Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Difficult times

Italy is going through some pretty rough times. Like I have mentioned earlier, many family businesses have already closed down and will probably never open again - ever. 

Berlusconi reassured people time after time that everything was fine. And people believed him. But everything wasn't fine. And now the party is over. A party that was mostly for Berlusconi and his likes.... And the bill has to be paid by the man in the street. The tecnocrat, Monti, is doing his best to help this country back on its feet again, but of course, it takes time and no one knows how long it will take and where we will all end up.... I recently overheard some people saying that they were hoping that Greece would go bancrupt so that they could go back to Drachmas as their currency. And why? Well, because most likely Italy will be the next Greece and many Italians would welcome back the Lira... After Italy changed its currency to Euro life has become increasingly difficult. I don't know if a change back to the old Lira would make life easier. But what I know is that people here in southern Europe have to learn to get by with very little money for a long time to come. Less is more.... Isn't that what they're saying in the fashion industry???

Since I'm living here on a permanent basis this affects me as much as any Italian. Which again means that I, too, have to "tighten the belt" and make do with less money. And lately I have thought a lot about what to do so that I can continue living here. Because that's what I want to do. And for this purpose I'm willing to sacrifice quite a bit.

I've been surfing the internet the past few weeks and have come across some English/American/Australian blogs that talks about frugal (careful) living which means that you're living your life according to what you need rather than what you want. So this is in the opposite end of the "because-you're-worth-it-scale". And very many people are living like this not because they have to, but because they want to.

I have been reading a lot of those blogs and suddenly it dawned on me that this is what I (and many Italians) need to do in the years to come. Being a conscious consumer and save where we can in addition to f.ex growing our own fruit and vegetables (for those who have the possibility) and try to make at home what you need - i.e detergents, shampoos, bake your own bread etc etc. Really, it's not rocket science, just common sense, but still you need to get used to the idea of making everything (or as much as you can) yourself instead of buying it. 

For a while now, I've had ambiguous feelings towards today's "shop-till-you-drop-society" (even though I've never been a hoarder). And now I've decided that I wont be part of it anymore
. There is a proverb saying that "you can only sit in one chair at a time".... and I will be trying my best to live by that proverb. Which means that I will make the best out of what I have at the moment rather than bringing unnecessary things into my house. And hopefully that will save me some money in addition to saving the environment from unnecessary waste.

 And while I'm at it I can tell you that today I actually knitted a dish cloth. A simple thing maybe, but instead of knitting a sweater that I just "want" I have knitted something I need. And hopefully it will last me longer than the ones you buy at the supermarket so I'm pretty pleased with myself after all.

So, I've taken the first (baby)step towards being "frugal". And it feels good!


Vesle Serena said...

Yes I agree with you here. It is necessary. My norwegian grandmother - like many other who grew up before and under the war - was made that way too - frugal - and I learned from her to live this way. Not only in Italy because of the crisis, but in the whole world, because that bubble we live in here in Norway wont last forever. But I find many italians (and norwegians) still are attracted to the luxury, even if it means debts and unpaid bills. You feel like a loser if you dont have the last pair of shoes and the trendy handbag. I dont want to be a part of this, and I find your washing clothes very pretty!

A Foreigner in Italy said...

Yes, I guess that even the "Norwegian bubble" will burst some time. It can't last forever. And then people will be forced to learn to live in a frugal way.

At the moment I'm tired of hearing all the commercials that's telling you to buy "everything" necessary and unnecessary. So from now on I will take the road I choose, not the one everybody is telling me to take...

Regarding the dish clothes.. It's strangely rewarding using something that you've made yourself! ;-)

Anonymous said...

Carissima LINDA,
brava!!!!Ti ammiro moltissimo, perchè sei una donna forte,che riesce ad affrontare tutte le
difficoltà di petto, senza piangersi addosso,però
realizzare anche la "pezza" per i piatti mi sembra
un pò esagerato:nei discount la trovi quasi a costo zero!Comunque di nuovo BRAVA!!!!Baci,

A Foreigner in Italy said...

Ciao e grazie Liliana,
so che posso trovare tante cose nei discount (anche gli stracci) però penso che questi che faccio io dureranno di più. E mi piace anche usare una cosa che ho fatto io ;-) (E poi ho anche qualcosa da fare la sera quando sto a casa a guardare la tv....) Baci!

erleichda said...

Dear Linda, I am glad you stay. A lot of Norwegians I know after they had been living in Greece for over 20 years they just "escaped" back to rich Norway... I understand it in a way of course, but it did hurt a bit. I love Italians almost as much as I love Greeks and I like that idea that is in the opposite end of the "because-you're-worth-it-scale". ( why are we worth anything anyway???) I just need to practise it even more. Although I am mostly a spring consumer... and handle from Fretex usually...
I think Italy will manage better than Greece. Mostly because of the politicians... Stå på min venn!

A Foreigner in Italy said...

Ciao Demie and thank you for the kind words. I have to admit that I hate the because-you're-worth-it way of thinking and probably would have gone the opposite way anyway - even if it wasn't for the crisis. I like the idea of working out the difference between what I need and what I just want and living a more frugal life is also better for the environment as well as for my purse ;-)

H. said...

Ja, man kan jo tro hvor lenge vil det "gode oljelivet i Norge vare"? Ingenting vokser i himmelen, sier alltid min kjære, og vi er i den generasjon som alltid har litt penger "put away for a rainy day" - tror det er lurt ;)

Søt klut du strikker - jeg elsker å strikker !

A Foreigner in Italy said...

Det har blitt flere enn èn klut strikket her kan jeg love deg ;-) Da jeg først begynte klarte jeg ikke stoppe. Ha ha!

Jeg er enig i at ingenting vokser inn i himmelen så jeg tror det er lurt å være forberedt på "a rainy day" også i Norge. Her i Italia har det "regnet" en stund allerede....

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