February 04, 2009

More than a suitcase full of food...

Last weekend I made a little trip back to Belgium to see my family and to bring over some more stuff. My first weeks in Italy weren't always easy as you could read in my previous posts and I started to create a bit of an unrealistic image of what Belgium respresented. For example I began to worship Belgian food and could not believe my eyes when in Italy you can't even buy brown sugar. Which by the way is needed to make one of my grandfather's famous dishes and therefore Belgium rules over Italy. You know that kinda of thing. I am ashamed to say I got a bit carried away. Because - let's face it- although Belgium's very nice (uhum), Italy isn't so bad. And I realized this when I came back from my little trip back.
When I was in Belgium last weekend, I couldn't sleep from the cold. And although I loved seeing my family again and eat Belgium food again (sorry Italy but making fries is not something you are good at), I also realised that being with The Italian makes me happy. For years we only saw each other a couple of days a month, and now being apart for 4 days, I started to miss him.

I had a lot of fun though. I went to the hairdresser. (I still have to find one in Rome and I'm very picky about my hair and therefore my hairdresser) I went shopping with my sis and my mom, went out for drinks and food, etc.
I left Belgium to return to Italy with a suitcase full of items I cannot find here and more importantly with a more positive attitude. I am sure there will be more moments in which I will find myself whining about not being able to eat Belgian fries or chips or speculoospasta.
But for now I'll take that ride on the positive attitude-train because it does make life brighter after all.


Scintilla @ Bell'Avventura said...

If you start bringing suitcases full of food with you, you have begun to become well entrenched in expat rituals. I still do it, after twenty years, from Australia to Luxembourg then Luxembourg to Positano. It's those little conforts of home that make adjusting easier.
And you are lucky that there are low cost flights from Belgium to Italy, so that you can go more often. It costs us a fortune unless we get on the train for Brussels.

Romerican said...

I know how that feels but I can assure you lots of things (including brown sugar) can be found in Rome nowadays, it just takes a little more effort.
I don't know what neighborhood you live in but lots of regular grocery stores in the centro have "speciality" items (even Mexican goods). Todis- a discount supermarket sells brown sugar & whatnot. Or you can check out places like Canestro in Testaccio or Trastevere, NaturaSi Supermarkets (they have a few stores in Rome), or Castroni on Via Nazionale and Via Cola di Rienzo. I've been able to find just about anything in Rome, even cilantro!

joanne at frutto della passione said...

Romerican is right, although it is a little harder, you can find a lot more things than the past. Brown sugar as we expats know it is very different from zucchero di canna ... unless, you buy the equo e solidale kind (fair trade). Keep a look out for it so that you can use that space in your suitcase for something else you can't find here!!

*Belgian said...

Scintilla - You are right, I am lucky for being just a low cost flight away. It does make things easier to have some food from home though!

Romerican - I didn't mean to give you the impression with my post that I didn't look for these items. I went to Todis, Panorama, Auchan, Carrefour, EmmepĆ¹i, Essalunga, Castroni,... no luck in the brown sugar department though. The brown sugar that I know is not the zucchero di canna you find here. I will check out Canestro and NaturaSi though! Thanks for the suggestion!

Joanne - Thanks for the tip! I will check it out.

Emmina said...

To be honest, you've moved from your civilised, efficient homeland to a country which will test your patience on a daily basis. I'm not at all surprised you were feeling a little homesick! Italy does have a lot to offer, you just have to work on that patience to see it!! BTW how come your English is so perfect??

*Belgian said...

Well, in Belgium everything on television is in the original language with subtitles. I believe this helps tremendously.