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Your wife is Italian and was living with you in the states for years. The only question I have is, did you notice any Americanization / increased feminist tendencies on her part during the time period she has spent here?
Hey, good question. Yes, she's become more Americanized in the business sense, but I wouldn't say she's become more feminist. She lost most of her Italian accent, and she is far less interested in sex than she was early-on (which is I think a common thing in most marriages). She is something of a workaholic now and stubborn as a mule, but I think that the sterile, boring, anti-social attitudes in the US sort of pushed her into a corner where that's where she found her comfort zone (i.e. a rut). This is part of the reason that we're going back to Italy: to see if we can coax back out the easier-going Italian girl I once knew. We'll see if she'll change, or if America has turned her into something inextricable. Not that she's bad; she's not. I've had plenty of men tell me that I have a real treasure, and compared to most American women, she is. She's never been a shopper, but rather frugal to an extreme. I have to beg her to go out and spend some money on clothing, since I'm tired of seeing her all frumpy. I sometimes jokingly tell her that I married a Jewish donkey, since she's as stubborn as one and a penny-pincher, to boot. (sorry about the mild slur...I was playing on the old stereotype...I have nothing against donkeys or Jews).
In a nutshell, I think America has depressed her and taken much of the joy and happiness out of her. I think that is the lot for many Americans: they bury themselves in work to avoid facing the reality that the American "culture" is boring and pointless (work, commute, shop, sleep, repeat).
To be totally honest, I pretty much sabotaged my career in order to move us back overseas, in hopes of salvaging our marriage, since she's turned into a boring person, who no longer inspires me. I want to see if I can get my old girl back, if she's still buried in there somewhere, or if America has destroyed her spirit completely.
Hey RedDog. I'm not sure about Italy per se, but I think falling into a rut or routine after school and esp. past late 20s or so is quite common in many places outside of the US. For example, my good friend from Norway told me that once people there enter the workforce (which admittedly tends to be low stress I believe thanks in big part to large net oil exports per capita), their life pretty much revolves around TV at home. Not true for everyone but a very large percentage according to him. One thing they and Europeans from many other countries have is a lot more annual leave time (3-6 weeks) which allow for extended vacations every year if a family wants that. But still, life can be pretty routine and boring for adults raising children.
Perhaps Latin parts of Europe are more into the joy of life. But generally, I believe the default trend in much of the world (certainly not just the US) is to fall into a very routine sort of lifestyle once you get settled with a family - all kinds of work and child care responsibilities followed by the physical ravages of aging. What do adult Europeans do besides work and consume? Travel? Hang out with friends sipping wine on the sidewalks? Party at clubs? Pursue an intellectual lifestyle? Or perhaps do all types of outdoorsy stuff?
People often talk about how America is all about working and consuming and you mentioned that all people there do is work, commute, shop, sleep, and repeat. Well just to throw-up an example, in Japan, many people work and commute for a significantly larger percentage of their time than the average American. Sure, Europe is more relaxed in theory. But I do think there are lot of lonely and depressed people there too, especially in the Germanic language countries which of course includes the UK. Just another perspective to consider.
Hey, RedDog, thanks for the response.
I dont know what you mean by business sense. Is she in business?
In general you are saying that the social atmosphere in the USA has depressed her? Everyone here who has been abroad probably feels the same way. Wu types on it extensively as well.
It is great that she hasnt turned into a feminist. From what I can tell, people use the term "Americanized" way too liberally. For example, this one character said that many of his former GFs Americanized. After I asked him a few follow up questions, it became obvious that it wasnt that they had Americanize, it was the fact that they are sluts who got the new cock urge. Simple as that.
When I say Americanized, I mean loud mouth, bitchy, bossy and demanding unreasonable things that were never expected before.
Probably as long as you picked a good woman from the start that you'll experience none of those problems. At least thats what I figure.
Couple points in response to Rock. We don't talk much about weather here -- maybe because some of the world's best weather, in California, produces its most toxic social atmosphere -- but it's hard to overlook the difference in climate between Norway and Italy. How long can you be outdoors in Norway -- maybe four months out of the year? That's got to dampen sociability.
I don't think routine is the main factor in social satisfaction so much as whether or not you feel a sense of community. A French sociologist spent a couple of years in the U.S. back in the '60s, and came up with some interesting conclusions about how in Europe there's scarcely even a word for community or individualism. Community is just assumed as the natural backdrop of life in Europe, something you take for granted. In the U.S., though, with its strange ethos of individualism, community is ever elusive, always a problem to be solved. He observed that Americans believe they have to fully realize their individuality before they can enter into community. Both remain always beyond reach, the unattainable grail.
In the last 40 or so years Americans have just said "f**k it" to the quest for fully realized individuality, for a variety of reasons, and have turned into a bunch of cretinous slugs. Community they don't even really have any sense of what it is anymore, let alone how to attain it. It's a war of all against all. Every day.
It's the sense of security you get from being embedded in a genuine community that leads to a sense of light-heartedness and joy in life. The daily routine is just incidental to all of that.
Last edited by gsjackson on March 17th, 2011, 1:50 am, edited 1 time in total.
@Adama, I guess I was referring to the excessive and unbalanced focus on business, money making and work, work, work, to the exclusion of having fun. Yes, sure not all Americans are like that, and not all Italians are NOT like that, but I was making a generalization. I'm hoping that by returning to Italy, that she'll rediscover her fun-loving side and warm up. She's just become very withdrawn and reserved here. I have to agree with Rock that Germans and Scandinavians can be pretty closed off in many ways, but Italians (like the Greeks and Spaniards) are not so much like that. Italy is a strange place: it's a forced union of dozens of principalities, each with their own unique personalities. To the Sicilians (whom I REALLY like), the northern Italians are cold and boring. To people from my wife's hometown Bologna, the Milanese, Genoans, and Venetians are cold and boring. To the Italians in general, the Spaniards are party animals and put the Italians to shame in that regard. Personally, I think that's why Italy, Spain, and Greece are always political basket cases: they're too busy partying. Even my wife admitted that the Italians are very "hedonistic", being overly focused on the "good life", taking it easy, drinking and eating too much, hanging out and partying. The way I see it, if I can deal with that part, and find a comfortable job, life won't be so bad there, after all.
@gsjackson, I can say from first-hand experience that there is a true sense of community spirit in much of Italy, unlike what you'd find further north in Europe. Obviously big cities like Milan are exceptions, but in the smaller towns there are always festivals going on, the neighbors all know each other and hanging out. Housewives hang out their windows and gossip with each other across the courtyard or from apartment floor to apartment floor, for hours.
Forgot to mention, RD -- good luck getting the smile back on your wife's face. I'm betting it will happen.
Be sure to weigh in here from time to time with your observations of the process. This forum would be much more valuable if more people would do that. For example, I'd be very curious to hear from you-can-call-me-al, who moved to the Phillipines in January after saying he could do nothing but strike out in the US and Europe, but no word so far. Maybe he can't wipe the smile off his face long enough to sit down and write a sober assessment. Or maybe it's a sad case of 'wherever you go there you are.' That sort of feedback would be enormously useful.
The worst thing I ever did was send my wife to work. She hates it, and I hate it, its ruining her health and if anything winds up breaking our marriage, it will be the work issue.
That said, my military pension simply isnt enough to sustain two people. And it is God awful expensive to process for citizenship. That is what got the ball rolling, and now its been 3 years of her working.
The only good news is my lawsuit vs. the VA should be wrapped up within the next few months. When it does, we get rid of all debt and move to a less expensive area.
How to deal with newbies that talk much but do little.
Pics or it didn't happen.
Cool story, bro.