Saturday, June 20, 2015

Move with a Purpose

by Carl Hudson
Recently, I began to notice how I’ve begun a routine for my mornings in Cagli, Italy. The morning habits have consisted of buying a newspaper from a local shop, sitting in the city square, and ordering a cup of cappuccino from a homegrown café to start the day. Each time, I would practice my extremely limited Italian with the shop owners who would help me with pronunciations and maybe a few words that I may or may not completely recall later.

One morning, I somewhat deviated from the routine and noticed that the shop owners paid less attention to me and gave a very curt greeting. When I walked behind someone, they continually looked over their shoulder with somewhat of a concerned expression. I began to wonder if I had done anything to offend or cause some form of apprehension among some of the people who were part of my morning routine.

I was self-conscious. I had a lot of questions about my interactions with the townspeople, but felt uncomfortable asking anyone around me. While walking around the town, I noticed how fast I passed people around me. It dawned on me that every movement I made was done with a sense of urgency.
At home, every task was done quickly in order to move on to the next task. Even vacations can be done this way especially when people cram as many events as possible in their schedule. But the Italians in Cagli took their time at their errands.

The next morning, I took my time speaking Italian with the shop owners and broadening my vocabulary with them. I started strolling from here to there with the flow of traffic as opposed to moving speedily. Some locals surprised me when they spoke a little bit of English. That’s when I knew that the people I was learning about were just as interested in understanding where I came from, as I was interested in understanding their culture.