoy, take more pictures of these sunsets, and schedule some time for future relaxation. I can make a note to stop by that new window display down the street and plan a date with a friend for a cappuccino or…Screw that, I am going to turn up the music, pour a glass of wine, and sit on my balcony. I am in Italy after all.