As we are preparing to move out of the hotel we've been in for almost half a year, I bought a gift for the hotel director to give her when we leave. She has been a friendly face and good-hearted woman to us during our time here.
Also being that it's November, I am noticing many Facebook friends post their daily gratitudes as they count down to Thanksgiving. It reminds me of a book a friend shared with me recently called One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp. She encourages everyone to come up with three things each day for which you are thankful. If you do it every day, by one years time you will have discovered 1000 gifts! She encourages bloggers to blog what they are thankful for as well. So in the spirit of Thankfulness, I've decided to take on the challenge.
Overt gratitude is a uniquely American trait. Not to say Italians and others aren't thankful for things, but the Americans express their gratitude much more quickly and frequently. It's almost shocking for some Italians when Americans are constantly bombarding with Grazie and Thank you. Ive been trying to observe Italians and how they react to each other in situations where Americans would instantly express their thankfulness in trivial and serious situations.
Today at the local Italian Supermarket, the cashier told the shopper "Grazie" at the end of the transaction. The shopper said, "Ciao Ciao". Bye bye. Many times I notice that if a store clerk says "Grazie!" the recipient just says "Ciao" or "Arrivederci".
If I receive good service and I say "Grazie" they respond with "Prego". "Prego" has many meanings and is commonly used as a "You're welcome". But when they say it in this context it almost seems dismissive. Like "Whatever, it's fine."
But many times you just don't hear it. Here in Italy, there is very little regard for personal space. People just bump you and say nothing. There can be miles of space and they will not divert from their path if you are in it. They will bowl you over without so much as a "Mi scusi!" In fact the only time I really hear that is between friends.
It's just a cultural difference. I think that is one part of me as an American that I will not be able to change. I'll just kill them with kindness and gratitude. "Grazie Mille" is at the tip of my tongue.
So here is my first step toward recognizing 1000 gifts:
1. A God on the throne who loves me unconditionally and teaches me to love unconditionally.
2. My husband who loves me, supports me and makes me a better person every day.
3. Motherhood. Any more on that subject and I'll start crying. I love being Emily and Ivan's mommy so much. :)
Be thankful! There is so many blessings in your life just waiting to be counted. :)