Time to Get Back to Business – Il Rientro

Buon Rientro! This Italian phrase, translated literally as “Good Return!” is heard a lot after the Christmas, New Years and Epiphany festivities end and everyone has to get back to business. After nearly a month of holiday celebrations and vacation time, the rientro can be rough.

Schermata 2014-01-09 alle 23.28.28

I understand most Italian expressions wishing someone goodness or well-being, but until recently, I only understood “buon riento” for its literal meaning, the equivalent to “have a safe trip home!” It was easy to understand when Italian friends wished me a “buon rientro!” before my flight back to the United States, but nearly meaningless to me when Marco responded, “buon rientro” to a friend heading back to work.

Only when I came back to Italy after my trip to the U.S. this Christmas did I fully understand. Oooooh, il rieeeeentroooo. 

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Stress from the rientro? (via)

It hit me. My mind was elsewhere, my clothes were everywhere, my time zone was nowhere. The rientro was like a physical, tangible substance. A real wall that I smacked in to somewhere over the Atlantic.

It’s not simply about a trip. Il rientro is more than just a return home, it’s a “re-entering” in general, whether that is into your country, back at work from a vacation or even re-entering into your own head, and it fits perfectly with the Italian philosophy to not just do life, but to live life. Something I’m learning about more and more.

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“Confront the rientro!” (via)

Italians don’t feel guilty for taking a pause (as none of us should) and even have strategies and articles written to help one overcome the shock of the rientro. You can love your job – but everyone needs a break.

After three weeks in the U.S. seeing friends and family, eating more than it seems possible and catching up on my favorite American things I was happy to see my kids at school again. For me learning the real meaning of il rientro was a thing to be experienced, not translated. And though I managed to be well-rested and prepared enough for my first day back teaching, I wished a buon rientro to everyone I saw. They knowingly wished me the same.

"al lavoro" = at work, in English

“al lavoro” = at work, in English

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One Response to Time to Get Back to Business – Il Rientro

  1. Luca rossi says:

    ..When I get back to the office after a long vacation and my boss tells me “Buon rientro Luca”, only this time, I understand that the hell really exists !!! :)

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