Wednesday, September 11, 2013


  I know. Zip-Zorp is a strange title. I'll explain it as best I can.

  I guess living anywhere that you're not accustomed to the culture, things are going to seem a bit odd to you. Keep in mind that I have never lived outside of the U.S. before, so things might be a little more strange to me than they would someone who's done the international thing before. At any rate, I find myself constantly shaking my head and asking, "What's up with that?"

  Just days after we moved here Mark and I were trying to figure out how a particular cafeteria style restaurant worked. People were getting their trays but there was no rhyme or reason to getting their food. There was no line to speak of, people just seemed to be crowding around certain areas. There were some self-serve spots and others where you had to go order, and a lot of the food did not look familiar. Keep in mind neither of us understood much Italian so reading the menu did very little to help. For all we knew we were ordering boiled squid with chocolate sauce! Also, we didn't know simple phrases like, "Can I have..." or "I would like..."in Italian.  It was just another confusing experience and we were already unsure of ourselves. Finally Mark said, "It's like being in a Dr. Seuss book. You walk into a room and all these strange characters are hopping on one foot yelling Zip-Zorp, Zip Zorp! You don't know IF you should join in, HOW to join in or even if you're hopping on the correct foot." I love my husband's sense of humor! Ever since that conversation when something doesn't make sense one of us will say, "Zip-Zorp!"

For instance:

  There are SO many people here who drive with their arm hanging all the way out the window. Not just a few people. It's like if you're Italian, that's what you do. Zip-Zorp.

  The lines painted on roadways are merely suggestions here. People weave in and out of their lanes and drive ON the lines like it's necessary to driving. It's like the answer to the question "Which lane do you want?" is YES! Not just a few people, we see it all the time!  Zip-Zorp.

  Do you want to have someone come to your house to perform a service? Maybe they'll come, maybe they won't. Zip-Zorp.

  Going to the store? Will it be open when you get there? Maybe. Maybe not. Zip-Zorp.

  Looking for artwork for your home? Do you like Marilyn Monroe, Audrey Hepburn, Elvis Presley or Michael Jackson? Well then you're in luck because Italians are obsessed with dead celebrities! You don't just find them in artwork but in clothing and textiles as well. Zip-Zorp.

  These are just a few examples of things we encounter frequently. In my previous blogs I've mentioned crazy parking lots, "hidden" malls and the insane rules for obtaining a driver's license. There are other anomalies I just don't get. A good example of this is that nothing, and I mean NOTHING is ever torn down from what I can tell. I fully understand the historical importance of some of these ancient structures but it is totally out of my realm of comprehension why anybody would leave an old,
rusted- out car wash still standing. Everywhere you go there are buildings that are falling down with caved in roofs and foliage growing out of every opening. If someone wants to build something new they just move over from the old, falling apart building and put up a new one. It's a very bizarre mixture of old and new.

  And while I get that the economy here is bad, I don't understand places that have long since gone out of business leaving their signs up like everything is still in place. We've gone to more than one place that turned out to be a deserted waste land...Zip-Zorp.

  I'm sure given enough time I'm going to learn to deal with the absurdity of it all. It's been difficult for me because at heart I'm an optimist but I think having no expectations and a laid-back attitude is the key to all this. If I can work on that I'll be okay.

  In the mean time I'll just roll down my car window, hang my arm out and drive on the lines to a store that won't be open when I get there...Zip-Zorp.

Until next time,


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