The United States has many different regions, much like Italy. Campania (in Southern Italy) is culturally comparable to the Midwest. Though they are 5,000 miles apart, this Minnesotan has noticed many similarities, such as the food and the personalities of people here. I am from Minnesota, which is the land of 10,000 lakes. We actually have almost 15,000, so living by beaches and shorelines is common for us. Sorrento is on the Amalfi coast and has an amazing coastline as well.
In the Midwest, almost every door is unlocked and every person says hello to each other on the street. If a person drops a wallet, others will tell them, instead of doing something nefarious with it. If a person asks for directions, they are given. In Italy, this has also been the case. I landed in Naples and spoke only a little Italian, but the locals were willing to tell me how to get to my hostel and around the area.
In the Midwest, a goodbye takes about an hour. The reason is because as soon as a person is about to leave, someone else will start talking about the weather, or their family, or what they are going to do, or the next time the group will get together. It takes even longer with family goodbyes. The longest goodbye session for me was leaving for college. I was at my grandmother’s house for about 3 hours, just hugging people goodbye. From how long it sometimes takes me to leave my host family’s house in the morning, I feel that Sorrento has the same idea, and I love it.
Since I have been in Sorrento, I have been full. The meals here are very filling, and full of heavy products (bread, potatoes, pasta, and etcetera). In the Midwest, we eat potatoes at least once a day, and usually pasta every other day. My authentic meals here have at least one of these products, if not more. Midwesterners also love our cheese. Wisconsin is the “Dairy Capital of the U.S.” and makes the best cheddar cheese. In Italy, there are so many types of cheese here, and I have loved every single one. Both the coast of Italy and the Midwest use the local wildlife for meat as well. In Italy, there is fresh seafood in dishes and fruit that grows right outside; in the Midwest, there is venison (deer meat) and white fish, along with our local corn and vegetables.
The temperature and weather here has been what has been the hardest for me to adjust. In Minnesota, the hottest it gets to is about 70°F, while in Sorrento, it has been a balmy 85°F for the entirety of my stay. It does not rain here as often as it does in the Midwest, and the humidity is much higher.
Fishing is something that happens year round in the Midwest, even in our winters. Our winters are brutal; we often get over 1 meter of snow, and people get frostbite if they do not have enough clothing on. In the furthest north part, it can be colder than Antarctica with the wind chill factor, and the snow lasts from October to April. However, Midwesterners wait until the lakes around them freeze over with a half meter of ice, then drill holes in it, and catch fish in the many lakes in the area. The people of Sorrento fish year round as well, but catch bigger fish in better weather.
Though these two areas are 8000 kilometers apart, they are similar in the cultural idea of being welcoming and helpful. I love where I am from, and I now love Sorrento as a home as well.
I’ve also been working on a writing internship here, so here are some links to a few articles I’ve written!