“The Milanese people are similar to people living in Stockholm”. At least that’s what I’d heard before packing my whole wardrobe in a suitcase weighing exactly 23kg, stuffing the rest in to a carry-on luggage (probably over the limit of 8 kg) and lastly, cramming four bags in one as my handbag. Now, a couple of months later, I smile thinking of my first day in Milan. Little did I know that I would learn lots of things no one would ever dream of in Stockholm or Sweden in general. It turns out that the Italian way is an entirely different experience.
Ok, let’s start off with the first question: you’re 25 years old and your partner is 26. You’re about to get a gym membership at a gym that has one price for people under 25 y.o., and another for people over 25 y.o. Which price do you get in Sweden an in Italy?
Let’s turn up the heat, shall we? Suppose that you get a urinary tract infection (ouch!) and you’re in the need of antibiotics. Luckily, you work at a hospital (ah!). You consult the doctor and…?
Third time’s the charm… For the final question: the law says that you have to send in a paper to the government if you’re in the country for more than 90 days. What do you do?
Italian way vs. Sweden way
- In Sweden: you pay the correct price according to your age (and there’s no buts, ands or ifs). In Italy: you pay the lower price.
- In Sweden: the doctor checks which antibiotic is recommended (and doesn’t drive antibiotic resistance). Then, a few clicks on the computer later, you’re off to the pharmacy. In Italy: The doctor takes a blank A4-sheet and writes you a note by hand. Then borrows another doctors stamp (the stamp is important) and signs it. Wait, it’s not over. You get to the pharmacy, and do they look at your ID? No, of course not. They look at your prescription (with the stamp), you pay 9€ and your infection is gone. And hey! Remember to take your A4-sheet with you back home. In case you need it again?
- In Sweden: you send in the paper. In Italy: they tell you “well, that’s something that we have to say to all but hey, don’t do it. I’m sure you will be traveling in and out of Italy so then you’ll not be here 90 days in a row after all”
Anyhow, there’s of course more to Milan than this: cars driving the sidewalks, towels on the gym to sit and lie on, girls not locking the doors in public restrooms, McDonalds being summer closed, kids without bicycle helmets (riding on the handlebar with their parent), women eating fruit with a knife (so they won’t touch the fruit more than necessary). However, that’s a different story. In the end, I love Sweden, but dammit, I do love Italy as well!
Amina is a doctor who doesn’t want to spend all of her life in scrubs. Living in Milano for one autumn sparked her inner love of fashion – in an updated version. Starting as a lifestyle blogger, she changed focus to sustainable fashion, something she wants to make fun, easy and luxurious for everyone. Motivated by her experiences, she gladly wrote this piece about the Italian way and how it was different from what she had experienced in her home country, Sweden. Check out her awesome stuff at her website www.aminas.se
P.S.: Do you get any interesting experiences abroad? Share what you learned in the comments, or better yet, write a collaboration post about it!