gift ideas?
November 18, 2007 1:45 PM   Subscribe

Help me think of some fun gifts American for a friend studying abroad in Italy.

My friend is studying abroad in Bologna. I'll be going through there soon, and i'd like to give her a few small, quaint, humorous and distinctly American gifts to remind her of home. So far, all i've come up with is a jar of peanut butter and a tape of some of her favorite t.v. shows. I'm drawing a big blank here. Any thoughts?
posted by Kudos to Grab Bag (16 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: MEXICAN FOOD!

Italy has atrociously awful Mexican food, and while I wasn't a huge must-have-tacos person before I went there, it was the number-one thing I missed when I was there. Good salsa, cilantro, cumin, and maybe even some of those taco seasoning packets would have made me a very happy camper.

Also, most of the Americans I knew in Italy were constantly asking American friends to send over good antiperspirant, as it was hard to find when I was there.

If she has pale or pink-tinged skin and wears make-up, that might be another idea; most Italian make-up shades (understandably) fall toward oranges that complement the Mediterranean complexion and they looked awful on me.

(Also, be careful of the tapes. The format may be different for her VCR, so check on that.)
posted by occhiblu at 2:00 PM on November 18, 2007

The typical American VCR will record in NTSC format video. The typical European TV will accept PAL format. You probably will have problems with your tape of TV shows.

You might want to be more location specific, in terms of your friend's hometown. There are ex-pat New Yorkers who would go to great length and expense to get a few dozen bagels, etc.
posted by chengjih at 2:08 PM on November 18, 2007

A Dale Earnhardt T-shirt.
posted by hjo3 at 2:12 PM on November 18, 2007

American magazines. A book in English. A new CD. Hershey bars.
posted by DarlingBri at 2:39 PM on November 18, 2007

From which part of the US does your friend hail? That would really help with knowing what to send, if part of your plan is to bring her things she can't find in Italy. For example, if she's from around here (NE PA), tastycakes and Amish/Pa Dutch food (pretzels and shoofly pie etc) would be just what the doctor ordered. Regional goodies and local newspapers/publications are where it's at - she can get The New York Times and Newsweek and things like that there, but not hometown versions. If you want to go broad brush, bring apple pie and hot dogs. Popcorn.
posted by iconomy at 2:52 PM on November 18, 2007

Peanut butter.
posted by mr. remy at 2:52 PM on November 18, 2007

posted by Brian James at 2:54 PM on November 18, 2007

If she has a favorite Hershey's candy, get that. They don't sell Hershey's over here. Can't find Tootsie rolls either. Mars brand candy (Snickers, M&Ms etc) aren't difficult to find.
posted by happyturtle at 3:00 PM on November 18, 2007

chocolate chip cookies were the most requested thing when my friends were in Italy.
posted by LobsterMitten at 3:05 PM on November 18, 2007

Response by poster: She if from northern Indiana. I do like the idea of an apple pie...
posted by Kudos at 3:08 PM on November 18, 2007

Response by poster: err, is*
posted by Kudos at 3:08 PM on November 18, 2007

i missed macaroni and cheese (the orange fake kind) so much when i was abroad!
posted by enaira at 4:08 PM on November 18, 2007

Brownie mix. Chocolate chips, if she bakes.

Although, if you bring brownie mix, you should also bring some sort of a measuring cup device.
posted by wyzewoman at 6:52 PM on November 18, 2007

I'll second salsa and chocolate chip cookie baking supplies.
posted by srah at 8:45 PM on November 18, 2007

seconding chocolate chip cookies. that's what i asked for when i was studying abroad in italy.
posted by nevers at 4:59 AM on November 19, 2007

Definitely chocolate chips & peanut butter. Those were what I missed the most when I lived in Italy.
posted by belladonna at 6:12 AM on November 19, 2007

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