Wouter Smet

On web startups, technology, music and growth

An everyday day of living in Lecce

Holy pasticciotto, how bella can la vita be?

Today has by any standard been my most conventional – even menial – day so far. And yet it feels a lot like the happiest: I’d almost forgotten about the joy of a thousand tiny victories that come with settling down in a new place, even notwithstanding that place sporting a bright blue sky, a sun burning somewhere north of 25 degrees and a gentle breeze to go with it.

(Note on the joy of tiny victories: I realized during one of my most recent spurs of self-reflection that I am – not – an ‘idea person’, nor – oh my – a ‘getting stuff done’ person, but rather an ‘improving and optimizing little thingies’ person; so that may explain.)

Today’s tiny new-place victories include:

  • getting the highly useful local ‘pagine gialle‘ app,
  • using it to finally locate the nearest supermarket (things at a more human price than the historical city center! Plastic bags to make ice cubes! My first watermelon of the year!),
  • running for the first time into a local person that I met earlier (she runs up to me with an enthousiast ‘ciao Wouter’, gives me a kiss on either cheek, forgives me jovially for not remembering her name or that we met on our rooftop terrace during Tuesday’s party – more on that later – and invites me to join her for a stroll to the nearby beauty center she’s heading to),
  • getting running shoes (only item so far I regret not bringing from Belgium) at a bargain price,
  • taking a first ride in my neighbourhood with my newly obtained brightly pink bike (but as it turns out, the place where I went informing about a BBQ set also had spray paint to fix that),
  • and lastly a personal pet peeve: a way to distinguish the front door key with that from the inner door!

Throughout all this I get completely lost and disoriented at about every other corner, which is exactly how it should be.

Anyway, apart from this wonderfully slow-yet-productive day, how’s living in Lecce been so far, right? To set the scene, I’m typing this from my rooftop terrace, under the aforementioned sun and breeze, sipping from a fresh ‘literal’ lemonade (i.e. made by squeezing a couple of lemons from our huge stash, courtesy of my flatmate’s lemon trees at home), still marveling at how true to its reputation the stunning Baroque architecture turned out to be, and the fact that I can write all this at noon because I’m only required to be at work at pomeriggio (afternoon), which – as I learned after a ‘what are you doing here so early’ at 2PM – that pomeriggio starts no earlier than 3 because the ‘mezzogiorno’ (Puglia’s version of the siesta, and tellingly also the nickname of the region) is pretty sacred here, thank you very much. Again: more on my job soon.

‘Fresh’ also applies to the fish we cought – and moments later roasted on our camp fire – on Saturday’s fishing trip to the Adriatic sea, the delicious pasta my flatmate insists on preparing me (I pay him back playing the few Italian tunes I know by know on piano), and, yes I’ll say it, the local female population.

Speaking of the latter, interestingly the things that somehow strike me the most are not how they tend to be dressed and made up every day of the week like in the North they only tend to be for student proms and wedding parties, or how – true to reputation – drift in and out of heated argument so easily (‘ma che dici????!!!!’), but rather how a disproportionally large portion of them sports glasses and/or a big nose. (didn’t have the heart yet to ask if the glasses are worn as a fashion item or not). The truly intimidatingly hot part of the population here are the guys actually. For all the ‘cool’ I don’t have, they have this famous southern brand of rugged masculinity in spades, and wear it casually to boot. Oh well, at least I brought sun glasses!

For a more concrete account of stuff that’s happened to me, stay tuned – but at least the blog is more than just a Hello World + About page now!

This post is part of the Erasmus In Lecce series about my experiences with the Erasmus For Young Entrepreneurs program in Lecce, Italy. I was there for about 6 months in 2014.  The posts in this series are:

  1. Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs in Lecce, Italy
  2. Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs: preparation
  3. An everyday day of living in Lecce
  4. When life gives you lemons…
  5. An everyday day of living in Lecce
  6. Living in Lecce – random thoughts and tidbits
  7. The difference between typical Northern and Southern European cities

11 thoughts on “An everyday day of living in Lecce”

  1. Pingback: Living in Lecce: my first week | Erasmus In Lecce

  2. Pingback: Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs in Lecce, Italy | Wouter Smet

  3. Pingback: The difference between typical Northern and Southern European cities

  4. Pingback: Erasmus for young entrepreneurs: preparation

  5. Pingback: Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs in Lecce, Italy

  6. Pingback: Living in Lecce: my first week

  7. Pingback: Living in Lecce – random thoughts and tidbits

  8. Pingback: Learning Italian in Lecce – in bocca al lupo!

  9. Pingback: When life gives you lemons…

  10. Pingback: Growing web startup Tadabon part 1 – Idea and conception

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