More of You know you’re living in Italy when…

You walk into the doctor’s surgery and there is no receptionist but just a queue managed by the people. But somehow it works. As soon as you walk in you must ask Chi e` l’ultimo? (Who is last in line?). Then you remember that face and go in as soon as they finish up.

Then… you walk through a puff of cigarette smoke on entering the doctor’s office and he asks you to wait a minute while he disposes of the ashtray. That’s right – the doctor smokes, while on duty… in his office!!! His cigarettes and lighter are casually sitting on the desk right near his prescriptions pad!

Oh and speaking of doctors, my local surgery (like many) is only open morning or afternoon on alternate days. 10am-1pm one day, 4pm-7pm the next and mind you, only Monday to Friday. Yes – the doctor works 3 hours per day and smokes on the job! Che vita! I’m in the wrong industry!

You can’t sign up to a gym or public pool (or even go for a casual visit) without medical approval (I’m told it all comes down to public liability!). This means you have to see the doctor and pay €30 for a Certificato per Attivita` Sportiva (Physical Activity Certificate). All the doctor does is measure your blood pressure – that apparently is the equivalent of a full medical!

People smoke at the hairdressers – in fact the hairdressers do too!

Italian men refer don’t refer to sex as sex but fare l’amore (to make love…) (of course among a few other slang / derogatory forms!)

People are still sitting at restaurants with a menu in hand at 1am on a weeknight

Complaining about being tired (biggest offenders are the cashiers at supermarkets) should be a national sport. Here in Rome they like to say, ehhh sto a pezzi (literally translates to I’m in pieces… but interpreted as I’m exhausted or I’ve just had it!)

Speaking of supermarkets, you’ve done a whole week’s shop (minimum 20 items) and the cashier still asks if you would like shopping bags (which you have to pack yourself of course) – you’d like to respond, “um no, don’t worry, I have really big pockets!!! Of course I want bags lady!!!”

You’re at a German discount supermarket in Rome and Roxette is blaring through the speakers – so random

There is a line of minimum 30 people waiting at a taxi rank on a Saturday night and there are 10 taxis just sitting there but refusing to take a fare because they’re on a break

You apply for a training course that is advertised as ‘running every day all year round’ and they email you to say we’ll let you know if it’s running or not!

Signing off from Trastevere

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