Sunday, June 22, 2008

Ci siamo arrivati!

It's not quite 7am on a sunny Sunday morning. I am sitting in my friend's office, looking out the window at copious amounts of foliage and brown-shingle Craftsman houses. This is Berkeley. We have arrived.

Brooklyn was a good transitional spot between Napoli and Berkeley. We are happy to be on the left coast, driving by anti-war protests and tree-sitters and arthouse movie theaters. The Husband is adjusting quickly. He has even nearly ceased to curse over his breath every time he has to come to a full stop at a four-way stop when there is no one coming for miles from any direction. Che sfacimm'... He had one espresso in one cafe, and there are thousands of cafes in this town, and now he insists on always returning to that cafe for the espresso, which he felt was up to snuff. I catch him watching Spanish television and chatting up guys from Mexico, Nicaragua, Ecuador. We are house hunting and though it is not a piece of cake -- high rents, competitive market -- it is a breeze compared to dealing with Neapolitan landlords or, in our case, landladies. You had to see my American gal pals and me hiding in the bathroom of our last apartment in Naples while The Husband and La Signora screamed bloody murder at each other over last minute costs. I thought La Signora, 87 years old, was going to keel over right there in the majolica-tiled ingresso. We heard her screaming, "Madonna mia! Mi sento male! Mi sento maaaaaleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee," and heard from witnesses that she was clutching her chest and collapsed into one of her dining room chairs, the one with the springs poking out from the bottom.

My adjustment has been easy. I feel as though I'd never left. I even took at dance class and am now in such agony that I can't wait to go back for more. La Bimba is struggling a bit. All these changes of environments, beds (though she likes her "piccolo bed," as she calls it, here at B & M's house. She has already danced around the dance studio, eaten American gelato, made friends at the park. The Husband keeps her feeling safe by cooking one delicious pasta dish after another, including one with calamaretti. She eats those little tentacled buggers like popcorn and says, "Oddodus, oddodus" all th while. (She even says, "Oddodus, yum, yum" when we are at the acquarium, frightening the fish-loving workers). La Bimba is a champ. I have a great foto to upload here, but it's on another computer. It was taken by Zia Baba and features La Bimba at the Villa Comunale holding a mini daisy in each hand.

I miss Napoli, but not the smog-choked vicoli. I miss our friends desperately. La Bimba occasionally asks for an amichetta or a cousin. Breaks my heart. But thanks to technology we can stay in close touch. I am excited to fill my loyal readership with stories of The Husband's collision with California culture. To recount his observations (All the landlords are Chinese! Everyone is voting for Obama! Why is everyone looking at me funny?).

And, I promised some friends in Naples that I would also blog in Italian. Il prossimo post faro' il mio meglio. Un bacione a tutti quanti!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

T minus 4 hours

We leave Naples today and we don't know when we'll be back, but we'll be back. So much to say. I've shed copious amounts of tears over the last few days, slept little (the classic 3-5am grief wake-up), and realized how many amazing, truly phenomenal people I've gotten to know here. We said good-bye to the apartment -- after a knock-down, drag-out fight between The Husband and The Landlady (85 years old and can hold her own against an ex-boxer!) -- to our family and friends. The Husband's family has been so good to me. I feel truly blessed.

Then there are all the hilarious only-in-Naples moments to recount. Like the tour bus parked outside the Villa Comunale that had a naked lady, like the one on truckers' mud flaps, on the side along with the phrase, "pleasure on wheels," a bus hired by a school group from the provinces. Eight-year-olds on a bus meant for Russian businessmen! Or the insanity with the post office, the mixed messages that led to us mailing absolutely nothing back to the States. Saying good-bye to Don Pasquale, to Salvatore the Jehovah's Witness doorman and Gianni the Jehovah's Witness salumiere (prosciutto sandwiches in the carry-on luggage!).

There is a lot I'm forgetting, but I imagine it will all come back to me. For now, loyal readership, arrivederci e a presto. Ci sentiamo dal nuovo mondo.