A Little Piece of my Italian Past, with a Vanilla Bean
I’m not sure if you all knew this. We (our family) lived in Italy for a few years courtesy of the U.S. Navy. We lived very near Naples for 3 years.
For the first three months, everything was “amazing” and “beautiful” and “gorgeous”….I’m not kidding. EVERYTHING….the clotheslines, the trash piles, the stray dogs…nothing was left to the non-amazing category. Then reality started to sink in. We were there for 3 years and the trash piles and the stray dogs weren’t going away. People in the stores there were still going to push and shove to get to the front instead of standing in an orderly line. Driving rules would still be mere suggestions rather than actual rules (the driving there is INSANE! I finally embraced it and was actually afraid to drive when I came back, lest I was too crazy of a driver for the States. Dan and I even got to see the most expensive magic trick we have ever experienced…EVER…and I hope it is the last.
During our orientation, when we were still new to the area, our instructors took a group of us to the markets downtown. We were warned of pick pockets (there are a LOT of them there) and “vendors” who would sell you one thing and switch bags before you left and you would be left with a bag of rocks after you left. You can hear this coming from a mile away, can’t you. Well, anyways, Dan and I needed cell phones and in Naples they are REALLY expensive…like over $300 for a basic, call and text nothing else kind of phone. So when we saw some vendors who were selling 2 nice phones for 150 eauro, we jumped at the chance. I had those scoundrel vendor stories in the forfront of my brain so I watched them like a HAWK as they packaged the phones up into the plastic bag and handed it to me…I didn’t take my eyes off of them once! I swear!! I was SO excited. I don’t know how we lived without cell phones. Back to the story at hand…when Dan and I got back to our orientation group, waiting to get on the bus back to the base, I dug into our bag to get out our phones. My heart sank then began to beat out my chest. In the bag were two bottles of water. no phones. All I could think of was “How the HELL did they do that?!” The most amazing magic trick I have witnessed with my own eyes…and only a mere 150 euro for it. Ugh. So there you have it.
Well, when the craziness and “amazing” trash piles would become too much for Dan and I, we would make a trip further south. Most of the time to Sorrento, but a few times to Vietri. These little towns were patches of paradise in a scary, hectic, foreign home. Things were slower. The people were kinder. Things were back to “amazing” and “beautiful” for a while.