Expat Vent Alert (E.V.A.) – an early detection warning system

After the wild success of S.A.L., the Sisso Alert Level preparedness warning system designed to alert my local readers of excessive sisso levels in and around Reggio Emilia, I’ve decided to implement a second early detection device. I call it:

E.V.A. – Expat Vent Alert

This early warning system is designed to read levels of homesickness, stress, culture shock, and general frustration in English speaking expatriates located within the geological borders of Italy. It then emits a numerical value between 0 and 10 that corresponds with the level of biased, inappropriate, offensive, and prejudicial comments that are likely to follow. It can be adjusted for use in other countries as well, simply by adding the country name to the end (examples: #EVAitaly or #EVAgermany).

The acronym forms the female name, Eva, which is not a coincidence. Eva (or Eve in English), in biblical terms, was the first woman ever created… from whence life cometh. This system is appropriately named after her, as it is a quantification of the amount of life being sucked out of the subject expat in question, as well as a measurement of the subsequent reaction one can expect.

As a guideline, here are some examples as indicators of predicted levels:

  • E.V.A. 1 – I’m being force fed wonderful pasta and heavenly wine. Woe, is me. (example here)
  • E.V.A. 2 – Why does my Italian spouse continue to embarrass me so? It’s pretty cute, though. (example here)
  • E.V.A. 3 – Dear all Italians, please stop looking at me like I’m an alien. (example here)
  • E.V.A. 4 – I have never been so astutely aware that I am female. (example here and here)
  • E.V.A. 5 – How many times can you really need my signature? Basta! (example here)
  • E.V.A. 6 – Knock knock. Who’s there? Two thousand, f*cking thirteen. Catch up. (example here and here)
  • E.V.A. 7 – These people are physically incapable of not talking about food. Damn, it stresses me out. (example here and here)
  • E.V.A. 8 – If one more little old lady cuts in front of me in line, I’m gonna drop kick her. (example here and here)
  • E.V.A. 9 – I don’t WANT to discuss EVERY LITTLE DETAIL with the ENTIRE family. Got it?! (example here)
  • E.V.A. 10 – This country is full of backasswards, close-minded, stubborn, unchanging palle rompers, who have no hope of ever allowing Italy to join the modern world. I’ve had it with all of you. I’m going to go eat worms. (example coming soon. very very soon.)

Disclaimer: Clearly any native readers should take the higher level warnings into consideration prior to reading the attached comments. Comments associated with any E.V.A. level should not be read as comparisons to the expat’s home country (example: if an E.V.A. 7 comment states that the public health system in Italy is sh*t, it does NOT mean that the author automatically believes that the health system in his/her home country is any better).

We all need to vent sometimes, right?

Go forth, use the system.

You can expect a #EVAitaly Level 10 post coming soon from Married to Italy. Just need to cool off a bit first. Raaaaarg!

How I feel today (E.V.A. 10)

How I feel today (E.V.A. 10)

25 thoughts on “Expat Vent Alert (E.V.A.) – an early detection warning system

  1. I’d like this x1000 if possible. My #EVAnorway is often about a 6 or 7, usually a little less, and once or twice near the beginning of my time here was definitely approaching 10! Vent away, we’ll all listen and understand!

    • Thanks, Cindi!! I already one version of an upcoming post, but it might break the EVA system… I think I should sleep on it and approach it more diplomatically in the morning! 🙂

  2. Foreign women stand tall!! Push those old ladies that push you in the street market! Feel free to scream at the top of your lungs at the dinner table after the 13th course of food BASTA! ahaha! Love your blog!!

    • Oh, I’m cookin’ up a good one. I have to go through all the phases first, though. I need a day or two to mull it over and try to find some lesson about life. 🙂

  3. Hi, great post…I take it you don’t drive here (EVA off the scale perhaps?) I wish I could rant more but I’d be kicked out the village…again! It’s been over 15 years and I still feel like no.3….and no.10 is pretty much constant, especially when driving which I get to do for 2 hours a day on the worst road in the country (Amalfi Coast Drive ugh!)

    • I don’t drive much, you’re right – we have a home office. yeah, that would totally have made the list otherwise. I can’t believe you have to drive that road 2 hours EVERY day? holy moly. I would go on strike.

  4. Love the system and I kind of feel bad because I’m only here for a year but now the kids are going to the local school……I feel I can use this system too!! Great writing as always!

  5. What a fantastic post! I go swinging up and down EVA scale every day. Yesterday I was going to work on the always over-packed 117 tiny electric bus that goes straight down the always-crowded Via del Corso in Rome. The driver was cruising along way too fast for what is mostly a pedestrian street and low and behold he comes to a cross-walk and someone is walking across. SLAM. He slams on the brakes so hard that more or less everyone standing on the bus fell to the ground. I am not kidding. I had two people fall on top of me. So everyone pulls themselves back up and starts grumbling. I turn to look at the driver and he has got his auriculare in his ears, he is chatting away and this is what he is saying “Mamma, ma che cazzo vuoi, ma perche’ mi devi sempre rompere le palle…blah blah blah” – and then he takes off again going really fast and low and behold, there was another cross-walk and another pedestrian and it happened all over again. EVA 10!!!! At this point people are getting really pissed off, and he was still talking to his Mamma. I had a moment where I thought I might get up and make a scene and then I decided I would rather just get off the bus and walk the rest of the way to work. (By the way, there is an art to making a scene and Italians are much better at it than I am — I tend to get all embarrassed and flustered). Anyway, all it took was a few moments walking, tripping over the cobblestones and looking at the beautiful city around me and my EVA levels shot back down. I think the only way to smooth things out might be to move to Switzerland!

    • UGH! That sounds infuriating.
      You’re SO right – there is an art to making a scene like a real Italian. Fantastic post subject, actually… I’m so going to have to write about that.

      One last thing – Switzerland. No. Seriously. There’s like a whole other set of crap there. I got yelled at one time for not arranging my groceries properly on the conveyor belt at the checkout line. Not joking. There was even a diagram, which I apparently did not adhere to.

  6. From an Italian who shares this soil and life: I understand where you’re coming from and some of your concerns, but stop complaining about idiotic issues. You’re looking at a country that’s risking poverty, whose people work harder than yours for less money, when they can, and

    at serious political and social issues and you bitch about food, stifling families, petty concerns. Wake up. And in the process, look at your respective countries, these paradises that you left behind. Are they really paradises?

    • Hi Elena, I’m glad you commented. Please allow me to explain a couple things.

      First of all, I realize that the style of humor on my blog is difficult to translate into Italian. Much of the sarcasm is lost. For example, when I say:

      “It then emits a numerical value between 0 and 10 that corresponds with the level of biased, inappropriate, offensive, and prejudicial comments that are likely to follow.”

      you are meant to understand that many of the subsequent comments are, in fact, biased and offensive. And I realize that. However, those thoughts are unfortunately what plague the minds of many immigrants in Italy, myself included. Petty things, yes, as well as the more serious matters.

      The purpose of this blog is to take those petty things, try to digest them, and then try to come to a conclusion that makes every day life in Italy a little easier. I completely agree that there are much more serious concerns – pollution, racism, the economy, the judicial system, to name a few. And while there are many fantastic websites dedicated to working through those issues… this isn’t one of them.

      I find it a bit offensive to say that I am “complaining about idiotic issues”. I don’t see it that way at all. In, fact, if you were to look around my site a bit more, I think you would see that I often point the finger at myself. I often make fun of myself as a way to deal with cultural differences that are hard to deal with on a daily basis. I think it can be a really great coping mechanism.

      I’m curious as to whether you have ever lived abroad, and if so – how you found ways to cope with being in a new culture.

      I’m also curious as to whether or not you read the entire post, comedic disclaimer included. As I wrote in the post, I think everyone would agree – NO ONE said that the countries we immigrants have left behind are paradises. No one. I am often the most critical American of America that I know.

      So… I guess what I want to say is… lighten up, and have a laugh every once in a while. We’ll tackle Italy’s serious political and social issues in another venue. Let’s keep this one a place for people to share productive and positive thoughts about what it’s like to live in another culture.

      Thanks for stopping by,

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  8. I just happened upon this post and I love it! I moved to Italy (my choice) about seven years ago and I would have to say that I’m happy(?) about that decision because I married my husband and have a wonderful baby boy, but besides this beautiful highlight, I’ve been ready to pack up my family and move for a while now. I am constantly alternating between levels 8-9-10!!! I’ve found that to try to stay calm and neutral it helps to eliminate any and all use of Italian public institutions and the Poste Italiane as much as possible … oh, and it helps to avoid the news! 😉

    • sorry if I reply under another comment but I really didn’t find how to leave just a comment..I just had to say that: in my personal opinion of Italian, if you are an EVA10 you are actually an Italian 😀 Really the only difference is that as Italians we feel more linked to Italy than you probably…and people already get surprised if we scream or move hands or just behave like if we’re having a nervous breakdown. booh…..

  9. Pingback: Pointing the finger at me: My 5 biggest mistakes as an immigrant expat in Italy. | Married to Italy

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