Well, we’re going on three months now, and cultural acclimation is progressing. I still can’t figure out why I keep seeing people walking around in shirt-sleeves when it’s almost December. My mother-in-law says it’s because all they have to do is walk from warm cars to warm buildings. I (and my children, according to me) can’t survive outside without sweaters, coats, scarves, and hats. I guess this is how the Florentines felt seeing my bare, scarf-less neck in springtime.
The one thing I can’t get used to about Christmas in the United States is the maniacal shopping. Tony convinced me to go to Black Friday once, but I’ll never go again. Even without pepper spray and stampedes, whatever moral quibbles I might entertain about out-of-control consumerism pale in comparison to my utterly visceral aversion to shopping.
I just wasn’t cut out for the whole shopping thing, especially on a huge American scale. The tiny shops in Tunisia that barely had room to turn around in were the perfect size for me. The truth is, there are a lot of things I would rather just go without than shop for. I haven’t even shopped for clothes for myself in years. I would probably be dressed in rags were I not spoiled by a husband and mother-in-law who are kind enough to do it for me.
Yesterday after significant urging by Tony (and with great apprehension and trepidation), I walked into Burlington Coat Factory to get some gloves, and almost had a panic attack on the spot. The Christmas pop music was blaring from above, the checkout line was a dozen shoppers deep, and the place was packed to bursting with what must have been the entire contents of several gigantic Chinese factories. I felt like a mouse in a never-ending maze.
Christmastime may be when I miss Italy the most. It just won’t really be the same without Beatrice helping us roast chestnuts in a long-handled pan over a fire outside,
watching our first snowfall (and getting our car pulled out of it by a tractor),
and visiting a mountain village 100 years ago on Christmas Eve.
And although I don’t miss the stress of a very demanding set of Church callings, I think I might be able to handle the heartwarming insanity of The Best Christmas Pageant Ever.
I miss Christmas in Italy!