Cobbled streets, medieval buildings, red roofs are the trademarks of the city I grew up in, Bologna, and it’s hard to find some commonality with the sprawling metropolis I live in now. Funny thing is, I started catching myself noticing little telltale signs I have become a fully fledged Angeleno, for better or worse, and I have fallen into habits and thought patterns I would never have considered possible when I left Italy or London.
- Despite the miles I clock walking the dogs twice a day and hiking whenever possible, I wouldn’t dream of walking two blocks anywhere in the city or taking public transportation that, I am told, has immensely improved of late. I will move the car from parking meter to parking meter, to step into a store or a restaurant or wherever else. Just because.
- I briefly entertained the idea of Botox and fillers – then I decided not to add another expressionless mug to the mix.
- I can rattle off names of grains unknown to me 17 years ago and I will think nothing of adding Spirulina to my morning shake. Cappuccino and croissant are such a thing of my European past.
- I will insist on adding Stevia to my coffee instead of sugar, whipping it out of my bag when the occasion presents itself – never mind the sugar laden slice of pie that accompanies the coffee. At least I am still able to notice the incongruity.
- I regard a yearly cleanse as my civic duty.
- My social life is accurately planned around times of day, geographical locations and traffic patterns. I religiously listen to the traffic report and the traffic app on my phone is one of the most used.
- Spanish hasn’t exactly become my second language but, considering it wasn’t a language I spoke at all when I first came, now I can understand it and I can make myself be understood. Having learnt it mainly in the kitchen, I am sure I intermingle Mexican, Colombian and Salvadoran slangs without even realizing it.
- Should I feel the urge or need to visit a place that gets real snow blizzards in winter, I literally don’t have anything to wear.
- A mild earthquake will not get me out of bed.
- Coyotes, rattlesnakes, tarantulas and possums are my favourite neighbours.
One sign my Italian roots are still alive and kicking: I would not be caught dead wearing a track suit other than at the gym’s.