When I moved to Italy, I thought that I would have to adapt to so many things different from the country where I was born and where I grew up, Indonesia. As one is Asian country and the other is western, I considered there would have been almost nothing similar between the two of them.
Then I Noticed How Wrong I was …
After having come to Italy, I found that it has similar characteristics to Indonesia. When I talk about common stuffs, the first thing that comes to my mind is certainly about food and drinks. Both Italians and Indonesians consume similar things a lot in their food and drinks. What are they?
This was the first aspect that I really noticed about both countries. In Indonesia, it is not uncommon to see people consume coffee in the morning, afternoon or any time of the day. The same thing in Italy, I found that coffee is one of the things that Italians love most to consume either at breakfast time (cappuccino), after lunch, after dinner, or just simply anytime.
For additional information, both Italy and Indonesia have their own characteristics in making coffee. Italians love to drink espresso (small cup of very strong coffee) while Indonesians drink in bigger cups. However, Indonesia has a special coffee product that many people adore, Luwak Coffee.
Rice Dishes and Pasta
It amazed me a bit when I found that in Italy, rice is consumed as much as in Indonesia. Certainly, the way of preparing the rice is different. However, it is still nice to find that Italians consume rice quite as much as Indonesians do (rice is the main dish in every Indonesians’ mealtime). Italy and Indonesia even have their own different versions of one type of rice dish named exactly the same, risotto giallo or yellow rice.
However, there is surely another difference about cooking the rice. Italians make it as risotto (with more water and similar to porridge for Indonesians) while Indonesians cook it in dried way to be accompanied with side dishes.
For the pasta, of course Italians have their own famous pasta (known worldwide) in every type like fusilli, spaghetti, tagliatelle, etc. However, Indonesians actually eat many types of “pasta” as well. Only they are named differently.
Indonesians name it noodles (that we can call as Asian spaghetti) and certainly, we only have the long pasta. Nevertheless, we also have other types of pasta made of rice, that we call rice noodles and vermicelli (or rice stick noodles). We also have the one made of soy, adding one other type of “pasta” that we eat.
Is It Only All about Food?
When I live here in Italy, I notice there is other thing that I find similar to Indonesia. The interesting fact is that actually Italian family culture is very bonding. You will find that many Italian children (even the grown up) are very attached to their parents and family.
Many Italian mothers would never stop to take care of their kids no matter they have grown as adults (which is more or less the same thing in Indonesia). You can say that mamma italiana is always loving and caring. Many adults here even still live with their parents until the day of their wedding day.
Other western countries may find it weird. However, as an Indonesian, I think it is normal, as it is more or less the same case too in Indonesia mostly.
Another fun fact is that I adore the shapes of both Indonesian and Italian map, as they look beautiful to me and look like something. Italian map looks like a boot shape while Indonesian map is composed of particular shapes that show many islands (as people recognized Indonesia as Archipelago country that has around 17000 islands). Even the original names of both countries start with the letter “I” and end with the letter “a” (Indonesia and Italia).
I remember before I moved to Italy, my uncle once told me “Italy is the Indonesia of Europe”. At that time, I was thinking if it was true in any way. Now, it seems that I found out that it is quite true.
This is how my story goes so far. I wish that I would find more things in Italy similar to Indonesia. Let’s wait as my journey is still only half-done. There is still so much to write about.
– Italia, you are the country where I feel like home (Indonesia) so far –