I Love Italy Days

It’s hard to believe, but we have lived in Naples for almost four months. In that time, we have traveled as much as possible, gotten lost countless times despite our best efforts and eaten enough mozzarella di bufala to spoil us for life.

mozzarella di bufala

In short, I like living here. A lot. When I tell other Americans that, some look at me the way you might look at a sweet but naïve five year old who can’t wait to go back for her second day of school.

“Oh, honey, just wait,” they say. “You’ll see in about a year.” Then they usually launch into all the reasons this place will drive you crazy and why they can’t wait to move back to a civilized place like Norfolk.

I get it. This place can drive you crazy if you let it; I can see that already. The trash problem is completely out of control and probably always will be. The streets are dirty, the government is corrupt, it takes forever to get anything done and you have to lock your house up like a fortress to attempt to keep your stuff from getting stolen.

These are all valid complaints. They are also complaints I have heard about New Orleans over the last 10 years. It took time for me to get used to that crazy city and its quirks, but I grew to love it fiercely, even defensively, and I have a feeling Naples will be a similar kind of relationship. It’s that old rule: I can complain about my crazy family, but if anyone else does, them’s fightin’ words.

I have had days (and will probably have many more) where I am frustrated and not enamored with bella Napoli — after the fifth insane driver cuts me off at 100 miles an hour (or whatever that is in kilometers, I still don’t know) or the Telecom Italia technician fails to come by to fix our wireless Internet for the second week in a row. I call these my “I don’t love Italy days.”

But then the next day, I will eat the best pizza I’ve ever had in my entire life. Or I will have a life-changing experience with a cappuccino. Or the little old lady at the butcher shop will call me “una bella ragazza” and compliment me on my toddler Italian. Or we will take a day trip down the Amalfi Coast and visit impossibly beautiful towns. These are my “I love Italy days,” and they are definitely winning.


1 Katie { 03.30.11 at 1:16 pm }

Mmmm, I wouldn’t really call Norfolk civilized, but what do I know? I regularly follow up complaints about New Orleans’ crime/dirt/heat/food from non-residents with, “So I guess you never want to stay at my house, right? Because you’re now on the no-crash list. That’s right. NO MARDI GRAS FOR YOU.”

2 NayNay { 03.30.11 at 8:09 pm }

like!! And props to you and your toddler Italian – you are amazing. =]

3 Gillian { 03.31.11 at 1:30 am }

Haha, “civilized” has many meanings to many people. I very much like your response and may have to adopt it if non-residents hate on our new home. “Oh really, fool? No seafood risotto and limoncello and Mediterranean views for you!”

Thanks, NayNay :) I need you to bring your skillz over here to help me. This time, if we get mugged, at least one of us could communicate with the cops.

I think you ladies would like it here. NOLA is excellent practice for appreciating madness and beauty.

4 the dk { 03.31.11 at 2:51 am }

Hey Ghil,

Fun read. Very true what you quipped about people looking at you like a “sweet but naïve five year old who can’t wait to go back for her second day of school”. Heart.

Mmmmm….best pizza you’ve ever had in your life…early 2012, that is if the frickin’ Mayas weren’t right.

Ciao, bella!

5 Gillian { 03.31.11 at 6:57 am }

Thanks, DK. As a fellow American living abroad, you know how these things go. We can be sweet and naïve and awesome together. Early 2012, baby, I’m counting on it! Let the food and drink tour commence (the doomsday folks can just pump their brakes). Baci!

6 Gillian { 03.31.11 at 6:57 am }

Also, awesome Giants pride. It didn’t go unnoticed.

7 Sierra { 03.31.11 at 8:26 am }

Love it. Your comments remind me so much of things my sister has said. She’s been a 10-year expat in Mexico City at this point and has put up with a good amount of complaining from fellow Americans down there about the noise, filth, crime, etc. The only thing she gave up on is hanging out with whiny Americans!

8 Gillian { 04.04.11 at 1:49 am }

Haha, yes, good call! It’s much better to ditch the Negative Nancies and surround yourself with fun people who can embrace the good things about the place. Wow, 10 years. She must be a pro at this by now.

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