The rumors are true.
Americans are loud. They dress like slobs. They get too drunk. They are are always in a hurry. They do outrageous things like ask for separate checks.
When I first came to Italy I was disgusted and embarrassed by all of the above. I would cower in my seat at restaurants when the friends I was with were talking too loud. I’d cringe at girls walking around town with wet hair. I’d call out guys on the streets who were looking fratty in Sperry’s and Nike socks on the way home from a night out (okay, I still do this, but they deserve it).
But I’ve learned that, as Ke$ha said, we are who we are. And as hard as we may try to become “insiders” in Florence, shopping at the mercato daily and sipping shots of espresso before class, we will always be the Americans.
It’s about accepting our culture for what it is. I love that Americans love a good belly laugh. I like taking my croissants and paninis to go. And I will never understand why splitting a bill is so damn difficult.
I’ll admit, it’s a personal victory when tourists ask me for directions because they think I look Italian. But I had to get over trying so hard to be Florentine. They know we’re American, and I can’t forget it myself.
The fashion director at the Kent State Florence campus has lived in Italy for 16 years. She likes to ask us questions as if she’s so over the States, like if we know that asking for a latte at Starbucks is really just asking for hot milk. While she is so eager to dismiss her roots, we like to remind Patrish that she’s from San Francisco, and therefore she is still one of us.