07 Jan 2011

The little things that make you feel at home in Canada and those which make you feel at home in Tuscany…

Things I’ve missed, things I’ll miss.

So we are almost at the end of our stay in Canada. I am glad to go back home, but I am also sad that the longest vacation we have had in over two years is coming to an end. I guess it’s the right time to take stock.

Thing that I have missed

There are a few things that I have missed. First and foremost, Christmas with my family, but I have had a great time here. My husband’s family is amazing. I am really lucky.

I’ve missed our dog. Our 72 pound black ball of fur… I can’t wait to pick her up at my parents’ place on Monday.

I have missed the Befana” tradition, you know… the celebration of the Epiphany, with the stockings filled up with sweets, and a piece of coal for the few naughty actions I have to account for… We usually have lunch at my aunt’s place every year. She’s waiting for us to be back, so I guess we will have a late Befana anyway!

I’ve missed good fruit and vegetables. Canada has delicious food, but sorry to say… fruit and vegetables are absolutely tasteless. Not sure why… I’ve always heard our guests talk about how delicious fresh food is in Italy and I’ve always thought it was a nice way to be polite… but no. Fresh vegetables and fruit is definitely better back home. Maybe because we mostly only use fruit and vegetables that are in season. Not sure.

I’ve missed our usual diet and meal schedule. Ok, here I’m just using parallelism… I haven’t really missed much. The Indian food that my mother-in-law prepares is to die for. And I would have missed our usual diet and meal schedule back at home as well. It’s the amount of food that I can’t take anymore. I need to go back to eating regularly after the holidays. I guess this is the same everywhere, really.

I have missed the snow. Not because there usually is snow back at home. Not at all. But I was hoping to see more snow here, as that’s something we don’t normally get in Tuscany. Well… we did get it this year… but right after we left! I still got to have a white Christmas, which is all that matters! I am actually glad it hasn’t been too cold.

I have missed pizza… I had pizza yesterday and I ended up with a hot water bottle on my stomach!

Oh… and I have missed the bottom of public restrooms’ doors… people, you have such an overdeveloped sense of privacy for a lot of stuff that really requires much less headaches and you can’t build bathroom stalls with proper walls and doors?! What’s wrong with this picture?! If there is one place you need to be private it’s the freaking bathroom!

Things that I will miss

What I will miss… a lot actually. I’ll miss bagels… boy I love bagels!!! Oh. And chicken wings. Can please somebody start selling those in Italy?!?!?!

I’ll miss the wild shopping. We always buy too much stuff here.

I’ll miss the ethnic food: Italy is quite “boring” in that sense. It’s mostly all about Italian food. (ok… I know I said I miss eating normally… but hey… Thai food is delicious).

I’ll miss the pretty houses, the white landscape, the conveniences of the orderly Canadian cities.

I’ll miss bacon… and pancakes.

I’ll miss the nice evenings spent drinking and chatting with my husband’s family.

I’ll miss seeing my husband so happy at the pub, with a good beer in his hands or watching hockey.

I’ll miss the fabulous bookstores and the large shopping malls.

I’ll miss being able to see movies in their original language at the cinema.

I’ll miss the time spent doing nothing but the things I want to do… I’ve read a lot, and I’ve loved that!

Oh, I’ll miss the fancy cars with heated seats… mmmmm!

Things I haven’t missed and I won’t miss

Something I haven’t missed is the hectic working schedule back home and the drives back and forth between Civitella and Pisa, the rain. Something I won’t miss are the wind chill, peanut butter, blue cheese, the nasty viruses that have kept me in bed for way too long given that I was on my well-deserved vacation, the wine bottles with screw tops (what happened to cork being essential for letting the wine breathe?!), having to dress in layers and taking off and putting on your jacket ten times per hour…

Canada and Italy are different. And that’s fabulous. We are lucky enough that we can get the best of both.

I can’t wait to go home to Tuscany, and I can’t wait to be back in Canada!


  1. Kathy, Dream of Italy

    Great post! I really enjoyed this one. True about bathrooms – I never thought about it. Plus you are right about fruits and veggies. Bet you can’t wait to see your pup!

  2. Thank you Kathy! Yes, the bathrooms always puzzle me… Happy New Year by the way!

  3. I’d be interested to hear Marcel’s version of this, since he’s the transported Canadian, like me. Personally, there’s basically nothing I’m missing about North America (I don’t care for pubs or hockey) EXCEPT the bathrooms. Because they may be missing the bottoms of the doors, and I like my privacy too, Gloria, but at least there ARE bathrooms. Anywhere, in any store, cafe’, supermarket, there is a plethora of clean bathrooms with those things that are a luxury here in Italy – soap and paper, not to mention basic sanitation. And in the rare case that said can is guarded by a lock, a key is ceded to you without question, purchase, or nasty looks.

    You’re also right about the food that is tasteless, and about the excellent ethnic food – we went wild on cheap sushi. Although we did get food poisoning from a Thai restaurant in Toronto and in fact I have never eaten anything vaguely Asian ever since (except vegetarian sushi).

    And there is one more thing I like about North America. Jeans that come the length of my legs. And that reach above my navel.

    But i’m so happy to be home.

  4. Hi Alexandra! I agree e 100%. Clean public bathrooms are a fabulous thing and one I’ll miss! Clothing items sizes as well!!! We shopped like crazy!

  5. What about eavesdropping, or is your Italian good enough that you can eavesdrop on two continents? What about Canadian butter. We make special trips from ME to NB just for the butter. However, corks give breath only to bacteria, not to wine, and bacteria are the dudes that give us bad bottles of wine. Enjoyed you piece, thanks.

  6. Hi Mike, I’m Italian, so I guess I get by in Italian…

    Not sure about Canadian butter, I like it I guess. I can assure you though that corks give breath to wine and that you want to drink something where bacteria can live… believe me. No cork, no good wine. Period.

  7. I was indeed wrong, cork does allow breathing. However, as in every controversy, it’s much more nuanced than “No cork, No good wine”. I’ve never had a bad bottle with a screw on cap, and I’ve had numerous bad bottles with corks. A good article on the pro, the con, and the future is at, http://www.novusvinum.com/features/screwcaps.html
    Cin Cin.

  8. LOL That’s because one is alive and natural and therefore subject to natural processes, and the other one is a cheaper industrial production!

    No no no… there is no way you can convince an Italian that caps are acceptable on a wine bottle, that cappuccino is ok after lunch and that Ranch dressing is an alternative to olive oil on salad! LOL Thank you for stopping by again!

  9. Great piece. As a lifelong Canadian who’s never lived anywhere else, I’d miss those things as well, plus hockey.
    My family is coming to Tuscany for a vacation in July. As small gifts to some of the hosts at the agritourismo and B&Bs we’re staying at, I thought a gift might be appropriate.
    I’m thinking of either small bottles of icewine, or small containers of maple syrup. Would either of these be considered ‘weird’ or an insult?

    • Hi Chris! Thank you for your comment! I am sure your family’s hosts will love any of those! And if they don’t your family can come stay at one of our rentals! LOL

  10. Ciao Gloria! Il tuo blog e’ bellissimo e mi piace un sacco – questo articolo sopratutto perche’ io sono Canadese ma ho vissuto qualche mese in Toscana. Mi trovo benissimo in tutti e due i luoghi, e spero che il tuo soggiorno in Canada sia stato bello. E’ interessante per me leggere le cose che ti mancano e che ti mancheranno dai due paesi…io potrei scrivere una lista molto simile alla tua!!!

    • Ciao Sarah, grazie per il commento! Il Canada è bellissimo e ci andiamo abbastanza regolarmente perché mio marito è di Ottawa. Ci sono sempre tante cose che quando ripartiamo ci mancano. Dove sei ora?

  11. elena

    Scusa se commento solo ora!
    Volevo solo dire che si possono trovare facilmente i pancake e il bacon in Italia. Per il bacon basta chiedere al salumiere di tagliarvi la pancetta più spessa, e verrà buonissimo. L’abbiamo fatto ieri per Pasquetta ed era delizioso!
    Al supermercato trovi anche l’impasto per fare i pancake, ma si possono anche fare a casa velocemente e vengono bene…sono facilissimi da fare te lo dice una che cucina malissimo haha.
    Inoltre ultimamente si trovano alcuni ottimi prodotti asiatici nei supermercati! Io compro sempre gli spaghetti di riso o di soia con relativa salsa di soia e sono molto buoni:)

    • Cara Elena, grazie del commento. I pancake li facciamo ogni tanto, è vero non sono difficili. E anche il succo d’acero ormai si trova (a peso d’oro, ma si trova). Il bacon però con la pancetta no no no. Non è la stessa cosa per niente! 🙂 Invece grazie a Dio ha aperto un bel negozio a Viareggio che importa dall’Inghilterra quindi in caso di disperazione, lì lo troviamo! 🙂 Anche i prodotti orientali ormai a Pisa si trovano bene, specialmente le spezie indiane. Ma il thai, quello non è comparabile… Sono una purista!


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