Monday, April 27, 2009

Thoughts on Rome vs. Naples

This past Sunday, Gavriella and I went to Rome with the USO to see the Vatican. That I will talk about later, because all my pictures are still on my camera. We had a good time together. After the tour, we were given an hour of free time before we had to get back to Naples, so Gavriella and I ordered some food from a vendor who had a food stand and sat on a wall across the street near some trains. She enjoyed seeing the pigeons (didn’t have a lot of them near our house in Omaha, more downtown birds) and was afraid they would take her food. We then walked to a local market where just about everything was being sold. We got some tchochkes for everyone and I did all my communication in Italian, which was actually quite easy because I just said the same thing. But I was able to understand them when they said something to me too, so that made me feel good. The whole experience brought my confidence up regarding going out in town, which was nice. After the hour, we shlepped back to the bus, and made our way back to Naples. The drive to and from is quite lovely–lots of soft rolling hills and towns perched on the tops of them. You could make out the church because it was in the center of town and thus higher than the rest of the buildings. They looked quite old and I wanted to fly out of the bus and into the towns to check them out. Maybe some other time. It was immediately apparent when we were back in the Naples area–garbage suddenly everywhere, half built buildings, roads in disrepair. Immediately I felt disappointed we had to live here. Rome was so beautiful, even just the small part we drove through (the Coliseum and other ruins are on the other side of the river, so we didn’t see those), and Naples is so, so crappy. It’s amazing how better one feels when not surrounded by rubbish.

I’m currently reading Gomorrah by Roberto Saviano. It’s about the mafia here in Naples and how it permeates everything. They are absolutely to blame as for why the area is the way it is, but we knew that before we came here, or read the book. At least I know I don’t have to go far for a nice reprieve.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

A shameless plug, amongst other things

If you are a parent or will recently become a parent, check out my friend’s blog:
In other news, it was GLORIOUS today! I put Malcolm in the mei tai and we went for a walk. Then we came home and opened all the windows and doors to let the breeze in. It’s now after 10pm and we still have some windows open. The great thing about this part of Italy I have discovered is the temperature seems to be pretty constant. There is none of this “70s today, 40s tomorrow” crap you have in the US. It’s been in the 60s for 2 weeks.
We also got to talk to our friends at Friedel today! I love modern technology. We used Skype and talked to some teachers and classmates. It was so, so wonderful. Tomorrow we’ll try it again. The girls lament the fact we are no longer there (at Friedel). I feel sad about all the things they are missing, but such is the life we lead.

Saturday, April 4, 2009


Chris and I are finding ourselves spending more time on cleaning than we did in the States. It is because of 2 things: tile flooring and european toilet design. We have lovely ceramic tile flooring throughout our apartment; the Italians are not fond of carpeting. But we are constantly sweeping or mopping because messes are much easier to see. And unfortunately the american cleaning products just don’t cut the mustard. The toilets are lowflow, but the design of the bowl means we are cleaning it constantly, which is not a job either of us enjoy. So what’s the solution? Hire a cleaning lady! She came on Friday and did everything we have wanted to do but have been unable, due to various reasons. And she used Italian cleaning products and boy did they really work. The floor actually shined. She won’t be here this week, but will be back the week after, and then weekly from there on. Seeing how the floor is actually clean and not it-*may*-be-clean like with carpets has convinced us we never need carpet again.

On a completely different note, I’m watching Close Encounters of the Third Kind for the first time. How have I not watched this before?! It’s fabulous!!!!!