Never take pop culture for granted

When you've been living abroad for a while you will realise that, at some point, your excitement for the new is taken over by routine and, most importantly, you don't have to impress new people anymore. This means that your true sense of humour will slowly shine through the language barrier. Or would it?

pop culture references

Even now, when an Australian celebrity name is mentioned I wouldn't give it too much thought, and I still am utterly clueless when it comes to public figures. On the other hand, I am slowly catching up with sayings, contemporary references, staples of our generation, and slang. Now I believe speaking the language is necessary but to feel part of a Country you need to understand, if not the history of the place, at least its pop culture.

So here I am, feeling all Australian because I can tell four times out of ten when someone is actually Australian just from their accent. Until one day, in a specific situation I mindlessly sung the appropriate song for the context, the one melody that everyone in Italy would know and understand, only to notice people staring blankly at me.

Come on!

It's obviously the super long ending song of the TV show that aired for a million years when we were kids. It's when the guy is trying to read the newspaper and his wife wants to sleep. How could they not know it? Maybe, because this is just an Italian thing. Same for when I move my hands meaning something in particular, or mention a certain author, or the melody from the TV advertisement with people who like an easy win, or the infamous frozen food ready in five minutes. To my readers in Italy, all this would be crystal clear and perfectly usable given the right situation. No explanations needed. But here? Well, here I get those blank stares, or giggles shortly followed by 'What? Speak English!' 

Do you know how smart I am in Italian?! 
Did I tell you that Gloria, from Modern Family, is my spirit animal?

Unfortunately, sometimes there is no word in English that corresponds to what I am feeling. Especially when it comes to core concepts of my existence, such as feeling of unease, mixed with inconvenience, bother, annoyance, embarrassment, discomfort, awkwardness, and disadvantage. This is probably the Italian word I miss the most, and that I am slowly using in daily conversations due to the lack of the appropriate word in English. The word is 'disagio' [Pron: dee-sah-jo].

Beware, 'disagio' is like a double edged sword. I feel 'disagio' when no one around me knows I am singing the New Year's eve celebratory song. At the same time, people watching me walking in circles around the room while singing, may think I am such a 'disagio' person. 

Everytime you want to facepalm, even for something you did, that's 'disagio' right there. You'd be surprised by how often you could use that word.

In 'disagio' we are not alone!

Image: via

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