Something I’ve been sort of fascinated with since I’ve arrived here is how things have changed over the past 15 years since I made my first trip here. Particularly, I have noticed that the cars here have gotten larger. I see some more SUV’s (pronounced in Italian as “suv”…just as it looks like!) than I ever have before, and the cars seem more spacious. When I got into Denny and Barbara’s car last night, he asked me if it was strange to be in such a small car, but it wasn’t. I remember them being much tighter in the backseat than they are now. It’s odd to me that larger cars are becoming more common around here considering the price of fuel and the fact that Italians have to buy their gas by the liter instead of by the gallon – it is extremely expensive! If I recall correctly, the price of gas for 1 liter here is about €1.45 or so? And we complain when gas reaches $4.00 per gallon!? Yes, I agree, it is a lot…but it could be worse.
Another thing that I’ve really noticed that’s changed is the size of the people here in general. I’m not saying this as a criticism because of course America is full of large people, but it’s an observation. Ajith sent me an article recently about Italy being one of the countries in Europe to be more overweight than the others because their culture is changing so much, and I will vouch for the fact that it seems to be true. For example, in the grocery store there are convenience foods available just as there are in our grocery stores in the US. My impression is that work is hard to come by here to make a decent living; therefore more people are working than ever before, and probably working more hours to make ends meet. With this, nobody can have the time to live the way they used to…and alas, convenience foods come into the picture. Don’t get me wrong, there are still some thin people around, and many are still small but the people here are growing I guess. When I was watching the news yesterday, they even brought up that juvenile diabetes is at an all-time high in Italy – VERY sad.