What do Russians and Italians have in common?

Today I've found a nice post in my Facebook feed and ran here to share with you.

"It’s been nearly two months since I moved to Italy. And in these two months I’ve learned that Italians and Russians have much more in common than it could possibly make sense, both geographically and historically. The things I’m about to write are coming from a generalization of the worst kind - the one based on nationality, but I hope I manage to get through this minefield without offending anyone or falling into superficial labeling.

So. What do Russians and Italians have in common?

This was a wonderful discovery that immediately made me feel at home. Italians are great at sarcasm and they use it in pretty much the same way Russians do. It’s not the English manner of: “Let me attempt to humiliate you as subtly as I possibly can, so that you don’t have any valid reason to punch me in the face”, it’s a violent, cheerful irony targeted at everyone and everything that happens to be in sight. Italians use sarcasm as a way of bonding, and the closer you become with someone, the harsher it gets. Tough love here.

If you look hungry - you will be fed. If you look upset - you won’t be left alone until you seem cheered up. If your house is invaded by aliens, there will be an uncle of a friend of a brother who once worked at disinfestation services and is ready to help: he is coming tomorrow at 7 a.m., stop arguing and get your protection suit ready. Caring is part of both the Russian and Italian DNA, and if someone likes you, he doesn’t need an invitation to start solving your problems. It’s a great thing when you need help and don’t know how to ask, but can be confusing if you are into figuring things out on your own.

Throwing money to the wind (for noble reasons)
Buying dinner for 10 people, half of whom you will never meet again? Check. Lending a third of your lifetime savings to a friend who happened to be in a terrible need of a new motorcycle? Check. Counting cents to the next salary? Check. Russians do it, Italians do it better. I thought I was used to the generosity that almost borders on a proud detestation of having money, but even I had to adjust my meter to the Italian scale.

Expensive taste
Speaking of wasting money. Moscow and Milan are surely the two capitals of designer bags. One time I decided to count all the purses that cost over a thousand euros while going home by tram. Fourteen. And there could not have been more than twenty women on the tram. I bet half of those bags are good fakes, indistinguishable from the originals until you start examining them closely, but still - it means that 1/3 of all women on the tram own a real designer bag.

Loving your country, but not liking it
This is a dangerous topic, but it seems that both Italians and Russians are used to keeping detailed lists of everything that’s wrong with their motherland. People here can talk about the beauty of Italy for hours – they are proud of it in the same way one is proud of his local football team – but many of those with whom I shared more than one bottle of wine have plans of leaving Italy at some point.

Outsmarting the system for the pure joy of it is a national sport both for Italians and Russians. If there’s any rule worth breaking - it will be broken, graciously.

Love of tragedy
If you’re going to be stuck with a project late at night, make sure all the seven floors of your office know how bad it all is, how desperate you are, how deep the boss will bury your corpse if you fail to deliver. And then, when you happen to sell that line: “Buy one - get one free”, you can celebrate gloriously, because you’ve just prevented the biggest catastrophe on Earth. I’m exaggerating shamelessly, of course, but, oh, it feels like home.

Low boiling point
If an Italian is unhappy about something - you will know it; if he is delighted - you will quickly be informed. Same goes for Russians. No poker faces needed – you won’t get confused deciphering the mood of those around you. They will throw it all in your face long before you've even detected anything was wrong, and it might as well break your nose.

The wild prowess that, without a proper object, brings chaos and starts fights. You will see this glimpse of happy anger in the eyes of a Russian, as he drives his car 150 km/h into a snowstorm. You will find the same in the eyes of an Italian - even as he parks his Vespa in a quiet street. It takes one to know one".

Source: https://www.facebook.com/polina.zabrodskaya/posts/10204779617802128

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