I've been reading Frances Mayes' latest book, 'Every Day in Tuscany' (ISBN 978-1-86325-676-6)
She talks about how Italians choose a relaxing lifestyle at all cost. They focus on peace, nature, food. She also talks about the concept of 'stress' and how Italians don't really get the 'stress' thing. Apparently, the Italian word for stress, lo stress, is only a recent import into the language.
I particularly appreciated her comments because they helped me to understand a weird reaction I got from my neighbours the other day.
I haven't been speaking to them because, in trying to learn the correct grammar in my Italian lessons, I have lost confidence in my ability to speak Italian at all, let alone 'properly'. I wanted to be forgiven for my elusiveness so I explained all this to my neighbours.
They looked at me as if I'd grown horns. They stopped speaking, their mouths opening and closing like fish. In the silence, I noticed their utterly perplexed expressions.
Now I know that they just had no idea why I would feel stressed about such a thing when I'm living the perfect lifestyle, doing what I want to do, breathing pure air, living with local flora and fauna and growing my own food, all in a perfectly peaceful valley!