Si fa o non si fa? – As part of cultural awareness it is very important (sometimes vital) to know what to do and what better not to, when travelling to a foreign country. There are parts of the world where it is better to not blow your nose in public, keep shoes on or take them off, ask for something or not at all, kiss only once , kiss three times…no kiss at all…
During an illuminating training course for language tutors at the prestigious British Institute in Florence, I collected a very nice list of “ do not do” things taht I would like to share with you:
In Italia NON SI FA:
- Non si prende un cappuccino dopo pranzo o dopo cena ( Never order a cappuccino after lunch or dinner. Some “coffee purist” even say, never order one after 11 AM…You might find some grumpy barmen out there… )
- Non si mette il parmigiano su un piatto di pasta condita con sugo di pesce – (Never add grated parmesan cheese to seafood pasta)
- Non si mangia senza una tovaglia in tavola ( al massimo si usano le cosiddette “ tovagliette americane”…) – Italians never eat without a proper tablecloth on the table. Nowadays is possible to find table mats that, maybe, for this very reason are called “tablecloths american style?”
- Non si aprono contemporaneamente due finestre se questo può causare una corrente d’aria – (Never simultaneously open two windows in a house as this can cause an air draft….and Italians are very particular about this! It appears that a strong air movement can cause a number of illness ! Observe locals after reading this and tell me if I am right)
- Non si va a letto o in giro con i capelli bagnati – (For a similar health concern as above, Italians never go to bed with wet hair and you won’t ever see them in the streets walking as if they just came out from the shower).
- Non si fa una doccia dopo aver mangiato – (I’ll buy you dinner if you prove me wrong: Italians never take a shower after a meal. Similar to a death penalty)
- Non si cammina scalzi per casa – (Never walk bare foot at home. The explanation might be that Italian houses hardly ever have carpets and tiles are very cold )
- Non si regalano crisantemi (Chrysanthemums are traditionally the flowers for the cemeteries. As a direct consequence, it is not advisable to choose it as a present for a lady especially if you are trying to impress her!)
- Non si mischia il dolce con il salato – (Never mix Souer and Sweet. Italians like their flavors to be separated)
- Non si esce da un ristorante con il sacchetto del cibo avanzato dalla cena o dal pranzo – (Italians won’t ever leave a restaurant with the so-called “doggy bag”. It is considered to be rude and , in general , weird)
- Non si indossano calzini con i sandali – ( Last…but not least…Never – Ever …wear socks with open sandals! A real serious offense to good taste, at least the Italian one!)
Would you be able to create a similar list for your own country?