Our Observations…

22 Jun

This is the second post in the series called “Our Observations….”

Disclaimer: You all know we are no sociologists and all of these comments are anecdotal.  That said, we have noticed a number of differences  About  Products while we’ve lived here.

What you don’t see can be as important as what you do.  So we have made a list of what isn’t here too.

Lots of Yogurt

Yogurt is big here.

Sicilians use yogurt as a digestive after big meals. Lots of meals, lots of yogurt.

Three Packs of Beer

Beer is packaged in mini six packs with three bottles in each pack and each bottle is smaller in volume. This reminds me of Dana’s definition of a diet…half ‘ a sandwich, or half ‘a six pack.

A Three Pack

Liquid Milk Is Scarce

Liquid milk takes up about two feet of space in the bottom of one of the refrigerated displays. The bottles are plastic, one liter size. Most milk is found in boxes on the supermarket shelves.  How did all these Italian children get strong bones and good teeth?  Pasta must be the milk substitute. However we did find Honey Nut Cherrios, Dana’s favorite.

A One Liter Plastic Bottle

Push Brooms

All of the brooms we have seen, in use or for sale, are push brooms. We have not seen any American sweep brooms anywhere. Seems like an odd quirk.

Pushing dirt not sweeping dirt

What you don’t see…

  • Golf courses
  • Airplanes
  • Mailmen
  • Curbside trash pick-up
  • Fruit out of season
  • Zip lock bags
  • Old cars (except for old Fiats)/Wrecks
  • Video stores/ Movie rental stores
  • Motion picture theaters

Have you lived in or visited another culture and noticed differences? What were they? Do you have an observation about any products that are quintessentially American?

10 Responses to “Our Observations…”

  1. neilfreer June 24, 2012 at 12:43 am #

    The topic of refrigeration or not is interesting. What is refriged and what not relative to what we take for granted here in the US?

    • Jill June 24, 2012 at 4:24 am #

      Sicily seems to be comparable with the U.S. Houses have refrigerators even in the hinterlands, unlike the Cook Islands. When we visited there we noted that local groceries were dotted all over the island about a 10 minute walk apart. Many Cook Islanders did not have their own refrigerators and walked to the local grocers refrigerator case to pick up just what they needed. The weather is so wonderful…who cared.

  2. Ursula Freer June 22, 2012 at 6:04 pm #

    Thanks for the delightful reports, you are obviously very observant! All I can report from here is our vigilance is up for squash borers!

    • Jill June 22, 2012 at 6:07 pm #

      Well squash borers have their own culture too. I think about the garden frequently.

  3. Maryl June 22, 2012 at 1:08 pm #

    We haven’t lived in Japan but when we had our Japanese exchange student living with us, I noticed that a lot of the packaging was in 3 or 6. When asked why not 4 or 8 like we would typically have, it was because the #4 is considered bad luck because the sound of 4 is similar to the word for “death” in their language.

    I think peanut butter is quintessentially American. When I lived in Spain they didn’t have it (probably do now, however).

    Are the imported American products (like Cherrios) have box covers/labels translated into Italian or do they just leave them in English?

    • Jill June 22, 2012 at 3:19 pm #

      They have Nutella here and even put it on pizza. Not sure about peanut butter. I will have to check next time we go to the store. The Cheerios box is in Spanish but I had to go check. Just bought the visual and never looked at the copy…that tells you something.

  4. runningfam June 22, 2012 at 11:53 am #

    What is going on with smoking? Is it banned?

    • Jill June 22, 2012 at 12:07 pm #

      There is lots of smoking in public. People smoke outside just like in the States but it seems like a higher percentage of the population smokes. In restaurants, for example, smoking on the patio is O.K. but not in the restaurant. We haven’t seen anyone smoking at work but then we have not been in offices. Most of our experience is retail.

      • runningfam June 22, 2012 at 2:32 pm #

        I forgot to ask – are you grossed out by the milk not being refrigerated? I was in Paris – never got over that. Still don’t get how that works. Amazing you found cereal other than cornflakes and muslix. I once paid $9 fir a box of grape nuts at the USA grocery import store.

      • Jill June 22, 2012 at 3:22 pm #

        Yes. Drinking milk out of a box is weird. I expect it to taste bad every time I try, but it doesn’t. I still can’t drink it. There really is quite a selection of cerals and most are American packaging. They do have muslix and cornflakes too but not that many of each on the shelves. They don’t have grape nuts though.

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