Archive for the ‘why do they do that’ Category

why i love il farmacista in italy

Pharmacies in Italy run very differently from those in the United States.

I bring this up now because on Friday I finally broke down and went to la farmacia (farm-uh-CHEE-ah) after feeling not-so-good for a few weeks.

It started with a virus, but then every few days I’d get abdominal pains and was just generally rundown.

Why not go straight to the doctor?

I hate going to the doctor, and I know I’m not alone in that. The biggest part of the annoyance for me is having to wait around with a bunch of sickies who may be sicker than I am and/or with different problems, and possibly catching what they have on top of whatever I have.

But Italy lets me avoid that ever so slightly because here the logical first stop is il farmacista, the pharmacist, who can also diagnose your symptoms and give you medications that require prescriptions–and you only pay for the meds, not the advice.

My pharmacist is here every day but Sunday (he’s even here some Sundays as pharmacies are required by law to rotate so that one is open every Sunday in a given area), so it’s also rather convenient as he’s just a few steps down the Corso.

Once I’m there, I describe my symptoms, and he lets me know if I should go to the doctor or hospital or if he can provide something to help along the healing process.

Best of all, I live in a village of about 350 people. I’ve had to wait in a line (of one person ahead of me) precisely one time in five years.

Read: no shouting your symptoms across the desk in a room full of people. So that’s nice too.

Now, granted, something *very* annoying about the pharmacy system in Italy is that you have to *ask* the pharmacist for just about everything medical you can imagine–think vitamins, regular strength painkillers, cold medicine, yeast infection meds (ladies, I know you hear me on this). I’m spoiled as my mom sends me these things, but that’s more because many of these things are also ridiculously expensive here.

Anyway, I am happy to report that since my pharmacist gave me meds on Friday, I have felt so amazingly better that I have resolved to stop complaining about having no drugstore where I can buy everything over-the-counter, without describing of symptoms or asking anyone for help in the unlocking of cabinets that hold controversial items like tampons, lipstick, and shampoo.*

And that is why I love il farmacista in Italy.

Today anyway.

*For the record, we can buy tampons, lipstick, and shampoo in places other than pharmacies, thank goodness.

Have you dealt with il farmacista?

What say you?

You Know You’re in Italy When…

Yesterday over at Twitter, the always lovely and informative ExpatCoach asked those of us with, ahem, Italian experience to fill in the blank:

You know you’re in Italy when…

A smattering of what ExpatCoach, Cherrye, Miss Expatria, Tina, and I came up with, within minutes:

  • …you can have a conversation with a stranger comprised entirely of facial expressions, hand gestures, and no words.
  • …you can say, “Boh?” and you’ve said a mouthful.
  • …you have to APPLY to complete an application for something.
  • …you wait in line for three hours at the Post Office…to pay a bill.
  • …your taxi driver’s hands are too busy waving & threatening other drivers to actually touch the steering wheel.
  • …you pour the wine over-handed and your guests gasp and bless themselves.
  • …your ability to digest milk (at any time of day) and drink ice cold drinks even while eating hot food astounds.
  • …perfect strangers worry about your catching a cold because you’re not dressed warmly enough. In July.
  • …you’re handed a scarf when you say your throat feels a bit scratchy.
  • …you’re the only person at IKEA without their entire extended family in tow.
  • …someone you just met invites you to dinner at their house.
  • …€5 on a bottle of wine is a splurge.
  • …posted schedules, hours of operation, etc. mean precisely nothing (except sciopero ones).
  • …someone, somewhere is in sciopero.
  • …you get honked at for letting an old lady cross the street.
  • …someone thinks your turkey wrap is a foreign food they’d never touch.
  • …your friend says “I quit drinking coffee. Now I only have three cups a day.”
  • …you find figs on your doorstep.

And now I’ll add:

  • …your morning errands take you to one shop for produce, another for bread, another for cheese, and yet another for meat–and you love every single minute of it.

I thought this woud be a fun weekend fill-in, so Italophiles, play along please:

You know you’re in Italy when…

Need some inspiration?

And be sure to visit ExpatCoach at Career By Choice and show her some love!

Buon weekend!

berlusconi singing for his cena*, sort of

Well you can’t say Silvio Berlusconi, who turns 72 next month, isn’t entertaining.

No seriously. He entertains.

This former cruise ship singer, media mogul, and–oh yeah–Prime Minister of Italy is currently producing a CD of canzoni d’amore (love songs) with Neapolitan** singer Mariano Apicella.

Actually, this will be Berlu’s second set of compositions released by Apicella; the first was out during Berlusconi’s second time around as Prime Minister in 2003 and reached Italy’s Top 50.

The duo hope that the CD will be released in December (just in time for Christmas shopping!), but Apicella admits “it won’t be easy given all the (prime minister’s) responsibilities.”

Oh yeah…THOSE! Glad someone’s thinking about that.

Will you be buying the Berlusconi-produced CD?

And my *real* question:

When are we going to see Obama or McCain’s greatest hits?!

*Cena (CHAY-nah) in Italian means dinner/supper.

**Why isn’t it “Napolitan?” It’s not Neapoli, it’s Napoli! If anyone has answers, please share. This has always bothered me.

La Festa dei Lavoratori: Labor Day in Italy

Italy’s celebration is known as La Festa dei Lavoratori and actually has ancient roots in “Il Calendimaggio,” a holiday connected with agricultural cycles.

Read on...

Happy Liberation Day Italia!

Today is one of Italy’s biggest holidays: la Festa della Liberazione or Liberation Day, celebrating the country’s liberation from fascism thanks to Allied troops at the end of World War II.

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Michelle FabioMichelle Fabio is an American attorney-turned-freelance writer living in her family's ancestral village in Calabria, Italy and savoring simplicity one sip at a time. 

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