6 Ways Living In Italy Changed My Life In The USA

Obviously, being in Italy the past few months has been an incredible, life changing adventure.  I am thankful for every day I was able to spend in that wonderful country.  However, my time there has come to an end (for now).  Two days ago I made my return journey to America.  But, as the saying goes, “You can’t go home again.”  There are quite a few ways Italy has changed how I will live my life going forward.  From now on I will…..

gymclothesrealclothes1 Dress Better. It is no secret that the Italians are a stylish bunch.  This was a big problem for me in America.  Yoga pants, tshirts, and running shoes often made up my daily attire.  Granted, working at a gym made this partially acceptable.  I didn’t even own many “real clothes,” let alone wear them.    When I found out I was going to Italy, I set out to buy almost an entire new wardrobe (with a lot of help from my fashion conscious friends).  Italians always make sure they’re put together before leaving the house.  In 3 months, I haven’t seen a single person who could be on People of Walmart.  Adopting their fashion-forward attitude is something that I will definitely be continuing in the future.

2 Cook More.  Before I went to Italy, I rarely made the time to cook.  There was a lot of Chipotle, BJs Brewhouse, etc in my life.  But in Italy, it was just the opposite.  The number of times I’ve eaten at a restaurant in the past 3 months, I can count on one hand and almost every time I was with Americans.  It seems that everybody loves to cook in Italy.  I am taking back several simple, healthy, recipes that my host family used to make and plan on putting them to use!

3 Take Life Slower.  I remember on my second day in Italy, my host family took me to one of the islands of Venice.  I knew we were there for dinner but we arrived in the early-afternoon.  This island is very quiet and there was not a tourist in sight or any touristy things to do.  I couldn’t help but wonder why we were there so early.  We took a walk, got some gelato, sat at a small cafe.  The whole time I’m thinking “What are we doing? I thought we were here for dinner” The answer was: Living.  We were just living.  We were enjoying the day, together, with no real agenda.  My life in America (as with most Americans I know) is results-driven.  The mentality is “We are here for a purpose. Let’s do this thing and then go home.”  This experience I had was only the first of many where life was just…enjoyed.  Not thinking about what to do later or tomorrow.  It was just…being. Just…living.  Over the course of my time there, I eventually learned to let go of plans a little bit, and I’d like to continue that here in the US.   Venice Italy Island

4 Watch Rugby. Sadly, rugby is not very popular in the USA.  I knew little to nothing about the sport before I came to Italy.  But thanks to my host family, I now love it.  Granted, I still don’t know everything that is going on, but Im on a mission to learn.  Some of my favorite memories of my time in Italy include going to see my host brother play for his team and watching the championship game between New Zealand and Australia with my host dad and Italian neighbor.

5 See more of the USA. It took me coming to the other side of the world to want to travel more in the US.  Because of my adventures, I realized how much I took the places in my own backyard for granted.  Unfortunately, we don’t have an awesome public transit system spanning the whole country like Italy does but I have a car and an airport nearby.   I’ve only seen a fraction of my own country and I intend to change that.

6 Turn off my Internet/Phone.  While the internet is full of any information you would ever want it is also a bottomless pit of distractions.  Because of my lack of a constant internet connection in Italy. I have been able to enjoy life a little bit more.  In addition, I also haven’t been able to make or receive calls or texts unless I was connected.  My life has felt a little more peaceful and I’m glad I’m not as dependent on my phone anymore.

While I miss nearly everything about Italy, especially my Italian host family, I know I will return in the future.  But in the meantime, I will be forever adopting these simple changes to my daily life in America!!

Next up for me: the start of training for my 2nd marathon AND some big changes coming to Jen Runs The World! Stay tuned!

After returning from living in Italy, I made these simple changes when I came back home

~ Jen

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