Adjusting to America

When I announced my move to the US, a number of people, particularly other American expatriates, wondered how I would cope with the shock of life in the US after 17 years in Italy.

It hasn’t been much of a shock at all.

This is partly because I haven’t had/allowed myself time to brood about it. My new job keeps me (very happily) very busy, and I travel a great deal for both work and personal reasons.

But I was also better prepared for re-entry this time. I didn’t expect to feel like a native here, and that lack of expectation has saved me some grief. Though I seem to have gotten better at passing for a “normal” American, my life is so complicated that any personal conversation quickly gets into the territory of the unusual. But this seems to bother the people I meet less than it used to, or perhaps I’ve gotten better at explaining it in ways that don’t seem arrogant or… well, whatever it was that others thought they perceived about me during my earlier US re-entries. It’s certainly easier to be happy in the US now that people don’t think I’m an arrogant bitch. ; )

Nor am I facing the culture shock that many expected me to.

There’s a lot to like about living in the United States.

For one thing, I’m enjoying the novelty of convenience. America is a consumer society, and, whatever else you may feel about that, you’ve got to admit that it makes shopping easy. You can buy just about anything at just about anytime, and “if for any reason you are not satisfied,” you can return it and get your money back – no questions, no argument.

Shopping online is also wonderfully easy, and shipments arrive when and where expected, whether sent by courier or through the US postal service. If you haven’t struggled with Italy’s legendarily bad poste, you have no proper appreciation of the sheer joy of a reliable postal service!

People also ask if I miss Italy. So far, I really don’t. I enjoyed being back there (in brief spurts) in June, and will doubtless enjoy planned visits at Christmas and hopefully also in the fall – I do like to see my husband from time to time. But I don’t waste any energy on missing the lifestyle I enjoyed there, and, when I scan the Italian headlines, I just end up depressed.

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