At supper tonight I and one of the younger friars got into a funny conversation about our cultural differences.
It started as he was preparing himself to read the provincial necrology at the end of the meal and he asked if we did the same thing in America. I said that we did, but that it didn't take as long because our province was a few hundred years younger.
From there he asked me about the typical times for common prayer in an American friary. He was surprised to hear that Morning Prayer is typically a little later than it is here, while Evening Prayer is a little earlier. In fact, the liturgical day is just longer here in Italy. (Between the beginning of Morning Prayer and the end of Evening Prayer there are thirteen hours here in the Assisi friary; at a typical friary in my province at home there might be only ten.) Or maybe it's not that the liturgical day is longer here but that the night is shorter, what with some of the night being shifted to the little riposo in the afternoon.
After speaking of prayer, of course we turned to meals. My young Italian confrere was surprised to hear--though strict correlations don't quite obtain--that our idea of breakfast was something like their supper, that our lunch was more like their breakfast, and that our supper was the closest thing we had to their midday meal. He was most shocked to hear that we have our supper as early as six o'clock, and often even earlier, especially in a friary serving a parish. "But then when do you go to bed?" he asked with surprised concern. Clearly he thought that the earlier time for supper would mandate an earlier time for bed, and he seemed relieved to hear that we didn't have to go to bed at eight. Not that I haven't done it myself, both here and at home, but I'm odd in certain respects.
Like Vincent Vega said, it's the little differences. They have the same stuff here that we have at home, but it's just, well, a little different.