About Me

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Delray Beach, FL, Westport, MA, United States
Undergraduate degree, Colby College; MA in teaching, Columbia Teacher's College; former high school English teacher in three states; former owner of interior design co. with advanced degree from R.I. School of Design. Published first book in 2009 titled, MINOR LEAGUE MOM: A MOTHER'S JOURNEY THROUGH THE RED SOX FARM TEAMS. Her humorous manuscript titled ELDERLY PARENTS WITH ALL THEIR MARBLES: A SURVIVAL GUIDE FOR THE KIDS was published in June, 2014. In 2015 A SURVIVAL GUIDE won a gold medal in the self-help category at the Florida Authors & Publishers Association conference. See website By CLICKING HERE.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Inexplicable Italy

Why is it Italy casts such a spell? 

Sidewalks buckle under ancient portals and gutters are lined with plastic.  Back roads bloom with last night's dinners.  We hopscotch across dog poop on broken cobblestones.  In Naples during the Mafia-controlled garbage strike, the only good thing one could say was, "Isn't that two-story formation of stinking debris interesting?"

We have found a place we love there, the island of Ischia.  Capri is across the water.  Small fishing villages have become tourist towns, but the volcanic mountains remain green and lush and vineyards climb the sides.  Every hotel has a thermal spa.  Fishermen still sputter along in moonlight next to highspeed ferries that jump from harbor to harbor on their nocturnal return to Naples.  We watch from our al fresco perch under the stars.

Even in this idyllic setting, we overlook what we wouldn't tolerate at home.  The road to the hotel up the hillside is under construction.  It has been under construction for eighteen months.  The hotel owner is in dispute with the neighbor as to who should pay what to fix the road.  Meanwhile, we can either walk up the tortuous road (which we choose to do) or wait at a turnaround area for a golf cart to retrieve us.

The roads in the Amalfi region often have landslides that block one lane of traffic.  Instead of removing the boulders, Italians install a fence around the obstacle as well as a traffic light, creating a single lane and backup for half a mile.  The traffic light might still be there when we return next spring.

It's not that they don't care.  They do.  They just don't stress over what they can't control.  Which is why it is so refreshing to vacation there (living there will be the subject of another blog).  If a sudden rainstorm forces too many tourists into a restaurant at lunch hour, the owner simply shrugs his shoulders.  "It's raining.  Wait for a table if you want."

Their priorities are different.  They love to eat.  They love to talk and will try desperately to speak English.  They love to argue and can spend an hour using sign language to make the same point over and over.  They love people who help them, and they have long memories.  They have ruled and been ruled, so they are both humble and proud. Given the opportunity, most Italian men will explain the derivation of their first name at the slightest opportunity. 

"Ambrosio" - means "nectar of the gods" or in his translation, "eternal youth."
          
"Fausto" - means "giving joy."  Be careful, he warned us, not to use "enfausto," meaning "no
joy!"
  
"Toni" - his father and grandfather were both "Antonio," so it would have been too
confusing for his mother to have another "Anonio."  He ended up with "Toni."

"Ciro" - the popular piano player on Ischia proudly explained that his name is "Cyrus,"
but "Ciro" will be remembered!