Tuesday, November 25, 2003

I received an email from an English teacher in Rome a few days ago that finished with: “Keep the blog up. It’ll keep you sane”. This is a pertinent comment as I’ve been thinking over the past few days that I’m becoming accustomed to Italy. I’m no longer noticing those little things that mark a place out as different when you arrive, like the number plates, the architecture or, indeed, the language; all of these now take their place in everyday life. Although I’m reassured by a comment my boss made to me recently that the place never becomes wholly normal it’s still interesting to notice that one’s reactions to foreign things can be dulled over time. This is equally true of both the good and the bad (and the ugly, although there isn’t much of that around here). Of course, being human (or maybe just being English; I don’t know) we tend to be more vociferous about the bad. This is why keeping the blog up – and continuing to notice and comment on things from my own perspective – can keep me sane: there are aspects of day-to-day Italian life of which acceptance could be dangerously close to insanity.

On a different note, the email explained how the Italian habit of dubbing English-language films – which I wrote about on 31/10 – began: after the Second World War, when films were first being imported en masse many Italians couldn’t read and so subtitles were pointless. The industry flourishes to this day and I can’t help but feel that film aficionados residing here are missing out.

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